Karey Miles (Therapeutic Associates Inc) won the women's race in a bunch sprint ahead of Cat 3 Beth Burns (Veloce/Felt) after the field stayed mostly together during the four-lap 44-mile Banana Belt opener. (The women’s pro/1/2/3 raced together, but Cat 3s will be scored separately).
Burns said there were "a few possible" break away attempts, but the field kept coming back together until the final sprint, where Miles and Burns battled to a photo finish.
"I don’t know who Miranda Moon is," Burns said of the finishing scramble, "but I knew to jump on Veloforma’s wheel, which I did. And then I heard someone yell ‘go Karey,’ and she took off so I jumped on her wheel. And then it was just her and I at the end. She just outstretched me there."
Cyclepath played the team game to perfection in the men’s race and launched Aaron Sander across the line for the team’s first win of the season.
With about two and a half laps to go Sander, Jacob Rathe (Hammer/CMG) and Paul Bourcier (Hutch’s/OIC) bridged up to a three-man break group containing Sander’s Cyclepath teammate John Browning, Seth Hosmer (HPChiro Racing) and Evan Elken (Landrover-Orbea).
"John was up front," Sander said. "Jacob and Paul attacked from the field. I got on their wheels and they pulled me up."
With two riders in a promising-looking break packed with riders from top teams, Sander’s Cyclepath teammates back in the bunch were obliged to make others do the work during the second half of the five-lap 55-mile race.
While the horsepower in the chase may not have reached maximum potential, cooperation in the break group helped the leaders build a lead of several minutes until their thoughts turned to the finish. That's when Sander took advantage of some cat-and-mouse games in the group.
"We worked together smoothly until half a lap to go when people started attacking, but we kept coming back together," he said. "On the final hill we stayed together. With about a kilometer to go Jacob and Evan seemed to be marking each other. I saw an opportunity with just under a kilometer to go, and I just went. They didn’t react right away and so I managed to stay away."
1. Aaron Sander (Cyclepath Racing)
2. Seth Hosmer (HPChiro/Hammer Nutrition)
3. Evan Elken (land Rover/Orbea)
4. Jacob Rathe (Hammer/CMG)
1. Elken, Evan
2. Sander, Aaron
3. Bourcier, Paul
Women Pro/1/2/3 (3s will be scored separately)
1. Karey Miles (Therapeutic Associates Inc.)
2. Beth Burns (Veloce/Felt)
3. Jen Akeroyd (Team Group Health)
|Slideshow: 2009 Banana Belt #1|
Check OBRA results HERE.