Vanderkitten-Focus Women’s Cycling Team has been ripping it up stateside this Summer. After top ten finishes by Jazzy Hurikino and Kate Chilcott at UCI Gatineau GP in Canada, and podiums from ruth Winder in the UK, Emily Collins went on a rampage scoring a dozen podium finishes and winning Pleasanton Fast and Furious.
Vanderkitten-Focus has continued its winning season, with two squads racing simultaneously on the East and West coasts of the USA this past Memorial Day weekend- and WINNING both races.
In California, Maura Kinsella was supported by teammates Starla Teddergreen, Courtney Dimpel and Vanessa Drigo in a hotly contested Memorial Day Criterium presented by San Jose Bicycle Club.
After a race filled with ferocious attacking by the Vanderkitten-Focus gals, Maura put in a massive attempt in the closing laps of the race. Despite a concerted chase from the entire peloton led by the Red Racing Team, Maura managed to hold off her opponents and claim the victory.
For a full report in classic MKULTR4 style, read her blog here
While this was going on, Bridie O’donnell, Kathleen Billington, Jazzy Hurikino, Emily Collins and Kate Chilcott were tearing up the east coast at the USA’s longest running race, Tour of Somerville, New Jersey.
Against a stacked field of 65 top shelf crit riders, Vanderkitten-Focus launched multiple attacks to soften up the opposition. In the finale, a stellar, full force lead out by all 5 VK teammies led Ruth to her biggest win to date, edging out Laura Van Gilder in the throw to the line. Emily Collins, who ran 5th, explained “Ruth has got a huge kick! Van Gilder jumped after the great leadout by Kathleen, but when Ruth went as well only 100metres out, she really surprised with her speed”.
A fantastic win for Ruth as she heads to USACrits Palm Bluffs and Glencoe GP this weekend with Van Dimpel and Teddergreen, while Collins, Hurikino, Chilcott, O’Donnell and Bilington race UCI 1.1 Liberty Classic in Philadelphia on Sunday.
jennifer Reither led the Vanderkitten-Focus to their 11th win of the season by taking out the final leg of the Tour de Grove MOPRO Series in Missouri.
Here is Jenn’s Race report:
A weekend at MoPro St. Louis MO.
The kittens were in St. Louis this past weekend racing hard and successfully bringing home a WIN!
LOOP de LOOP
The Kittens opened up with a warm reception at Friday night’s Loop de Loop, making their presence known by launching attacks, contesting primes and ripping the legs off the field. The crowd went crazy cheering and screaming GO Vanderkitten! The litter attacks included a purrrrfect launch and time off the front from Ruth Widner. Jasmine “Jazzy” Hurikino, hit awesome counter attacks after Captain Kitten JennX was reeled back in by the pack on a few occasions. The fan’s passion and support paid off as the team delivered kitten Kate “Chilly” Chicott to a 3rd place finish.
1st Sam Schneider – Tibco
2nd Sarah Feder – Pepper Palace
3rd Kate Chilcott
Saturday’s race in The Grove was another day of attacking and chasing. The pack was a bit more aggressive as this race was part of the National Criterium Calendar and the heavy hitters were out for sprint points and a prestigious win. Vanderkitten raced the windy 1.5 mile course as tactically as possible sending girls off the front and having other team’s reel them back in. The wind took a toll on team VK. Efforts being put in were taking the kick and zap out of each kitten’s legs. We did have the extra kitty power with Maura “MK Ultra” Kinsella joining us with Fresh legs, who chased down attacks and stayed close to sprinter Emily “Mooney” Collins along with her teammate Jazzy. On the last lap, Jazzy strung out the pack for the last 2 while Jr. Kitten, Ruth “1K” Widner took a nice flying and spent a few laps off the front. took teammate Emily “Mooney” Collins through the last corner for the 200 meter sprint, Emily took a chance to sprint the open lane to the right but it was Erica Allar who won from the left lane. Emily held on for 4th.
1st Erica Allar – Ride Clean
2nd Sam Schneider – Tibco
3rd Laura van Gilder – Mellow Mushroom
4th Emily Collins – Vanderkitten
Without a win on the books for the weekend, Sunday’s race in Dutchtown was the last opportunity for VK to bring it home for the team. The plan stays the same… RACE the hell out of your bike. Whoever wins this race will have to put in a lot of work to do so. From the gun “MK Ultra” launches an attack, using her mad TT skill stays away for 10 minutes. Once reeled in “Chilly” hurts that pack on the climb, and then Jazzy launches with another rider on her wheel and stays away till 4 to go. When Jazzy is reeled in I launch a vicious attack getting a 11 second gap quickly, all the while, “1K Widner” and the rest of the kittens are protecting “Mooney” near the front of the pack. Quick side note, while Jazzy was off the front, Ruth railed a corner, flatted, skipped her bike across the pack and STAYED UPRIGHT!!! Mad skills, glad I saw it; no one would have believed her. From here on out the details get a bit vague as I was lacking oxygen, seeing stars and bottles Michelob Ultra (Title sponsor banners). I think people were telling me I had a gap of 20 seconds at 2 to go, but all I could hear was my mind saying, “Frack!! 2 more laps, Mooney better be ready when I get caught”. I think to myself to push just a bit harder to make them chase me and wear out the other sprinters legs. So put it to them I do and never look back. I then had the finish line in sight, thinking that the pack was on my heels I gave it every effort I could to get across the line, and I did, so exhausted that I couldn’t even fist pump my victory. I did finally looked back and wondered where the rest of the pack was, a spectator told me I had a 27 second gap, I was shocked.
The plan came together and the Vanderkittens did it as a team. This win meant so much to me, because it meant so much to all of us, Emily, Jazzy, Kate, Maura, Ruth, Bridie, Courtney, Starla, Vanessa, Jono, Dave and the Fans to celebrate another victory for Vanderkitten.
1st Jennifer Reither – Vanderkitten
2nd Sarah Feder – Pepper Palace
3rd Laura Van Gilder – Mellow Mushroom
Enjoy the photos,
Enjoy the Ride
Captain JennX Fairy Princess
For more pics and story, click JennBonics Blog
Yesterday, Aussie powerhouse Bridie O’Donnell rode a fast race at the Amgen Tour of California Womens Invitational TT. The 2009 Australian TT Champion clocked a 44:34 over the windswept 29km course that the Pro men contested directly afterwards. Report and more pics to come!
3 Time Oceania Champion and 2009 Australian Open Pro Time Trial Champ Bridie O’Donnell has been announced as one of the ten elite women to contest the 2nd annual Amgen Tour of California Women’s TT presented by SRAM.
The event, run in conjunction with the Mens Stage 5 of the Amgen Tour of California in Bakersfield, is set to once again showcase the very top female Time Triallists in the world, with 2008 Olympic Gold Medal Winner Kristin Armstrong (USA) recieving top billing against esteemed company including Sweden’s Emilia Fahlin (Specialized Lululemon) and USA’s Alison Powers (Now and Novartis for MS).
For Vanderkitten-Focus, the invite represents an important milestone in the development of the squad as a top tier team.
According to Vaderkitten-Focus Sports Director Jono Coulter: “Vanderkitten has always strived to empower women through athletics, and we are thrilled that AEG and Medallist have once again created an event in which the worlds best female cyclists are showcased alongside the best male riders in the world at their event. Vanderkitten owner Dave Verrecchia has consistently built upon the success of the program every year, and we were thrilled to be a part of the inaugural Amgen Tour of California Women’s Criterium in 2008, where the kitties were among the crowd favourites! Over successive years we have built an International squad capable of competing on the world stage and now, with the inclusion of Bridie, have one of the worlds top Time Triallists on our team. To have Bridie rocking the Vanderkitten-Focus kit in one of the most prestigious specialty women’s events in the USA. We could not be more happy”.
Bridie will race a 2012 Focus Izalco Chrono 1.0 at the event, with Kask K.31 Chrono Helmet giving her an aero advantage over the 29km slightly rolling course.
Vanderkitten-Focus has enjoyed a #kickass first quarter of the year, with Jazzy hurikino scoring the 10th win of the season this weekend at the 39th annual Mikes Bikes Classic in Los Gatos California.
Jazzy was one of the favourites heading into the prestigous event, having won the 2010 edition of the famed hilly criterium as a 19 year old.
With Katheryn Curi Mattis Directing and on form Vanderkitten-Focus team behind her, however, Jazzy was unstoppable.
From lap two Hurikino and Kiwi teammie Emily Collins broke away from the pack over the famed 19% power climb, and when a Stevens Pactimo rider, Marley Smith bridged on the downhill, VK’s Kate Chilcott also came across. This made it 3 VK riders in a 4 rider break!
The bunch would not give in easily however, and over multiple ascents of the brutal climb, the peloton slowly reeled the breakaway to within launching distance.
With 5 to go it was gruppo compatto so without hesitation VK team captain Jenn Reither launched a solid attack and cleared the field, gaining 12 seconds immediately with only 4 laps to go.
The chase behind was furious and with 2 to go Jenn X was brought back into the field. no sooner had she come back that it was 3 time Oceania champion Bridie O’Donnell that made a bid for the line. The proven 2009 Time Trial Champion of Australia established a huge gap and the field was reduced to a selection of only the best as
they worked to contain the damage.
With half a lap to go, the last time up the climb Bridie was caught and this time Jazzy made her move. Within 300 metres she had formed a 100 metre gap to the field and put her head down with only half a mile of downhill to the finish line.
To the joy of the assembled crowd and sponsors, as well as Jazzy’s parents who had stepped off an international flight from Australia and made their way straight to the race, crossed the line and threw her hands in the air with exhausted jubilation.
Only 2 seconds later her friend and teammate Emily Collins crossed the line punching her fists, with another Aussie, SportVelo’s Bec Werner in 3rd.
A momentous day for the Vanderkitten-Focus program and all is looking good for the next 2 months of competition that will see racing across the USA and UCI events in Canada and Philadelphia.
Earlier in the month Vanderkitten-Focus had notched some top performances at the Sea Otter Classic in Monterey, with Emily Collins 3rd on Stage 1 and Emily and Kate recording top ten finishes in the final Circuit Race.
The 2012 Redlands Cycling Classic lived up to its hype as a spectacular kickoff to the Women’s NRC season. Vanderkitten-Focus sent a strong squad of 8 athletes, and although bad luck hit the team early on in the tour, our resilient kitties carried on in brave fashion representing VK in style!