by Jake Sisson
Helen Wyman (Kona) made a good impression for her new Kona team employers by winning the opening race on the American UCI Calendar, the 2009 edition of Star Crossed in Redmond, Washington. Wyman took a wire-to-wire victory ahead of defending champion Sue Butler (Monaviecannondale.com) and the newly unretired Alison Dunlap (Luna Chix). Wyman took the holeshot and never looked back, take a win by more than 30 seconds.
While Wyman’s victory was never really in doubt, the trio of Butler, Dunlap and Canadian Alison Sydor (Rocky Mountain-Maxxis) were hard at work trying to rid themselves of each other. The lion’s share of the chasing work fell to Dunlap, who was in her first UCI race since retiring four years ago as the winningest woman at the US National Championships. Butler looked like the weakest of the three women, spending spells fighting on the back of the group. With half a lap to go, Dunlap and Sydor both picked the same instant to attack, using one of the numerous straight aways to launch their bid for the silver medal. Sydor and Dunlap were successful in dropping Butler and came into the velodrome for the final time with a decent gap over the fading Butler. While everyone in the stands was preparing for a drag race between Dunlap and Sydor, the velodrome itself had other ideas.
Deteriorating weather conditions meant that the track had picked up a slippery bead of water and the course became dangerously slick whenever riders crossed it. Sydor and Dunlap were going at full speed as they crossed the track, Sydor hit the turf, bringing down Dunlap, who was riding close behind. With Dunlap and Sydor scrambling to remount, Butler was clear to roll easily to second place. Dunlap was the faster of the two to get back on her bike and finished up third. Sydor was next across in fourth. Kari Studley (Velo Bella) rounded out the top five ahead of Emily Van Meter (Hudz/Subaru), Wendy Williams (Hudz/Subaru), Sarah Stewart (Total Restoration Cycling Team), Jenni Gaertner (Vertical Earth) and Kristi Berg (Redline) rounding out the top ten.
1. Helen Wyman (Kona)
2. Sue Butler (Monavie/Cannondale)
3. Alison Dunlap (Luna Chix)
4. Alison Sydor (Rocky Mountain – Maxxis)
5. Kari Studley (Velo Bella)
6. Emily Van Meter (Hudz/Subaru)
7. Wendy Williams (Hudz/Subaru)
8. Sarah Stewart (Total Restoration Cycling Team)
9. Jenni Gaertner (Vertical Earth)
10. Kristi Berg (Redline)
Official Promoter’s Brief Report
The rain started shortly after the UCI women’s field took off at FSA Star Crossed and Kona’s Helen Wyman began to rain all over the field. The British Champion, currently ranked eighth the world, rode away from a top-notch women’s field including last year’s winner MonaVie Cannondale’s Sue Butler and never looked back. After the race, Wyman noted that the course felt similar to the European races, which clearly worked to her advantage. A chase group consisting of Butler, Allison Dunlap (Luna) and Alison Sydor (Rocky Mountain) tried to give Wyman a run for her money but the Brit was never in danger of being caught. Butler dangled with the lead chase group, having trouble with her new pedals, but managed to power through on the home straight away to take second ahead of Dunlap. Wyman now takes the NACT lead to the Rad Racing GP tomorrow morning in Lakewood, Washington.