Thanks to Lisa Downey for this final race report!
The Tour of America’s Dairyland concluded Sunday night at the East Tosa Gran Prix, a neighborhood overfloweth with fans’ physical and emotional presence from Start/Finish to house parties all around the four-corner rectangular course. Racers, exhausted and shells of themselves from 10 consecutive, competitive days behind them, had the collective look of “I don’t want to go to school today” but they knew the final day meant fun and treats, and the welcoming East Tosa crowd treated these riders from around the world to an inviting, thunderous applause through eight straight hours of racing.
The air heavy with humidity, a gradual uphill of a finishing stretch, and a headwind made for a challenging last day but the racers brought the show as hefty primes continued to permeate the Pro contests. Midway through the Pro Women’s race, Mandy Heintz (Fearless Femme), Amy Phillips (Pepper Palace) and Laura Jorgensen (Mellow Mushroom) went off the front with Colavita driving the field and Diana Penuela (Specialized Colombia) and Jeanne Kuhajek (Vanderkitten) leading the chase. Tina Pick (Fearless Femme) picked up a $250 prime with four remaining, which opened up the teller’s window for another $250 and an unfortunate multi-rider crash just past Start/Finish including teammates Erica Allar (Colivita-Fine Cooking) and Jen Purcell.
Then as it has on most ToAD afternoons, it all came down to the field sprint. With Jorgensen on the leadout and Heintz on attack, it was Heintz pulling through for the East Tosa Gran Prix win with Jorgensen and Phillips standing on the second and third podium steps, respectively.
In the Pro Women’s Boston Store/Younkers Overall, Sam Schneider (Team TIBCO) bested Pic by 11 points with Allar rounding out the top three. Schneider’s sister and teammate Skylar held on to the green Oarsman Capital Cat 2 Amateur jersey, just six points ahead of Jorgensen in a well-fought battle to the end. Team TIBCO also drove away with bragging rights to the Smart Choice MRI Team Omnium Overall title and a $2,500 check.
For the Pro Men, it was Athlete Octane who made the three-sweep of the night as foreshadowed by Daniel Holloway launching off the front out of the gate. Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, hometown of James Stemper and HQ of Stemper Nation, shot the 5-Hour Energy-KENDA rider with a dose of adrenaline. Stemper along Anthony Canevari (Athlete Octane) and Daniel Eaton (Canyon Bicycles-Shimano) broke free early on and landed on the podium at evening’s end.
The gap quickly widening, the break caught the field by the midpoint of the race. As they fought for podium position, the rest battled for fourth and prime money, the latter of which was pocketed largely in part by teammates Holloway and Chad Hartley, Alexander Ray (Hincapie), Team Clif Bar riders Paul Morris and Blake Anton, and David Guttenplan (Guttenplan Coaching). Stemper flatted with six laps to go, which knocked him out of the running for the top step of the podium but he still secured third as it was Canevari who sailed in for the win, with Eaton taking second. Ray took the field sprint for fourth.
Holloway went home in the coveted yellow Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board Leader jersey with Owen Gillott (Hagens-Berman) and Brandon Feehery (Astellas) rounding out the Overall podium. Holloway and his teammates added to their pile of prime money, $2,500 as the Smart Choice MRI Pro Team Omnium winner. Nate Labecki (ISCorp) secured the Green Oarsman Capital Cat 2 Amateur jersey.
It’s been a phenomenal ride for the Tour of America’s Dairyland presented by Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board thanks to the support of incredible sponsors, racers, fans, volunteers, local municipalities, host housing families, officials, announcers and countless others who contributed to this year’s 11 days. See you in 2015!
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