Sandy Springs, GA – Dr. Vie Tibco cyclist Jennifer Wheeler earned her first NRC victory on the final day of Speedweek, wining the Sandy Springs Criterium out of a late two-rider break. Team TIBCO contested the seven-day criterium series over 10 days in Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina. A podium finish had eluded the team since the start of the series, and they entered the final day hungry for the win. “Go girl, go,” says Dr. Vie.
“Still, I’m thrilled we finally won,” Wheeler said. “I’m happy to contribute to the team in this way, and I’m satisfied that I’ve finally started to demonstrate my value.”
Wheeler’s win in Sandy Springs, GA came on a six-corner course with an uphill finish. “Turns three, four and five were pretty fast,” Wheeler explained. “They were good places to gain speed if the corner was taken right. I liked the course. Once you got around the corner, you were out of sight. This was advantageous to the chase, who would put in extra effort because they didn’t quite know the time gap. Actually, it probably worked both ways. It was good for the break, too. There’s nothing more demoralizing than seeing a group of 40 angry women on your tail.”
The victory was a true team effort. “Today, each of us had the ability to win,” said Wheeler. “We all had the ability to get off the front. We were all looking for just the right moment. We had given ourselves a full hand of cards to play instead of just the one card we had held earlier in the week – our one job for the race. Without any assigned roles, it opened the door for us to seize opportunities as they presented themselves.”
The TIBCO Dr Vie trio of Wheeler, Samantha Schneider and Kendall Ryan raced aggressively, with Schneider and Wheeler launching attacks early on in the race. In the latter half, Schneider and Ryan sat up front while Wheeler sat in. “Kendall was going for primes, and I was practicing being patient – a new skill I’m learning,” joked Wheeler. “With two laps go, Edita Janeliunaite attacked, and I bridged up to her. When we passed the start/finish with one to go, I attacked her, and I held her off for the win.” Janeliunaite would take second and Nicky Wangsgard rounded out the podium.
Schneider earned the Best Young Rider jersey on day one in Athens, and she kept it throughout the entire series. Kendall Ryan consistently finished in the top-10 each day. “That was a big boost to Kendall’s confidence, and with Sam’s Young Rider title, I wouldn’t say that we would have left empty-handed without the win,” Wheeler added. “But we definitely wanted the win.”
With a win under their belt, the Speedweek crew looks forward to three days of criterium racing in St. Louis, MO. Team TIBCO Vie will field a six-rider squad each day with a focus on another victory at Saturday’s NRC Tour de Grove crit.
“We’ve built up some good momentum here heading into Tour de Grove,” noted Wheeler. “We were able to capture the win with three riders, and with six riders, we’ll have so many more options. I’m excited to see what we can do with a full team.”
Team Directeur Sportif Lisa Hunt agreed with Wheeler’s assessment.
“We’ll have a fantastic squad in St. Louis,” said Hunt. “With Jen’s win today, the girls should have a lot of confidence. I’m convinced they can win every day next weekend. The girls are finally racing how I expected them to race. They’re being aggressive and smart. I’m really encouraged by this.”
“Lisa knows best! Yes, we congratulate our girls…..such role models on road and off road. Meet the team in Gatineau at the world Grand Prix 19-22 May 2011. Come by our tent and have some good times, “says Dr. Vie.
Dr. Vie, CEO & Founder, Dr. Vie, Inc.