By: Sylvi Teich (blog: VeloRambling) Published June 28, 2018
The course on Thursday was long compared to some of the previous courses, measuring 1.2 miles (about 2 km). It was a classic Wisconsin summer afternoon. The temperature was in the high 70s to low 80s during the race. As the race went on, an appreciative crowd gathered all along the course at the boards to cheer the riders on.
For much of the hour-long race the field stayed together. A couple small groups (as always) tried to go off the front, but with no success. There were a few primes during the race, all of them won by different riders. Thursday marked the start of the Lowlands GranFinale Sprint Competition. About halfway through the race there was a prime lap – except the prime wasn’t money, it was omnium sprint points. The points went five places deep. As the race got closer and closer to the finish, it became more of a standoff with no team really wanting to work. With five laps to go in the stage, Rebecca Wiasak, the Australian national crit (criterium) champion, went on the front of the main group.
It looked like something was going to happen, and something did. Wiasak’s teammate and the eventual stage winner Ashlee Ankudinoff attacked off the front solo with four laps to go. With only a few more laps remaining, you would think the attack would cause some panic in the bunch. However, there was no big reaction to the attack by Ankudinoff. The main field underestimated the move and Ankudinoff got away, stayed away, and won the stage. The only noticeable reaction was when Katie Compton (ISCorp Pro Racing) tried to attack to bring the gap down with one lap to go. Sharlotte Lucas (Roxsolt Attaquer) took the omnium points leader’s jersey, from Compton, who took it from Peta Mullens on Wednesday. Rachel Plessing (ALP Cycles Racing) stays in the category two leaders jersey even though she did not race today due to injury.
The riders head to Bay View on Friday to pick it up again at the Café Centraal Bay View Classic.
With one lap to go there was a group of six riders off the front with two chasers ten seconds behind and the peloton chasing both groups like mad 28 second behind them. Then, the race stopped. Then, they raced three more laps. Confusing? The race was neutralized with one lap to go after a big crash in turn four. After getting everything sorted out, cleared, and re-staged, the riders raced three more laps. They were sent off in the same positions on the road they were in when the race originally hit one lap to go. It certainly made the finish more exciting and it made all of the racers just a bit more anxious. Michael Sheehan (Meteor X Giordana Racing) sprinted to the stage victory, taking his second stage win of the series.
It was a great evening for bike racing with temperatures in the low 70s. The course was another square measuring about 1.2 miles or approximately two kilometers. The race was not the same war of attrition it was on Wednesday. The great majority of the riders finished Thursday’s stage.
The riders were back to playing games of ‘cat and mouse’. The first attack came only five minutes into the race from Andrew Guelzo (Piedmont College). His attempt to go clear from the peloton was not successful. About halfway through the race, a group of five riders formed and it looked like a good group. This was a break that might stay away – but it was unsuccessful as well. Speaking of the halfway point, Thursday marked the first day of the Lowlands GranFinale Sprint Competition. At roughly the halfway point in the race each of the top five riders win points to add to the omnium total.
There were a few more attempts to form a breakaway, even one by the current race leader, Luke Mudgway (H&R Block Pro Racing). Late in the race, a group of six riders formed off the front and would stay away for the rest of the race. A few of the riders in the break were Joel Yates (Gateway Harley Davidson/Trek), Sean McElroy (Los Angeles Bicycle Club), and the race winner, Michael Sheehan (Meteor X Giordana Racing). John Borstelmann (Embrace the World Cycling) and Lachlan Holliday (Piedmont College) were chasing the group of six, ten seconds behind. The pace was winding up into high gear and then, the race stopped. There had been a big crash in turn four and the race was neutralized before they reset the lap counter at three laps to go. For the second time, the bell rang for the last lap and in the end, Michael Sheehan won in a sprint of the breakaway for his second stage win, in front of Sean McElroy and Phillip Short. Luke Mudgway keeps the leader’s jersey and Alejandro Villada (INTENT) keeps the leader’s jersey for category 2.
The racers pick it up again on Friday at the Café Centraal Bay View Classic.