Konrad cashes in for women’s crit win | SummitDaily.com

Konrad cashes in for women’s crit win

Shauna Farnell

BRECKENRIDGE – Watching Sarah Konrad come around the criterium course was like was watching a ball fall into the winning slot of a roulette wheel … every time.

Konrad, of Laramie, Wyo., and riding for Mercy Cycling, raked in the dough in Saturday’s Nicole Reinhart pro women’s criterium race in Breckenridge.

There was $1,000 waiting at the finish line for the top woman, plus $800 of bonus cash for the lead sprinter on various loops, and Konrad had a way of cashing in when it counted.

When Konrad pulled significantly ahead of the pack on the first few loops, bringing in the first round of sprint bonuses, it didn’t seem likely that she’d maintain her speed for the duration.

“When I went in early, and when (the rest of the field) caught me after the prems (preliminary sprint loops) were over, I was really content to stick for a while,” Konrad said. “I didn’t totally spend myself at the beginning because I knew the end was coming.”

Her lead at the finish was just as big as it was at the start. Konrad is one of the nation’s leading women’s criterium racers this season, and took third in last year’s Saturn crit and fourth the year before. She beat U.S. National Champion and second-place finisher Jessica Phillips, one of three women racing for the Saturn team Saturday, and third-place finisher Kori Kelly of team Diet Rite.

The women’s crit was conducted in a miss-and-out format, but there were a few racers who accidentally eliminated themselves.

“I took her out,” said Rebecca Broeder of Intermounte Cycling, who went wide on a corner of the second lap and sent herself and teammate Crystal Yap into the fence, resulting in serious road rash and a premature finish for both women, who traveled from Montana and Utah to race.

“I just off-cambered,” Broeder said of her crash. “I’m not an expert on crits, but I thought the course seemed pretty hard.”

Konrad pointed out that cornering skills are a big part of successful crit racing and attributed her familiarity with the course, which was a 0.6-mile loop of uphill and downhill stretches through the Town of Breckenridge, as vital to her own success. Still, she said, her legs were burning by the last lap of the 45-minute race.

“There was the lap for $500, and I thought it was the second to the last,” she said. “So, after that, I thought it was the finish line. I came through, and was all ready to put my arms up for the finish, but I saw (the marshall) holding up the “One lap to go.’ sign, and I was like “Oh no!’ I was so hurting on that last lap, it was awful.”

Despite her criterium success, Konrad said she prefers distance racing, and said she would be more than game to compete in the 140-mile Saturn Classic, if ever a day comes when the event is offered to women.

“This is a great criterium course, but it’s not quite the same as the guy’s race,” she said. “I would love it if they gave women a more challenging race like they do for the guys. I would definitely do it. I don’t know if I’d win it, but I’d do it.”

Thousands of cow bells made for high-volume criterium racing for the women, men and junior racers. Throngs of people lined the crit course throughout the day, which culminated in a final cacophony of cow bells as Chris Wherry and the men’s Saturn Classic riders crossed the finish line.

Other winners Saturday included Patrick Owen, who won the Category 3 men’s race and was followed by second-place finisher Scott Bourque and Peter Horn in third. Kurt Sorenson won for Cat 4 men, with second-place Ed Oliver and third-place Jeff Cospolich finishing right on his wheel.

Mikkel Christensen won the junior criterium, followed by Jason Short in second place and Mike Fox in third.

Shauna Farnell can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 236, or at sfarnell@summitdaily.com.

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