The first stage of racing saw Samantha Schneider take 2nd place in the Shorewood Criterium Cycling Classic. This would be the first of seven podium positions for the 23-year old who lined up for the race. Stage 2 again saw Schneider on the podium – this time taking third – but her first win was just around the corner. The stage was set at the Giro d’Grafton. The stage featured a number of attackers, first Amy Philips of Pepper Palace who triggered a hot pursuit first by TIBCO’s Amanda Miller.
Later it was New Zealand’s Joanne Kiesanowski who combined with Phillips at the front along with Specialized Colombia’s Diana Penuela, Cloud Racing’s Starla Teddergreen and Vanderkitten’s Lizzie Williams. That move was swept up however with the finish line approaching and the bunch sprint was contested by nearly fifty riders. Samantha Schneider took the win, with Kendall Ryan in second and Colavita-Fine Cooking’s Erica Allar in third. Kiesanowski came home inside the top 25 at the same time as her teammate. Fellow Kiwi Kate Chilcott of Vanderkitten produced a fine sprint to take sixth on the stage. But it was about to get a whole lot better for the Kiwi contingent in Wisconsin.
Stage 6 saw a very technical course tackled for the Schlitz Park Criterium. So far this year Joanne Kiesanowski has featured consistently well in criteriums but the win had proved elusive up until now. This time Kiesanowski saw her opportunity and took it. Taking her place in a breakaway of three riders, Kiesanowski escaped with five laps remaining of the hilly and twisting course alongside Jessica Prinner of Colavita-Fine Cooking and Laura Van Gilder of Mellow Mushroom. These three managed to stay away from the field but the time gaps weren’t big by any means; only 12 seconds separated the leading trio of riders at the finish.
Determined to take that top step on the podium Kiesanowski launched her finishing sprint and this time no one was able to match her. Afterwards RoadCycling caught up with Kiesanowski to find out how she felt taking the win this time around, “It always feels good to get a win, I heard about the course beforehand and definitely eyed it up as one I would want to win. I love hilly technical crits so this one suited my strengths nicely!”
The following day TIBCO made it a double courtesy once again of Samantha Schneider who took the win at the end of a day full of aggressive attacking moves. There are still three stages remaining of this year’s race but TIBCO currently have the overall lead with Schneider; it’s a narrow lead she currently holds and the team will need to support her all the way but as Kiesanowski explained to us morale has been high amongst the group of riders representing Team TIBCO, “For sure, we have a good group here in Wisconsin, some of us have been teammates for years so it’s nice as we know each other well. The Schneider sisters [Samantha and Skylar] are from here so we stay with their family, their dad directs us and a friend of theirs helps us out as a mechanic, nice atmosphere.”
Joanne will stop racing after tomorrow’s ninth stage to head up to Michigan; but the next big race for her is not far away. The White Spot Delta Road Race in British Columbia, Canada – on July 6th – will feature 8 laps of a twisting and technical course; just what Joanne Kiesanowski thrives on. The course is extremely rolling too which may also play into Joanne’s hands. Interestingly, should Joanne Kiesanowski make the podium of the road race, she will not be the first Kiwi to have reached the top three here. In 2007 our current National Road Race champion – Rushlee Buchanan – made it to third place behind Leah Guloien and Leah Goldstein.
By: Ed Wright