Sara Bergen sprinted to victory in stage two of the Joe Martin Stage on Friday. With the win, not only did the Vancouver native capture the team’s second UCI victory of the season, but she moved into fourth overall in the race, twelve seconds down on the yellow jersey with two stages remaining.
“It was a full team effort and I’m stoked to take home the win for the team,” said Bergen. “We knew we had to win the tight left-hand corner at the 93 km mark, 1.5 km from the finish. After Heidi positioned the whole squad, Katherine (Maine) and Summer (Moak) hit the front and strung it out, which got Erica (Allar) and I through that corner clean and in a good position.”
With two of the team’s fastest flatlanders in Bergen and Allar delivered in perfect position, it was up to the duo to make things happen in the sprint.
“After the teams work, Erica buried herself to keep me at the front going into the final corner. I knew it was a long headwind sprint and I had to stay patient. After finishing second and third the last two years, I really wanted to get it right and I did!”
During the 95 km stage in northwest Arkansas, the peloton was pelted with heavy rain and high winds. Despite the difficult conditions, no breakaway was able to gain a sizeable advantage.
“We wanted to be smart with our energy, play off the other teams and push the pace on the climbs,” said Bergen. “The team rode well together, stayed on top of any dangerous moves, and helped me take a two-second time bonus during the intermediate sprint. We want to win the general classification on Sunday and every second counts.”
Saturday’s stage three features a five km uphill time trial out of Devil’s Den State Park. On Sunday, the riders will race up the demanding Church St climb 16-times to determine this year’s yellow jersey winner.
If Bergen can’t make up her twelve-second deficit in the time trial, the team’s focus will shift to the time bonuses on offer during the final stage.
Stage 2 Results
1 Sara Bergen 2:35:49
2 Chloe Dygert-Owen
3 Leah Thomas
4 Sam Schneider
5 Laura Jorgensen
General Classification after Stage 2
1 Diana Panuela 5:30:09
2 Jennifer Luebke +00:00:06
3 Edwige Pitel 00:00:10
4 Sara Bergen 00:00:12
Follow the team on Twitter for up-to-the-minute updates from northwest Arkansas. For time trial start times, visit here.