Winning women’s pro criterium in Aspen a true team effort
Special to The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
ASPEN – Securing the win in Wednesday’s Blue Ribbon Alpine Challenge was a team effort, according to cyclist Jade Wilcoxson.
“My teammates all day long were there for me,” the professional said after the race, in which she staved off a late attack from Alison Powers to secure first place. “As soon as I would start to get tired, they were right there to pick it up and give me a rest, and they were the reason I had enough at the end to pull out a win.”
Wilcoxson’s teammate Leah Kirchmann also took third place in the pro women’s race, a one-hour criterium that looped through downtown Aspen. Powers, of Pinecliffe, finished second.
“My teammates helped me get in a good position with a few laps to go,” 22-year-old Kirchmann said. “There was a late attack from Alison Powers, but Jade was amazing and covered right away, and I could just kind of wait and wait in the ideal position to sprint for third.”
The Alpine Challenge, originally slated as a three-day race with stages in Aspen and Snowmass Village, was shortened to just one stage because of a lack of funding.
“I think we were all disappointed, but at the same time we were thankful that Jessica (Phillips van Garderen) did keep this one stage,” Wilcoxson said. “And it was definitely worth coming out for it, and hopefully it’ll grow next year.”
Wilcoxson said she would come back next year if the Aspen race returns.
“Every year I really feel like it’s growing,” said Phillips van Garderen, a pro cyclist and organizer of the event. “It’s always determined by if the men’s race comes into Aspen. I don’t think I could do it anywhere else.”
The event coincides with the USA Pro Cycling Challenge stop in Aspen in order to get the crowds and promote women’s cycling. The top three women shared the stage at the end of the day Wednesday with the winning men, and race organizers started the criterium early in order to get some of it live on NBC Sports, which broadcasts the men’s race.
“Sometimes it’s hard to get sponsors for women’s racing, so when they do step up, we really appreciate it,” Wilcoxson said. “Hopefully we put on a good show.”
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