Powers uses Stillwater Criterium to secure North Star GP overall placing
The North Star GP stage race concluded on Sunday with the Stillwater Criterium, a fourteen lap affair that served up an 18% climb on each of its 1.4 mile circuits. Taking the start were three women with a shot at the general classification win, including UnitedHealthcare’s Alison Powers, the current national road race, criterium and time trial champion.
Supporting Alison, the famous UnitedHealthcare Blue Train developed a plan that was equal parts simple and brutal, considering the difficult terrain: Keep Alison protected, shatter the field, and soften the other racers to enable Alison to go on the attack in search of the fourteen seconds she would need to take the overall victory.
To that end, Hannah Barnes and Ruth Winder attacked from the start, gaining a small advantage and putting the field under pressure. Once they were caught, new UnitedHealthcare team member Scotti Wilborne-Lechuga put in an effort, followed by Lauren Tamayo and then Rushlee Buchanan, all of this forcing rival teams to chase.
Finally, Sharon Laws went off the front with a small group from which the winning move would be made, the field already in tatters, and still more than half the race remaining.
The leading contenders bided their time, content to risk losing the stage if it meant a better shot at overall victory. Finally, with just one lap remaining, and the lead group breaking apart, Powers took her chance, attacking her rivals and nearly closing in on the solo leader to take the stage win. In both cases – the stage and the general classification – Powers was rewarded with a second place finish for her efforts.
Coming across the line just moments later, UnitedHealthcare sprint sensation Coryn Rivera comfortably defended her lead in the points competition, winning the overall sprinter’s jersey. In total, over the course of the North Star GP, the UnitedHealthcare team won three stages, twice took second place, lead the general classification, and captured the sprint title.
Said team director, Rachel Heal, “It was an incredible effort from the team today, everyone gave their full effort, and we came close to taking the victory, something no one would have predicted possible before the start of the stage. Its been a great week here at North Star GP. Being on UnitedHealthcare’s home turf and having them out at the races cheering us on was a great added boost. It was a fantastic week of racing.”