SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) Coryn Rivera brought her winning ways back to home soil.
The American cyclist out-sprinted Arlenis Sierra and Giorgia Bronzini on Saturday to win the third stage of the Women’s Tour of California, following up two prestigious wins in Europe earlier this season, while Katie Hall maintained the slimmest of overall leads.
Rivera’s teammates on Sunweb worked with the Cylance team to bring back the break, then helped position Rivera to finish the 73-mile stage from Elk Grove to the California capitol.
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”We tried to put it in the gutter a couple times and get everyone suffering. It didn’t quite work out the way we wanted it to, but we just refocused on the lead-out to the finish,” Rivera said. ”The girls were perfect. There was some chaos on the side, but we just stuck to the plan.”
Meanwhile, Hall lost time during an intermediate sprint and will have a single-second advantage over Olympic road race champion Anna van der Breggen heading into Sunday’s finale.
Riders will face a 90-minute circuit race on a 2.2-mile course in downtown Sacramento.
”We’re really excited to be here and be in the yellow jersey in this field,” Hall said. ”We expect another aggressive race tomorrow but we have a really strong team.”
The finale of the women’s race coincides with the start of the seven-stage men’s race. They will also begin in Sacramento before heading on a 104-mile course that returns them to downtown.
Rivera grew up in California and one of her first significant wins came in Sacramento, so she has been targeting the Tour’s third stage all season. But her confidence was bolstered by wins at the Tour of Flanders and Trofeo Alfredo Binda, two marquee races earlier on the calendar.
She hung around the front of the peloton, safely out of trouble, while her teammates did most of the work Saturday. Rivera also got some help when Cylance standout Kirsten Wild punctured close to the finish, taking one of the field’s premier sprinters out of the running.
”We tried to make the race hard on the crosswind sections but it wasn’t exposed enough for it to work,” Team Sunweb coach Hans Timmermans said. ”A lot of riders were really tired as a result of this, which wasn’t an ideal situation for us. We were still able to bring Coryn into a perfect position for the sprint. It’s a fantastic win for her and the team in her home state.”