By Seth Lightcap
The Mighty Tour de Nez wrapped up Saturday with a hilly, high-elevation circuit stage held at Northstar-At-Tahoe in Truckee, California.
Katerina Nash (Luna) rode to victory in her hometown stage, edging out Megan Guarnier (Tibco-To the Top), who clinched the overall.
In the men’s race Graham Howard (HPC) outsprinted Burke Swindlehurst (Team Give) to grab the stage, while Jonathan Baker (Groove Subaru) rolled in third, assuring him the omnium crown.
It was a typical Tahoe day for the Tour De Nez’s final stage — sunny with a slight breeze, AKA gorgeous. The Village at Northstar provided the buttery backdrop as the racers took to a challenging two-mile course that wound around the smooth and wandering resort roads before snaking through the cobblestone promenades of the Village. A spirited crowd gathered to cheer the racers on, most casually lounging in the plush deck chairs littered alongside the course barricades.
A definitive mid-course climbing section became the proving ground as attacks were launched by the legs and lungs that could hang at 6,300 feet elevation.
Nash wins at home
The 60-minute women’s race got broken wide open half-way through as the big guns kept firing uphill as the peloton ran out of ammo. Overall race leader Guarnier, hometown hero Nash, and stage 2 winner Janel Holcomb were the breakaway group that was punching it.
The leading trio stayed tight for the last four laps, but as they approached the final steep corner, Nash turned on the nitro and blasted ahead to the delight of her cheering friends and family.
The finish went all according to plan for the Czech Republic native, last year’s runner-up in the Northstar stage.
“I remembered where Amber Rais smoked by me last year in the sprint,” said Nash. “I knew I had to be the first one to the corner because it is a short finish.”
Nash flashed a big smile on the podium knowing she was mere minutes from her doorstep.
“It’s nice to race at home, but it’s really, really special to win at home,” she said.
It was the third podium of the weekend for Gaurnier, whose prologue victory and two second-place finishes sealed her omnium title.
“My sprint didn’t go perfect today, but I’m very happy to win the omnium,” said Guarnier. “Overall it was a great weekend of racing, great courses and fun crowds.”
Howard outlasts Swindlehurst
It was a breakaway day in the 90-minute men’s race as Howard gave it the gas early on and got out in front by the second lap.
Twenty minutes in, Swindlehurst and Ethan Atkins (Metromint) caught Howard and the trio broke out a one-minute lead. Atkins slipped off the pace after dropping his chain, leaving Howard and Swindlehurst to battle it out for the last 30 minutes of the race. Howard sat on Swindlehurst’s wheel going into the last half-lap, then went for broke on the last corner climb to take the win by a fair margin.
Once again, it was all according to plan for the stage winner.
“The past two years the race has split up right away,” said Howard. “I figured it would hold true again and it did.”
Little doubt Howard will be back to defend his stage victory next year.
“The Tour de Nez is my favorite race,” said Howard. “There is something really special about it. I always ride well here.”
With the help of a teammate, overall race leader Baker hung tough at the front of the chase group and gunned the final sprint to take third. The podium placing secured Baker the omnium title. Ryan Parnes (Yahoo) earned second overall and Steve Reaney (California Giant Berry Farm) took third.
Adding to his bounty, Howard also won the green jersey as 2010 overall sprint champion. Alfredo Cruz (Herbalife) took home the white jersey as the top U23.
Kirsch wins handcycling omnium and series title
Reno handcyclist John Kirsch snatched the overall U.S. Handcycle Series title riding the wave of a win at Northstar on Saturday. Kirsch saw every step of the podium throughout the weekend, placing second at the Sparks time trial and third on the Reno circuit course. Neil Harding came in second overall after winning stage 2 in Reno. Jon Lachenauer took third bolstered by winning the stage one time trial in Sparks.
Men’s stage 3
- 1 – Graham Howard, HPC
- 2 – Burke Swindlehurst, Team Give
- 3 – Jonathan Baker, Groove Subaru
- 1 – Jonathan Baker, Groove Subaru
- 2 – Ryan Parnes, Yahoo!
- 3 – Steve Reaney, California Giant Berry Farm
Women’s stage 3
- 1. Katerina Nash Luna Pro Team in 1:02.59.2
- 2. Megan Guarnier Team Tibco in 1:02.59.9
- 3. Jane Holcomb in 1:03.01.0
- 4. Martina Patella Third Pillar in 1:04.01.0
- 5. Tyler Stewart Luna Pro Team in 1:04.02.2
- 6. Jane Robertson Metromint Cycling in 1:04.05.8
- 7. Kristen Lasasso Team Tibco in 1:04.08.1
- 8. Samantha Schneider Team Tibco in 1:04.12.7
- 9. Jennifer Reither Vanderkitten Racing in 1:07.11.4
- 10. Kristina Seley Touchstone Climbing in 1:07.11.8
|1 Megan Guarnier||Team TIBCO||50||45||45||140|
|2 Katerina Nash||Luna Pro Team||41||32||50||123|
|3 Tyler Stewart||Luna Pro Team||38||41||35||114|
|4 Martina Patella||Third Pilliar||35||35||38||108|
|5 Janel Holcomb||13||50||41||104|
|6 Kristen Lasasso||Team TIBCO||32||17||30||79|
|7 Jennifer Reither||Vanderkitten Racing||28||24||26||78|
|8 Jane Robertson||Metromint Cycling||6||38||32||76|
|9 Samantha Schneider||Team TIBCO||16||30||28||74|
|10 Ryan Hostetter||Metromint Cycling||18||26||22||66|