Stacey Barbossa (Colavita / Whole Foods Market Racing) headed to the start line for the Women’s Masters 50-54 race in Louisville looking to win her second national championship of the calendar year.
If that was not enough pressure, Barbossa’s image was also featured on the front cover of the Louisville Nationals Media Guide.
“A lot of pressure,” she said. “I was on the Media Guide, I was at the BP station signing autographs. USA Cycling’s version of America’s most wanted. A lot of pressure.”
Barbossa was obviously in a good mood after winning, but during the race she was all business. Barbossa found herself in the lead early on after another rider slipped out in a corner. She exploited the opportunity and quickly had a gap on Andrea Cox (Riverside Racing) and Libbey Sheldon (Crosshairs Cycling) midway through the first lap.
Barbossa held an 11-second lead after 1 lap and a 25-second advantage after two. She did not look back from there to win her second-straight—and second this year—Masters national championship.
“Super fun course,” Barbossa said about her afternoon at Joe Creason Park. “Probably the best Nationals course ever.”
Going for the Repeat
Earlier this year at Reno Nationals, Barbossa and Sheldon went 1-2 in the Masters 50-54 race in the Nevada desert. The two—and the rest of the Masters 50-54 field—got to square off against each other again in Louisville.
Although Barbossa did not get the holeshot, she quickly moved up to the front of the race.
“My plan was to get the holeshot, which never typically happens. It didn’t happen today,” Barbossa said. “I was third, but as we hit the first tree, I was able to back off a bit, and the first girl skidded a bit and took out the third girl. I was able to scoot by. I just lucked out and got to the front and stayed at the front.”
After the early rubbin’ is racin’, Barbossa, Sheldon and Cox dropped into the bowl together. Barbossa got a small gap at the stairs and then exploited it on the ensuing climbs. When she powered out of the bowl, she had almost 10 seconds on Cox and Sheldon. At the end of the lap, her lead was 11-seconds.
From there, Barbossa extended her lead each lap. It grew to 25 seconds and then 37 seconds. Barbossa said the conditions were perfect for riding fast and riding her lines.
“It was fantastic,” she said about the conditions. “It was probably optimal. We probably had the best possible conditions compared to what’s probably going to happen the rest of the week. It was a little bit slippery but mostly tacky. It was a super-fun course.”
Barbossa crossed the line and celebrated her second-straight national championship with friends gathered at the finish.
Behind Barbossa, the top three settled into a set position that held for most of the race. Cox got a gap on Sheldon heading up the climb out of the bowl and held it there for the rest of the race. Sheldon, in turn, had her spot set as well.
Cox took the silver and Sheldon the bronze.
For more on the race, see the winner interview, photos and results below.
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Stacey Barbossa: Winner Interview
Photo Gallery: Women’s Masters 50-54, 2018 Louisville Cyclocross Nationals