Walle & Huffman Win North Star Grand Prix, Huff & Noble Take Final Stage


Current National Criterium Champion Brad Huff (Rally Cycling) gave good fight as he powered himself to the win atop 18% grade Chilkoot Hill. In spite being gapped after the climb for many of the 23 laps of the 1.4 mile course, Huff worked back into the front group by the last lap to launch his winning kick on the final climb to the finish.

“I was getting dropped every lap,” said Huff. “I would go through this rotation where I would get dropped, and by the top of the hill I would make my way back up into the group behind Danny [Pate]. Then I’d get dropped, then I’d make it back to Danny. I would do that lap after lap to position myself for the hill, then at the end I just dug deep.”

The Stillwater Criterium featured 10 turns and is marked by a fast downhill opposite the legendary climb. Riders descend sharply into two narrow right turns before the final climb.

“I don’t ever get nervous on descents or turns,” said Huff. “I always get nervous on uphills because I’ve got bones made of lead.”

A break of 10 riders formed with less than four laps to go. Rally Cycling was together at the front of the field patrolling for yellow jersey Evan Huffman.

At three laps to go atop Chilkoot Hill, Joseph Schmaltz (Elevate Pro Cycling p/b Bicycle World) attacked from the small group. Huffman chased sans team to prevent sixth-placed Schmaltz from getting away.

When seventh-placed overall Nicolae Tanovitchii (Lupus Racing Team) counter-attacked, Huffman again responded.

“When Schmalz went the first time that was really really hard,” said Huffman. “Then when Nicolae Tanovitchii went I had to follow that and I really suffered a lot. I had a buffer of 30-40 seconds but I didn’t want to have to use it so I didn’t have to panic up that finishing climb up at the end.”

Behind Huffman, eventual stage-winner Huff found himself bridging to the lead group with teammate Tom Zirbel.

“I attacked out of the group and bridged to Tom Zirbel who was in no-man’s land between the leaders and second group,” said Huff. “Then Tom drove it and got me back into the field right at the descent. I just took a deep breath and knew that if I just hit it with all my momentum I might be able to get it.”

Earlier in the race, Justin Williams (Cylance-Cannondale pro Cycling p/b Bicycle World) and Andrew Dahlheim (Team Arapahoe Resources) secured their bids for their jersey titles.

Williams won the first sprint points competition in the first lap of the race and secured his K’ul Chocolate Sprint Jersey lead. He then only had to complete at least 25% of the race to win the jersey.

“I was super excited [the sprint competition] was on the first lap!” said Williams.

Dahlheim’s bid for the SportBeans King of the Hill jersey was a longer fight. He won the first KOH competition at 17 laps to go, but wasn’t yet in the clear for the title.

“To be honest I was kind of nervous,” explained Dahlheim. “It was pretty straightforward, I had one person to look out for. But sometimes when it’s that easy you can tend to over think things and put a little bit more pressure on yourself than you really need.”

Dahlheim’s teammate Julio Padilla broke away and absorbed enough points in the following two King of the Hill competitions at 11 and five laps to go that Dahlheim’s jersey win was secured.

Padilla was awarded the Surly Most Aggressive Jersey.

Twenty year old Ayden Toovey (Subaru NWIS & MS) won both the LeMond Best Young Rider jersey and the Penn Cycle Best Amateur jersey. The short, punchy hill profile of the course suited his strengths.

“I definitely prefer these strong-man courses,” said Toovey. “I’m not a sprinter, I’m not a pure climber, I’m somewhere in between so this course suits me.”

Rally Cycling won the team competition in spite of losing two riders at the Cannon Falls Road Race on Thursday.

“Danny and Zirbel are like four men apiece,” said Huff. “[Evan] is so strong he can almost defend yellow by himself. We’re really lucky to have those guys on our team.”

By Cynthia Lou

Brianna Walle wins North Star Grand Prix
Noble Takes Stage 5 Stillwater Criterium Win
By Clara Beard

Ellen Noble (North Memorial) claimed an emotional victory on the final stage of in the 17th edition of the North Star Grand Prix. The 20-year-old cyclocross phenom pipped Heather Fischer (Rally Cycling) and Brianna Walle (TIBCO – Silicon Valley Bank) on the final charge up Chilkoot Hill and dedicated the win to her late father.

“I gave it my all to get the victory for him,” Noble said. “I’m beside myself.”

Walle sealed overall victory after successfully defending the yellow jersey for all five days of racing around Eastern Minnesota. Greg Lemond Best Young Rider winner Lauretta Hanson (Colavita/Bianchi), moved up to second and Coryn Rivera (UnitedHealthcare) finished third overall, both tied at 40 seconds down.

“For me, this race is sentimental,” Walle said. “Four years ago, I won Best Amateur through the Pro Chase program and now I’m in yellow. It’s pretty cool. This is the biggest win of my career. Last time I was in yellow was with the US National team in the Czech Republic, so this is a big deal.”

Maxing out at 23 percent, Stillwater Criterium is known for infamous Chilkoot Hill where the race was decided. Despite being in an break with Sara Tussey (Visit Dallas DNA Pro Cycling) for almost half of the race, Noble had the legs and the motivation to overcome a minor scuffle on the final ascent.

“I went right and another girl went right as well,” Noble said. “We hooked bars so I powered down to untangle myself and that’s what surged me forward. I attacked to get away and thought ‘oh my God, I’m in the lead.’”

North Memorial and UHC, hoping to wear down TIBCO and get their GC contenders up in the standings, animated the race. Noble attacked with around eight laps to go and was joined by Tussey, who won the Surly Most Aggressive jersey, soon after. Katie Compton (UHC) bridged to the duo with a few laps remaining, however with one lap to go a select group of riders was all together.

“The plan was to attack to set up my teammate, Joelle (Numainville) because she wasn’t that far out of the yellow,” Noble said. “We were going to set a pace that she could bridge up to. It ended up that no one bridged up to us until 1 to go. I don’t race road that much, so I’m not really sure about tactics, but I do know the number one rule is to not get dropped out of the break. That was really all I was trying to do today was to stay in the break until something happened.”

Coryn Rivera (UHC) attacked on the descent and had a slight advantage before the final climb, but couldn’t hold on. From there it was a fight for the line which saw Noble victorious.

Australian criterium champion Sophie Mackay brought home the K’ul Chocolate sprinter jersey for Supermint Hagens-Berman and Erica Allar (Rally Cycling) held on to the lead in the Sport Beans Queen of the Hills competition.

“It’s not something I would typically go for,” said Allar, who is a known criterium specialist. “I haven’t gone for a QOM or QOH in all my years of racing. We had a team meeting the other day and our director Pat (McCarthy) told me I should go for it. I was a little nervous, but it was exciting the team had confidence in me to pull it off.”

Carla Swart Sportmanship Award
Before the starting gun fired, North Star Grand Prix took a moment to honor the memory of 2008 Collegiate All-Stars rider turned professional, Carla Swart, who died tragically in a training accident in 2011. Over the course of the week, the peloton voted for whom they think embodies the same selfless qualities Carla did as a teammate. The rider with the most votes is awarded the Carla Swart Sportsmanship jersey on the final stage. This year, the award went to an emotional Lauren Hall (TIBCO).

“I’m at a loss for words,” Hall said, who was Swart’s teammate in 2010. “I’m humbled and honored. I think about her before every single race and always have. I say a prayer and I say something to Carla and now that I’m wearing this jersey it’s quite the honor. I think she gave me some wings today.”

When Lindsey Bayer (Supermint-Hagens Berman) asked her team who they wanted to vote for, there was no question.

“All of them said, ‘Lauren Hall, of course,’” Bayer said. “There could not be a more deserving rider. Lauren is my hero. She’s always incredibly helpful, kind and has a great attitude. I’ve seen her be a successful rider and get results on her own, but she also dies a million deaths for her teammates. The ability to win races on your own, but give it up to work for your teammates, that commands so much respect.”

Full Results

MEN’S RESULTS

Stillwater Criterium Results – Men
Position No. Rider Team Time Gap
1 4 Brad Huff UCI CT/WPT: Rally Cycling 1:24:45
2 82 Orlando Garibay UCI CT: Cylance-Cannondale Pro Cycling p/b Incycle 1:24:45
3 33 Steve Fisher Canyon Bicycles-Shimano-Specialized 1:24:45
4 26 Nicolae TANOVITCHII UCI CT: Lupus Racing Team 1:24:45
5 1 Thomas Zirbel UCI CT/WPT: Rally Cycling 1:24:49 4″

Overall Standings – Men
Position No. Rider Team Time Gap
1 5 Evan Huffman UCI CT/WPT: Rally Cycling 10:24:55
2 4 Brad Huff UCI CT/WPT: Rally Cycling 10:25:13 18″
3 1 Thomas Zirbel UCI CT/WPT: Rally Cycling 10:25:22 27″
4 26 Nicolae TANOVITCHII UCI CT: Lupus Racing Team 10:25:26 31″
5 54 Joseph Schmalz UCI CT: Elevate Pro Cycling p/b Bicycle World
10:25:33 38″

LeMond Best Young Rider Standings – Men
Position No. Rider Team Time Gap
1 196 Ayden Toovey Subaru NSWIS & MS 10:25:35
2 13 Bryan Gomez Gateway Harley-Davidson Trek 10:26:41 1’06”
3 52 Connor Brown UCI CT: Elevate Pro Cycling p/b Bicycle World
10:26:57 1’22”
4 235 Liam White xXx Racing 10:26:59 1’24”
5 154 Alfredo Rodriquez KHS-Maxxis-JLVelo 10:27:08 1’33”

Penn Cycle Best Amateur Standings – Men
Position No. Rider Team Time Gap
1 196 Ayden Toovey Subaru NSWIS & MS 10:25:35
2 65 Stefan Rothe ELBOWZ Racing 10:25:41 6″
3 135 Eric Thompson Donkey Label 10:25:51 16″
4 74 Brad Neagos ICC Bissell-ABG-Giant 10:25:59 24″
5 61 Gabriel Baca ELBOWZ Racing 10:26:43 1’08”

K’ul Chocolate Best Sprinter Standings – Men
Position No. Rider Team Points
1 84 Justin Williams UCI CT: Cylance-Cannondale Pro Cycling p/b Incycle
40
2 154 Alfredo Rodriquez KHS-Maxxis-JLVelo 22
3 45 Julio Padilla Team Arapahoe Resources 21

Sports Beans King of the Mountain Standings – Men
Position No. Rider Team Points
1 42 Andrew Dahlheim Team Arapahoe Resources 40
2 61 Gabriel Baca ELBOWZ Racing 35
3 45 Julio Padilla Team Arapahoe Resources 17

Surly Most Aggressive Rider Standings – Men
Position No. Rider Team Points
1 45 Julio Padilla Team Arapahoe Resources 9
2 54 Joseph Schmalz UCI CT: Elevate Pro Cycling p/b Bicycle World 5
3 36 Erik Slack Canyon Bicycles-Shimano-Specialized 4

WOMEN’S RESULTS
Stillwater Criterium Results – Women

Position No. Rider Team Time Gap
1 4 Ellen Noble North Memorial Health Care 0:58:21
2 13 Heather Fischer UCI CT/WPT: Rally Cycling 0:58:21
3 46 Brianna Walle Team TIBCO – Silicon Valley Bank 0:58:21
4 16 Sara Poidevin UCI CT/WPT: Rally Cycling 0:58:28 7″
5 64 Samantha Schneider ISCorp Cycling p/b SmartChoice MRI 0:58:30 9″

Overall Standings – Women
Position No. Rider Team Time Gap
1 46 Brianna Walle Team TIBCO – Silicon Valley Bank 8:07:27
2 73 Lauretta Hanson Colavita/Bianchi Racing 8:08:07 40″
3 35 Coryn Rivera Team UnitedHealthcare 8:08:07 40″
4 13 Heather Fischer UCI CT/WPT: Rally Cycling 8:08:15 48″
5 64 Samantha Schneider ISCorp Cycling p/b SmartChoice MRI 8:08:22 55″

LeMond Best Young Rider Standings – Women
Position No. Rider Team Time Gap
1 73 Lauretta Hanson Colavita/Bianchi Racing 8:08:07
2 16 Sara Poidevin UCI CT/WPT: Rally Cycling 8:08:30 23″
3 94 Janelle Cole Medica Collegiate All Stars 8:09:29 1’22”
4 65 Skylar Schneider ISCorp Cycling p/b SmartChoice MRI 8:09:55 1’48”
5 4 Ellen Noble North Memorial Health Care 8:11:28 3’21”

Penn Cycle Best Amateur Standings – Women
Position No. Rider Team Time Gap
1 16 Sara Poidevin UCI CT/WPT: Rally Cycling 8:08:30
2 92 Kathryn Buss Medica Collegiate All Stars 8:09:11 41″
3 94 Janelle Cole Medica Collegiate All Stars 8:09:29 59″
4 65 Skylar Schneider ISCorp Cycling p/b SmartChoice MRI 8:09:55 1’25”
5 125 Brenna Wrye-Simpson SPBRC/ GRAND PERFORMANCE 8:10:24 1’54”

K’ul Chocolate Best Sprinter Standings – Women
Position No. Rider Team Points
1 53 Sophie Mackay Team Hagens Berman | Supermint Pro Cycling 25
2 35 Coryn Rivera Team UnitedHealthcare 22
3 1 Joelle Numainville North Memorial Health Care 22

Sports Beans King of the Mountain Standings – Women
Position No. Rider Team Points
1 11 Erica Allar UCI CT/WPT: Rally Cycling 34
2 22 Mandy Heintz UCI WPT: Visit Dallas DNA Pro Cycling 20
3 1 Joelle Numainville North Memorial Health Care 15

Surly Most Aggressive Rider Standings – Women
Position No. Rider Team Points
1 27 Sara Tussey UCI WPT: Visit Dallas DNA Pro Cycling 6
2 1 Joelle Numainville North Memorial Health Care 5
3 4 Ellen Noble North Memorial Health Care 4

Photo by Matthew Moses

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