What's Cool In Road Cycling

TOAD’15: Giro d’Grafton

Day 3 of 11 (Saturday, June 20, 2015). The Giro d’Grafton presented by Aurora Health Care, Meijer and Celebrate Grafton in the 2015 Tour of America’s Dairyland presented by Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board.

Alto-Velo’s Ilesic and Pepper Palace’s Pic Dominate Grafton

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The Tour of America’s Dairyland presented by Wisconson Milk Marketing Board continued Saturday at one of the racers favorite venues, Giro Grafton. The pace was fast and furious from the day’s first contest, with the pedal closer to the metal as the hours ticked. Mascots on the front and a disco party on the back, the crowd, competition and slightly revised course did not disappoint.

Pepper Palace, Fearless Femme, Stages Cycling, New Zealand Cycling and Florida Velo all collected primes early on but once Cari Higgins (UnitedHealthCare) picked up her Benjamin and kept cruising under 10 to go, it became a different race. A trio attempted a getaway with another three near bridge but consecutive $100 primes for Pepper Palace and Fearless Femme forced a reset. The lap counter reading 5, local bike shop BelgianWerx put up a $700 prime, which enabled Sarah Fader (Pepper Palace) to pick up the dinner tab.

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Leading the charge with three to go was Fearless Femme Amy Cutler but as the pace slowed, New Zealand Cycling started to stir as racers were now spread board to board with two remaining. Then, silently waiting for the pinnacle moment, Fader teammate Tina Pic sailed clear across the finish line for her second 2015 ToAD win. BritLee Bowman (Stan’s No Tubes-Velo Classic) and track racing champion Yussely Soto (ISCorp-SmartChoice MRI) took second and third, respectively. Lauretta Hanson (Fearless Femme) zipped up the pink Boston Store Leader’s Jersey for another night. Nicole Mertz (ISCorp) will head into Waukesha leading the Oarsman Capital Cat 2 Amateur competition. Mertz and teammates took over the podium as the SmartChoice MRI Team Omnium leaders.

A weather warning announced prior to the start of the Pro Men’s race prompted lightning speed on the ground. It was a quick-moving chess game until 22 laps remained, when a break of eight formed with six chasing: Jack Bobridge (Budget Forklift), Bissell-ABG-Giant teammates Brad Neagos and Joshua Johnson, Aldo Ino Ilesic (AltoVelo-Sea Sucker), Grant Erhard (SBR Quantum), Alexander Ray (Silber Racing), Ryan Aitcheson (Astellas) and Ruben Companioni Blanco (Stradalli-Safetti).

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The break left town as the gap cleared 32 seconds. Nearing a dozen laps remaining, Ilesic snatched $150 prime and launched a Herculean solo launch from the break. Ilesic was joined by Johnson as the break dissolved temporarily but the band of eight reunited. While Daniel Holloway (AltoVelo) was making an $800 prime deposit in the field, teammate Ilesic again escaped, this time with Companioni; ARay in hot pursuit.

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The field closed in on the final lap but Ilesic powered through for the Giro d’ Grafton win over Companioni. ARay took third step in the podium but climbed into the yellow Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board Overall Leader’s Jersey. Companioni teammate Frank Rodriquez stays in the green Oarsman Capital Cat 2 Leader’s Jersey. Ilesic and the AltoVelo squad lead the Smart Choice MRI Pro Team Omnium going into Sunday.

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Tour of America’s Dairyland continues on Father’s Day in Waukesha for the Carl Zach Cycling Classic.

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