San Dimas, CA - Today's final stage at San Dimas proved to be a nail biter for everyone. And the Team Vera Bradley Foundation women made the race an exciting one. "We wanted another breakaway," commented director, Lisa Hunt. "Robin was sitting in third on GC, but by only a few seconds, so she was hoping to get some valuable time bonuses in a break." After a flurry of attacks, HTC-Columbia's Ina Teutenberg launched, with Farina covering the move. Also joining her were TIBCO's Meredith Miller, Colavita-Baci's Carmen Small and Peanut Butter and Co/Twenty12's Katharine Carroll. With the right combination of riders, the gap grew to almost a minute, which is when Carroll dropped off the back to re-join the field. Carroll, who's teammate Mara Abbott was the leader on GC, realized her team needed help to reel the break in. "I was a bit worried about Carmen because she was only 6 seconds behind me on GC," said Farina. "I was working in the break, but I wanted to save something for the finishing sprint."
With four laps to go, Teutenberg decided to attack the break and neither Farina, Miller or Small could go with her. Then Farina suffered a mishap, and nearly went down after a flat tire and went to the pit for a wheel change. With no more free laps, Farina was forced to chase down her breakaway partners. "I thought my race was over," said Farina. "But I put my head down and kept going." Fortunately, Farina's mishap occurred within 3 kilometers of the finish, so she was able to get the same time as Miller and Small. Teutenberg stole the show and won the race solo. Miller took second and Small was third. Small's time bonuses moved her ahead of Farina on general classification. Teutenberg's gap over the peloton was large enough to give her the overall win over Abbott. HTC-Columbia's Evelyn Stevens moved to third overall, with Small taking 4th and Farina moving to 5th. Team VBF's Alexis Rhodes successfully held on to the Points jersey.
"I am really happy with how the team raced here," said Hunt. "This gives us great confidence going into Redlands, and we'll have a full team of 8 riders there." Joining Farina, Rhodes, Hall and Testroete will be Alison Powers, who was third overall in 2009, Kristin Sanders, Erica Allar and Leah Goldstein. The Redlands Bicycle Classic begins on Thursday, March 25.
General Classification - Final
1. Ina Yoko Teutenberg (HTC-Columbia)
2. Mara Abbott (Peanut Butter & Co.TWENTY12)
3. Evelyn Stevens (HTC-Columbia)
4. Robin Farina (Team Vera Bradley Foundation)
6. Meredith Miller (Team TIBCO)
7. Alisha Welsh (Peanut Butter & Co.TWENTY12)
8. Kathryn Donovan (InCycle/SCVelo)
9. Alexis Rhodes (Team Vera Bradley Foundation)
10. Rebecca Much (Team TIBCO)
Photo: ©Brian Hodes, VeloImages