The Tour of California, after being included this year in the UCI World Tour calendar, has been confirmed as the best stage road race in United States cycling. The women’s race, the third edition of which was held May 11-14, had a route divided into two blocks (two mountain stages and another two over flat terrain), in which the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team (UHC) and the Visit Dallas DNA team cyclists gave a high-level performance. For them, it was their California dream!
Stage 1, May 11: South Lake Tahoe – South Lake Tahoe.117 km.
The Tour of California 2017 began with a mountain stage, although the itinerary presented no great elevation gains until the final 2-km climb of 6%.It was a day of continuous attacks led by Rushlee Buchanan (UHC) and Mandy Heintz (Visit Dallas DNA), among others, and which would end with the victory of Megan Guarnier. The UHC tried to pave the way to the finish line for Katie Hall, who finished in ninth place, while her teammate Ruth Winder (UHC) came in fourth place.
Stage 2, May 12: South Lake Tahoe – South Lake Tahoe.108 km.
This was the most grueling stage of the competition, with two mountain passes with a slope of 6%: the second of them, the Daggent (1st category), seemed like it would decide the stage and the race, but it didn't happen that way. The pace imposed by the peloton neutralized any attempt at an attack. It was the ascent to Daggent that was chosen by the squad, breaking off into a small group of 30 cyclists. When it already seemed like Anna Van der Breggen had the stage in the bag, Katie Hall staged an incredible comeback 800 meters from the finish line and came away with the stage victory, which also earned her the yellow leader’s maillot. A tremendous victory!
Stage 3, May 13: Elk Grove – Sacramento.118 km.
The stage with the most kilometers in the Tour of California ended up in a final sprint that only the wind could slow down. And there was no doubt about it – on this occasion, it was a deciding factor. In a stage full of nerves and after the first bonus sprint, Mandy Heintz (Visit Dallas DNA) broke away solo from the peloton, to continue on her way to the finish line in Sacramento. But at 2 km from the finish, the well-organized chasers group caught up with the fighter from Visit Dallas DNA, who justifiably earned the combativity maillot for the day. Katie Hall (UHC) held on to her leadership position, just one second from Anna Van der Breggen.
Stage 4, May 14: Sacramento – Sacramento.70 km.
The last and decisive stage, with a route that consisted of 20 laps around the Californian capital. Once again, the profile favored the sprinters, although it would be the time bonuses that would determine the overall classification. The favorite teams, among them UHC, wanted to rally around their best cyclists for each of these intermediate sprints. It was during the second such sprint that the overall was decided in favor of Anna Van Der Breggen, who bettered Katie Hall (UHC) by a single second, thanks to the time bonus.
Besides coming in second in the overall rankings, Katie Hall (UHC), also came away with the mountain maillot. The UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team also won the team classification, following a great performance throughout the entire race. Meanwhile, Visit Dallas DNA finished the Tour of California with the well-deserved combativity maillot won by Mandy Heintz.
To see all the results and rankings, visit the official race website.
The Tour of California continues with the men’s race on May 14-20, in which the UHC’s men’s team and Team Cofidis will fight it out for a stage victory. Keep tabs on them on our Facebook, Instagram and YouTube channels!