Hood River, Oregon - The final stage of the four day Hood Cycling Classic was an epic test for the remaining Pro Women's Field. With almost 9,000 feet of climbing spread over 72 miles, the long climbs, narrow roads, varying weather conditions and altitude all added up to be one of the toughest road races in America.
Stage Four was a race with conditions typically found in Europe as opposed to the US, and it was the riders with European experience that were able to manage the challenges posed. From the beginning, Peanut Butter & Co. TWENTY 12 managed the front, keeping the pace high enough to manage the gap of two early escapees. Unconcerned with the small break up the road, Peanut Butter & Co. rotated at the front to manage the gap, Race leader Alison Starnes and second place Kristin Armstrong sat comfortably tucked in the group, confident in the Team's ability to bring back anything that went up the road.
The second climb was a brute, and it was here, on the steep pitches that Armstrong put second place Hughes to the test. Attacking the Canadian rider, Armstrong soon had a gap. However, the tenacious and determined Hughes never gave in, and as Armstrong arrived at the top of the long descent, Hughes was only a few hundred meters behind.
Armstrong waited for Hughes, and the two of them motored to the finish line, opening a substantial gap on a chasing Kristin McGrath and Rhae Shaw.
On the final climb to the finish, Armstrong waited until the last hundred meters when the road pitched up to 16% and was gravel to make her race winning move. Accelerating hard, she opened a gap on Hughes, and stormed into the finish for the stage and race win. Hughes finished in second, claiming the same in the overall.
McGrath soloed in for a strong third place finish, followed by Shaw, then Peanut Butter & Co. TWENTY 12 teammates Alisha Welsh & Alison Starnes finished sixth and seventh respectively, wrapping up a terrific race for the Peanut Butter & Co. TWENTY 12 team.
Peanut Butter & Co. TWENTY 12 would like to thank Chad Sperry and his support staff from Breakaway Promotions for organizing a safe, challenging and fun race in one of the most beautiful areas of the United States. We will see you in 2012.
Up next Nature Valley GP