The McDonalds Downtown Grand Prix, a .9 mile criterium, set the stage for the speedsters to throw down on Stage 3 of the Merco Credit Union Classic.
US Pro Criterium Champion Ken Hanson (Optum pb Kelly Benefit Strategies) was the fastest for the day and won the Pro Men’s race, followed by Fabrizio Von Nacher (CashCall Mortgage) for second and Benjamin Swedberg in 3rd (California Giant /Specialized).
Veteran Ina Teutenberg sprinted to the line first from a small break to take the win. Close behind was Lauren Hall (Optum pb Kelly Benefit Strategies) in second , with Tibco’s Joanne Kiesanowski rounding out the podium for 3rd.
Teutenberg said, “It’s been a tough lead into the season for me. Trying to find the motivation to do another year, but this race is always a good way to start the season and I’m happy to have been able to pull off the win today.”
Teutenberg has won this race for the last five years running and has always made Merced her first race of the season.
“It’s really a great race,” she said. “This year they’ve made the women’s race 4 days which is perfect for us and they make a big effort to support women’s cycling. It’s a great atmosphere downtown for the crit and it makes racing a lot of fun.”
“We have one more day to defend Evie’s yellow jersey and we’re looking forward to having another good race tomorrow.”
Photo © Frank Sarate / SoCalCycling.com