Tour de Toona has historically been a favorite race among top female racers both in the US and internationally because the promoters give women the same routes and distances as the men and offer equal prize money for women, the result is a very exciting and very competitive race. This year the women's start list is actually bigger than the men's start list with teams from Canada and New Zealand represented!
This blog will be updated as each stage is completed tracking the progress of team Virginia Asset Group p/b Artemis/Trek throughout the week. Our team for Toona includes riders from other teams in the Mid-Atlantic region who all joined together to meet the 6-rider minimum to enter the race. Erin & Patty race with this team all season, other riders on the Toona team include Lindsay and Monika from XO Communications, Ainhoa from Cardio Sports Lab, & Sarah from Sticky Fingers.
Wednesday July 6, Stage 1- the prologue time trial:
This 3 mile very technical time trial took riders through downtown Altoona with 17 turnes before the finish line. The winner of the stage was Team Tibco's Tara Whitten who will go into the road race in stage two with the yellow jersey. The riders wearing the Virginia Asset Group team jersey finished in the following places after the short time trial: 30th - Patty, 35th - Lindsay, 37th - Monika, 50th - Erin, 65th - Ainhoa, 71st - Brenna, 76th - Sarah. The race is still wide open, with two long road races and the criterium still to go. Good luck ladies!
Thursday July 7, Stage 2 - Richland to Blue Knob
This 73 mile road race was basically uphill the entire way with varied difficulty of climbs along the way. It was a fast race and the winner was Veronique Fortin (PK Express) with a time of 3:29:02. Our first rider in was Patty, just two and a half minutes behind the leader and in 22nd place for the day. Monika and Erin came in close together at 31st and 32nd, followed by Lindsay at 41st, Ainhoa at 44th, Sarah at 61st, and Brenna at 67. Full results available here. Team Virginia Asset Group riders all made the time cut and will continue on to stage 3, the next road race, after a rest day tomorrow. Happy resting and good luck on Saturday with 91 miles!
Saturday July 8th, Stage 3- Altoona to Blue Knob to Altoona
The rest day was well appreciated by our team, all of who lined up to start the 3rd stage of the tour. This stage reads 91 miles on the map, but that probably does not include all the extra miles from going off course... the moto took racers on the wrong route 2 times during this race, and at one point the main field had to stop and wait for the break away to get back on course because they were so far off they were behind the field. 3 miles after the group restarted was the big 6 mile climb and the group was shattered on this climb. Several groups were re-directed again, before finding their way to the finish line with 103 miles on the computer. The stage's results are posted here in full, here is how team VA Asset Group finished: Patty 25th, Lindsay 34th, Erin 45th, Monika 48th, Ainhoa 52nd, Sarah54th, Brenna 63rd
Sunday July 9th, Stage 4- Downtown Altoona Criterium
We are proud to report that we had our full team roster lined up at the start of the final stage of the tour, it was a tough week and the field size had decreased going into the the crit, so the team was really energized by having everyone still present and racing. The crit course is a one-mile downtown course that is all up and down with 6 corners and an s-turn. It proved to be an intense all-out race. Everyone seemed to get held up by a wreck at some point, and riders many riders were shelled off the back pretty quickly, with less than 30 riders finishing with the pack for a sprint finish won by Laura Van Guilder (NOW & Novartis for MS). Team Virginia Asset Group had 2 riders finish the crit, Sarah in 24th place and Erin in 32nd place. Full Crit results are here. The overall GC was effected heavily by this final stage, and the only riders who were placed in the GC were the riders who finished the crit and received a place and time in the stage. Janel Holcomb (Colavita) won the overall GC. On team VA Asset Group Erin and Sarah both received a GC placing. Erin finished the tour at 30th and Sarah 39th.
Great job to all the VA Asset Group riders during the difficult Tour de Toona: Brenna, Lindsay, Monika, Ainhoa, Sarah, Erin and Patty.