The women of Rally Cycling head to northern California this weekend for the Chico Stage Race. The four stage race runs from March 16 -18 and features a 90 minute circuit race on the Thunderhill Raceway, a 90 mile road race in Paskenta with eight miles of gravel roads, a ten mile time trial through almond country, and a 60 minute criterium along Main Street in downtown Chico. The three day race comes after a storming performance at the Valley of the Sun Stage Race in Arizona last month that saw three riders finish top ten in the overall.
The colorful collection of courses calls for a diverse roster, and the team has stacked a full deck to contest every finish. Rally Cycling will start Sara Bergen, Gillian Ellsay, Heidi Franz, Katherine Maine, Abby Mickey, Summer Moak, and Sara Poidevin in northern California.
“We are sending a well-balanced squad to Chico,” said Team Director Zach Bell. “With four vastly different stages, the race gives the team plenty of opportunities to work on all aspects of our racing. Speed, strength, bike handling, and team tactics will all play a vital role in determining the overall champion. We have made sure to cover all of our bases in terms of balancing individual rider strengths and team cohesion.”
Stages one and four are expected field sprints, and the team hopes to lead out Sara Bergen and Heidi Franz for the dash to the line. Stage two suits strong women Abby Mickey and Katherine Maine, and stage three’s time trial should prove pivotal in the fight for the overall. The challenging TT course is a place for time trialists Gillian Ellsay and Summer Moak to separate themselves from the pack. Sara Poidevin is the joker card in the pack and will play the role of opportunist throughout the race.
With athletes spread across North America, each riders preseason training program is different. 2017 Colorado Classic champion Sara Poidevin is no exception.
“I spend a lot of time cross country skiing in the off-season,” said Poidevin. “I find that the strength and fitness gained on the skies translate quite well to the bike. Growing up in Alberta, Canada you take what the weather offers you. My form at training camp was good and I can’t wait to join my Rally Cats in California.”
Chico Stage Race Roster
Director: Zach Bell
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