June 30/97 0:40 am - Womens Challenge Final
Posted by Editor on 06/30/97
POLIKEVICIUTE HOLDS ON TO OVERALL VICTORY AS ZABIROVA WINS FINAL HP STAGE
(thanks to Frank Stanley, USCF Communications Manager)
BOISE, Idaho -- Rasa Polikeviciute (HP Mopier) of Lithuania finished in strong style to take the overall title at the Hewlett-Packard International Womens Challenge.
Polikeviciute, the 1996 world championship road race silver medalist, led Canadian Linda Jackson (Saeco-Timex), by a scant six seconds coming into the final 57-mile road race. While JacksonÃs team was all over the front of the field early on, it was Polikeviciute who fared better at the time sprint, which came 14.4 miles into the race. The Lithuanian was second only to Karen Kurreck (Klein), Cupertino, Calif., at the sprint, putting her 14 seconds ahead of Jackson, who did not place in that sprint.
The race remained close until the climb through the feed zone when Polikeviciutes teammate, Russian Zoulfia Zabirova moved to the front in effortless fashion and led up the climb. Canadian Sue Palmer (Saturn) was third at the mountain sprint, securing the green overall mountain jersey.
The climb shattered the field into a lead group of 17, which included the leaders. The Saturn squad then moved to the front in an effort to secure the sprint jersey for Karen Bliss Livingston, Gainesville, Fla. With Dede Demet, Boulder, Colo., providing the lead-out, Livingston won the final hot spot sprint, edging Jackie Martin (Shaklee) for the overall sprinters jersey.
After a chase group of 11 caught the leaders, the pack was routed the wrong way at the 47.4-mile mark, turning into a stretch of road construction on Idaho Highway 55. The officials paced the 28 leaders back to their original 1:08 lead and the final sprint was on.
With about 3km to go, Rebecca Twigg (Team EDS), Colorado Springs, Colo., shot from the rear of the pack to the front, but her lead was short-lived as Demet, Kurreck and Kendra Wenzel (Saeco-Timex), McKenzie Bridge, Ore., chased her down.
Zabirova, winner of the uphill Bogus Basin time trial and second in two other stages, then pulled away from the field for the stage win, winning comfortably in the sprint down narrow 13th Street. Livingston was second in the sprint and Alison Dunlap (Office Depot), Colorado Springs, Colo., was third. Dunlap finished sixth overall and was the top American finisher, seven seconds ahead of Kurreck.
Emily Robbins (Shaklee), Littleton, Colo., finished seventh in the stage, sealing the Best Young Rider jersey. Robbins, 22, finished ninth overall.
Polikeviciute, who finished fifth in the stage, was 24 seconds ahead of Jackson overall. Zabirova was third, 27 seconds back.
Stage Nine, Middleton to Boise, June 29, 57.1 miles
1. ZOULFIA ZABIROVA (HP MOPIER), Taskent, Russia, 2 hrs, 25 mins, 55 secs
2. Karen Bliss Livingston (Saturn), Gainesville, Fla., s.t.
3. Alison Dunlap (Office Depot), Colorado Springs, Colo., s.t.
4. Dede Demet (Saturn), Boulder, Colo., s.t.
5. Rasa Polikeviciute (HP Mopier), Panevezys, Lithuania, s.t.
6. Carmen Richardson (Klein), Colorado Springs, Colo., s.t.
7. Emily Robbins (Shaklee), Littleton, Colo., s.t.
8. Jolanta Polikeviciute (HP Mopier), Panevezys, Lithuania, s.t.
9. Sarah Ulmer (New Zealand), Auckland, New Zealand, s.t.
10. Kendra Wenzel (Saeco-Timex), McKenzie Bridge, Ore., s.t.
1. RASA POLIKEVICIUTE (HP MOPIER), Panevezys, Lithuania, 18:28:12
2. Linda Jackson (Saeco-Timex), Napean, Ont., Canada, @:24
3. Zabirova, @:27
4. J. Polikeviciute, @1:55
5. Valentina Polkhanova (HP Scanner), Russia, @3:18
6. Dunlap, @5:03
7. Karen Kurreck (Klein), Cupertino, Calif., @5:10
8. Sue Palmer (Saturn), Hamilton, Ont., Canada, @7:57
9. Robbins, @8:11
10. Susy Pryde (Saeco-Timex), Auckland, New Zealand, @8:11