Katie Hall rationed her lungs and legs, sparing enough juice to hammer to victory in day two of the 2018 Colorado Classic women’s race made possible by Antero Resources.
“It was a really hard time trial for us just because of the altitude,” said Hall, who has been on a major stage race rampage this year, winning Tour of California, Tour of the Gila and Redlands Bicycle Classic. “I felt like it was really important to pace it really really well, because if you go too hard here it just takes a long time to recover because there’s just no oxygen up here.”
The 31-year-old tackled the 10.1-mile course in 30 minutes, 8.07 seconds, claiming the Stage 2 victory and jumping to the lead in the overall standings with the Gates General Classification leader’s jersey. Her teammate, Leah Thomas, was second to cross the finish line Friday, 26 seconds behind Hall, and landed the Colorado Tourism Office Queen of the Mountain jersey for the second day straight.
Rally Cycling’s Gillian Ellsay, 21, rounded out the Stage 2 women’s podium, finishing 48 seconds back and winning the IKON Pass Best Young Rider jersey. Stage 1 winner Rebecca Wiasak sped to her second straight Frontier Airlines Sprint Jersey on Friday while World Champion Jennifer Valente (Twenty20 p/b Sho-Air) earned the FirstBank Most Aggressive Rider Jersey.
Stage 2 harkened back to the legendary Coors Classic cycling race of the 1970s with a time trial from Vail Village up Vail Pass. Cranking off of a start ramp in Vail Village’s Mountain Plaza, cyclists shot through Vail Village in reverse direction of Stage 1’s circuit.
They blazed downhill through a tunnel, through the center of town and out to the Frontage Road along relatively flat terrain to East Vail before hauling up the steep climb of Vail Pass, in total gaining 1,574 feet in 10.1 miles and finishing at an altitude just under 10,000 feet above sea level.
“This one is difficult because you’re pedaling the whole time. There’s no real downhills, no place to recover and it just gets harder and harder,” Hall, who in addition to ranking among the world’s top cyclists, holds a Masters Degree in Molecular Toxicology from UC Berkeley. “I went out really conservatively on the flat part because I knew I needed to save a lot for the hills … I still didn’t save enough. I was really dying at the end, but everybody feels that way up here. I’m happy how it worked out.”
Fifteen of the world’s top women’s teams are competing in this year’s Colorado Classic, which moves to Denver Saturday for Stage 3 presented by UnitedHealthcare and Stage 4 presented by Gates Industrial Corporation on Sunday.
The 2018 Colorado Classic women’s race is made possible by Antero Resources and is part of USA Cycling’s Pro Road Tour, which showcases the premier domestic road events in the United States.
For more information, visit coloradoclassic.com.