The Winston-Salem Cycling Classic finished with a brutal eight-lap circuit on Monday. Current Canadian criterium champion Sara Bergen made the front group of nine riders over the penultimate climb with 13 km remaining and finished fifth in the UCI 1.1 ranked race. Bergen’s result comes two days after teammate Megan Jastrab sprinted to third in the opening criterium.
“I’m proud of the result and how the team raced,” said Bergen. “The plan was to be engaged but let the course do the work for us in the first half. My job was to help make the race hard and look for opportunities late.”
Held over a 12 km lap, the race’s main feature was the Pilot View climb. At 400 meters in length and gradients approaching 20%, the race was to be decided on its slopes.
“The peloton blew apart on the climb going into two laps to go,” said Bergen. “There was a small regrouping but we knew the final selection would be made next time through. The team placed me perfectly going into the bottom and the rest was up to me.”
With Liegh Ann Ganzar (Hagens Berman-Supermint) escaping early in the final lap for the win and the duo of Arlenis Sierra (Astana Women’s Team) and Chloe Dygert (Sho-Air Twenty20) breaking away on the final climb, Bergen sprinted to fifth against Australian Emily Roper.
Team director Joanne Kiesanowski was in the race caravan and was pleased with the team’s performance.
“They raced really well and kept Bergen fresh for when she needed to go in the finale,” said Kiesanowski. “They executed the plan by staying patient in the opening laps and lighting it up with three to go.”
Bergen and company now head to Quebec’s GP Gatineau, where she sprinted to the podium in 2018.
Road race results
1 Liegh Ann Ganzar (USA) Hagens Berman-Supermint 2:35:36
2 Arlenis Sierra (Cub) Astana Women’s Team 0:00:04
3 Chloe Dygert (USA) Sho-Air Twenty20 “
4 Emily Roper (Aus) 0:00:20
5 Sara Bergen (Can) Rally UHC Cycling Women “
6 Lily Williams (USA) Hagens Berman-Supermint “
7 Lauren Stephens (USA) Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank 0:00:27
8 Deborah Paine (NZl) Cogeas Mettler Look 0:00:29
9 Edwige Pitel (Fra) Cogeas Mettler Look 0:00:31
10 Shayna Powless (USA) Sho-Air Twenty20 0:01:07