The Beaumont Circuit Race at Redlands finished in a bunch sprint after 72.3 miles of racing in temperatures in the low 90s throughout the entire stage. Team TIBCO’s highest placed riders in the general classification, Erinne Willock and Carmen Small, sat in 3rd and 6th respectively heading into day two. Following a bunch sprint, the top spots in the overall remained unchanged.
“Today didn’t turn out how I anticipated, said Miller. “I don’t know if it was the heat or people waiting until Sunday, but it was a pretty quiet day in the field.”
On the last lap, HTC-Highroad’s Evie Stevens, 2nd overall, set a hard tempo to protect teammate and race leader Amber Neben. The pace shattered the field, and an elite group emerged.
“By the time we came over the climb, there was a group of about 10 or 12 of us and Erinne, Carmen and I had made the selection”, Miller explained. “This was a great situation for us. Since we had dropped the sprinters, it put Erinne and Carmen in a good situation to take some time at the finish or even go for the stage win.”
The move was not to stay away. “After the the climb, it’s pretty fast to the finish,” Miller recalled. “A large group reformed, so that’s how Theresa [Cliff-Ryan] and the sprinters came to the line with us. It’s unfortunate that when we had the small group at the finish, we couldn’t keep ourselves away.”
Despite this, Small and Willock manage to do pretty well for themselves. Cliff-Ryan (Colavita Forna d’Asolo) took the stage win ahead of Christina Gokey-Smith (Rouse). Jen Purcell (Danbury Auto) nipped Small at the line for 4th. Willock finished 5th. Miller, coming to the finish with the front bunch, managed 30th to move up one position on the overall.
“I’m definitely happy with how well Carmen and Erinne are riding,” Miller said. “Personally, I’m glad to have made the front group when Highroad was setting temp on that last climb in the final lap. I definitely had to dig deep to stay with them, and it was good to know I could do that. I want to be able to do it again on Sunday.”
With teammates eager to move up in the general classification and a technical 60-minute criterium on tap, Miller looks forward to the third day of racing on Saturday. “Usually it’s one of the hardest and fastest crits we have all season,” said Miller. “It’s a longer course with lots of turns. A lot can actually happen tomorrow. Quite often there’s a break that gets off the front, and we will definitely be looking for opportunities.”