Jade Wilcoxson’s Optum-Kelly Benefits Strategies teammates delivered her to a stage win in the 93-mile Cannon Falls road race at the Nature Valley Grand Prix on Thursday.
Wilcoxson padded her GC lead with 12 additional bonus seconds and now leads Carmen Small (Specialized-lululemon) by eight seconds. Shelly Olds (Tibco-To The Top) is 14 seconds behind in third.
Olds finished second in the road race and Small was third.
“Jade just took it from the front with about 800 meters to go and with a lot of corners it was hard to bring her back,” Olds said in a press release. “I had one teammate in front of me that I think I trusted a little too much in the final, I should have gotten in front of my teammate.”
Wilcoxson said Olds’ sprinting abilities forced her to make her move so early.
“Shelley Olds, she has a sprint like nobody’s business!” Wilcoxson said. “The only way I could beat her is if I gap her at like 500 meters out, and even then sometimes she can close it!”
In the men’s race, Sean Mazich (Jelly Belly-Kenda) chased down a group of 17 riders and caught them at the start of four finishing circuits. During the second circuit, Mazich broke free and held on to the finish.
Taking second was Mike Friedman (Optum) while Cole House (Cash Call Mortgage) placed third.
Friedman is now the overall race leader, as he holds a 23-second advantage over teammate Scott Zwizanski. In third is Andres Diaz (Elbowz Racing-Boneshaker Project).
“It’s been a long time coming,” the 26-year-old Mazich said. “I have numerous people I need to call and thank for this. I did the work, and I just finally caught a break. That’s the way I’m looking at it. Finally the cards just fell in my favor. I was able to hit them at the right time and hold them off.”
The Nature Valley Grand Prix resumes with Friday’s Uptown Minneapolis Criterium.