Steamboat Stage Race concludes with criterium
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — The Steamboat Stage Race wrapped up Monday with the criterium, and the senior men 4 and 5 finish was as close as it gets.
The two fastest classes of the race shared the road with junior riders ages 15 to 18. By the 40th and final lap, a group of more than a dozen riders were clumped together for the lead. After coming around the last turn at Eighth and Oak streets, the final fight for the finish commenced.
Over the course of a quarter-mile stretch to the line, five or six riders gathered a bike-length lead of the main group. One tire kept edging out another until, right before the line, a cyclist gained ground on the outside, pumping his fist as his tire crossed first.
“It’s actually the first race I’ve ever won outright,” Bryce Woollard said. “And it was a really perfectly executed sprint. It just worked out.”
Woollard, a 28-year-old Boulder resident, has been riding with the Palmares racing group for two years, competing in triathlons a few years before that.
The somewhat seasoned racer had a solid tactic throughout the race, leading up to the tight finish.
“There were a couple really strong guys in the field, and I knew I couldn’t go off solo. I wasn’t strong enough for that,” Woollard said. “I tried to sit in as much as I could and save some energy. … I used the entire second half of the race just hiding and the final lap, being fourth, fifth, sixth wheel. I got on the final straight and knew it was a long way to the line, so just sit in sixth wheel and sprint in to everybody going, then swing around and punch it, and it paid off.”
Going into the final straight, a local Steamboat Velo rider was leading the peloton.
“No one went off the front, so it was just the whole peloton going in for the sprint,” Ethan Moyer said. “I came around that last corner leading, which is not the smartest idea, but whatever. I just started sprinting, and I led everyone out. There was a big swarm at the end. I think I got somewhere in the top 10.”
Just hours earlier, the 19-year-old wasn’t feeling race ready.
“Today, I woke up and was feeling a little tired,” he said. “Three shots of espresso got me out the door.”
Moyer won the road race on Sunday with a time of 2 hours, 9 minutes and 15 seconds, en route to a third-place finish overall after three stages.
While the senior men 4 category couldn’t have been much closer, the senior women 4 category was the opposite.
Leah Emaus, 25, ended up winning the whole thing by more than eight minutes. The Boulder native popped a bottle of sparking wine on the podium, showering her and the second- and third-place finishers with liquid victory.
She had reason to celebrate, since it’s her first season riding with the Full Cycle Women’s Adventure Team, or any cycling team to be precise.
Emaus said the road race was by far her favorite stage of the weekend, which also featured a time trial on Saturday.
“It’s just a gorgeous course and some really fast ladies to ride with and just getting the experience,” Emaus said. “Riding with Tracey (Jacobs) and riding with Lynn (Anderson), they’ve been out here and being able to be that newbie out on the field with them, you learn so much.”
Emaus finished the road race alongside Jacobs and Anderson, who respectively took first and second in the master women 50-plus category.
To reach Shelby Reardon, call 970-871-4253, email sreardon@SteamboatPilot.com or follow her on Twitter @ByShelbyReardon.
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