The women of the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team rolled out of downtown Santa Rosa on Saturday morning under dark clouds as they headed out for stage 3 of the Women’s Tour of California. The course covered 111 hilly kilometers of racing through the Sonoma wine country before looping back into Santa Rosa for three finishing circuits through downtown. Numerous attacks were launched over the opening kilometers, but the field followed them all, keeping the group together through the first queen of the mountains competition. The situation quickly changed after the intermediate sprint as the peloton exploded on the approach to the second QOM competition.
The attacks were joined by Team UnitedHealthcare riders Katie Hall and then Coryn Rivera as the race headed into the hills for the middle 20 kilometers of the race. Knowing that positioning would be important in the final stretch of the race, the women of the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team were sure to cover the breakaway with talented climber and all-rounder Katie Hall, while Rivera drifted back to the peloton in preparation for the eventual field sprint in town.
The peloton eventually regained contact with the leaders, though the field had been reduced to 25 riders due to the blistering chasing pace. The group was all together when they hit the streets of Santa Rosa for three finishing circuits, with last-ditch solo attacks going off the front with limited success thanks to the chasing power of the group, including Team UnitedHealthcare’s Linda Villumsen. The pace continued to lift relentlessly as the strongest teams fought for control of the race. By the last few turns, it was all up to the sprinters and Rivera launched her legendary final kick.
Coming up the inside of the final turn, Rivera was inches short of the stage victory behind former 3-time World Road Champion Marianne Vos, locking down 2nd place in the UCI Women’s World Tour event. With this result, Rivera remains 5th in the general classification and has moved up to 4th in the sprint category with just one stage remaining in the women’s race. The UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team currently holds 3rd place in the best team classification for the women’s race.
Grateful for the support of her team, Rivera commented, “After a hard day on a challenging course, I was proud of Katie and Linda for covering moves and making the final lap fast for the sprint in the finishing circuit. It was up to me to close out our efforts in the sprint to the line. Katie gave me a perfect leadout and I was able to open up my sprint with no one to ride around.”
In the men’s 7th stage of the Amgen Tour of California, the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team opted out of the breakaway activity over the hilly 175-kilometer course, instead focusing on the finish in Santa Rosa. After several breakaway moves were launched, reeled in, and relaunched, the peloton regained the race lead with just 17 kilometers of racing remaining. After three furious circuits in downtown Santa Rosa, UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team riders Janez Brajkovič, Chris Jones, and Daniel Jaramillo crossed the line with the lead group, preserving their times in the overall and team classifications.
Both the men’s and women’s races will conclude on Sunday in the California state capitol of Sacramento. The women will complete a 70-kilometer circuit race around the capitol building in front of screaming crowds, while the men take on 138 kilometers out and back from downtown Sacramento, also ending with fan-pleasing finishing circuits.