Canyon//SRAM Racing and Stage 4 of the Tour of California
Photos and words by Satchel Cronk
To win a sprint in an elite road race requires a precise and complete combination of strategy, explosiveness, strength, risk, confidence, and often a little luck. To win a sprint at the end of a criterium requires the same kind of performance—for the majority of the race. Because if a road race is a marathon, then a crit is more like a sprint—except it isn’t a whole lot shorter.
“A crit as the final stage of a WorldTour
multi-day race? Now that’s a heckuva way
to set the stage for some
intense, strategic, and highly dramatic
A crit as the final stage of a WorldTour multi-day race? Now that’s a heckuva way to set the stage for some intense, strategic, and highly dramatic racing. Such was the case at the 2017 edition of the Amgen Breakaway from Heart Disease Women’s Tour of California, as Stage 4 featured a capitol city circuit race; a fast, technical arena set for a SacTown showdown.
“It was a palpable energy that
The crowd felt the tension and energy of the race from outside of the curb, and their enthusiasm fed back onto the race course as cowbells rang and hands pounded the boards separating spectators from the gladiators on the tarmac. The intensity, proximity, and speed of criteriums make them exciting even for non-cyclists, and as the race progressed, Stage 4 was setting up for an appropriately climactic finish.
began early on and seemed to
increase incrementally every time
the peloton passed.”
“Coming into the final straight and her
“It was good. A podium of course was the goal but for the first time really sprinting this year I’m happy with it. I know what I need to improve on and now I have the confidence to just get stuck in and go for it.”
To win a criterium in a WorldTour event requires a remarkable mastery of individual power, aggressiveness, team strategy, and luck. . But to be on the boards beneath a concrete symbol of institutional power and feel the energy of one of cycling’s most exciting race formats—that’s a victory for any fan of racing.
first sprint of the year after an ankle injury,
Barnes dropped the hammer.”