This year was the first time the Tour of California has included a full three day women’s stage race – and the pro peloton did not disappoint, with three action packed races.
Stage one, a 75-mile road race which culminated in an uphill finish was taken by Katie Hall (UnitedHealthcare), with the honours for the 50 mile Stage two race going to Leah Kirchmann (Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies).
The leaders were only seconds apart as stage three, a 34-mile crit race kicked off on Sunday. In first on the General Classification was Lauren Komanski (Twenty 16 p/b Sho-Air), but she was just three seconds ahead of Trixi Worrack (Velocio – SRAM).
The stage, which used city roads around the State Capitol Building in Sacramento, was a race for the sprinters to shine.
At the finish line, Kirchmann had won her second stage in a row, and Velocio-SRAM’s Worrack was in the leader’s yellow jersey, 5 seconds ahead of the stage winner.
Having sprung from the British domestic scene, winning the 2013 London Nocturne and Johnsons Healthtech Tour Series, Hannah Barnes showed her colours racing for UnitedHealthcare, taking the Best Young Rider award.
Barnes, 22, wore the Best Young Rider jersey from the end of Stage One, coming 15th overall on GC – we’re pretty excited to see what she’s got in store for the rest of the season.
The Amgen Tour of California made a progressive stem in boosting the one day women’s race to a three day affair, and it’s not gone unnoticed- Worrack said:
It was such a really nice race, especially with the organization… The first two stages were really hard for us because it was at altitude and today was a crit, also really hard. But with lots of spectators, it was really good.
Stage winner Kirchmann also commented on the impact of the spectators, saying:
It really means a lot for women’s cycling that the organizers have stepped it up and held an internationally sanctioned race with such a quality field. The venues were spectacular this week. The crowds were enthusiastic and big every day. And I just can’t wait to return to this race next year. It’s been awesome!
Our friends at Voxwomen did a great job covering the racing over the weekend – check out their video from Stage 3:
There is still an Individual Time Trial around the Big Bear Lake on May 15 to look forward to – which takes place on the final day of the men’s 8 stage event.