Emilia Fahlin of Sweden, the youngest member of Team Columbia-Highroad, won the women's criterium race as thousands cheered on the racers in Santa Rosa Sunday afternoon.
The second-annual event consisted of a field of 88 riders competing for more than $15,000 in prizes. Set as a category Pro 1,2 race and with a limit of eight riders per team, the Amgen Tour of California Women's Criterium showcased some of the world's top professional women's cycling teams, including defending champion Brooke Miller of Team TIBCO, who finished 15th overall.
“The 2009 Amgen Tour of California Women’s Criterium was a huge success,” said Laura Charameda, race director, Amgen Tour of California Women's Criterium. “We had an amazing representation from the top women’s teams. With the support of AEG, which believes in building great events for both men and women, I look forward to the opportunity to help grow this event into the most important race in the world for professional women cyclists.”
Emilia Fahlin, overall winner of the Women’s Criterium and current National Champion of Sweden, took several important wins in the 2008 season, including the Merced Criterium and Merco Cycling Classic Road Race. Fahlin also took a stage win in the 2008 Redlands Bicycle Classic. In 2007, she took second place in the Sparkassen Giro Bochum.
“When I was here last year, I finished third,” said Fahlin, winner of the second-annual Amgen Tour of California Women’s Criterium. “I really enjoyed the race last year with the big crowds, so I wanted to do better. Getting to win here was really fun and great way to start the season; very motivating.”
Rounding out the top three were Lauren Tamayo (USA) of Team TIBCO in second and Rachel Lloyd (USA) of Proman in third. Tamayo took first in the 2008 Women’s International Challenge and the 2008 Atlanta 10K Classic. Lloyd won the 2008 Single Speed World Championship Mountain Bike Race.
America's most successful cycling race, the Amgen Tour of California, is a more than 750-mile, nine-day stage race, modeled after the Tour de France. One of the nation’s largest and most recognized annual sports events, this international, world-class cycling road race features 17 elite professional teams and athletes from around the world, competing for the highest prize purse of any cycling race in North America. The Amgen Tour of California brings the drama and excitement of a professional cycling stage race to the California coast for a fourth year in 2009, from Feb. 14-22.
“Returning to Santa Rosa for the second-annual Amgen Tour of California Women’s Criterium was an obvious choice after the incredible turnout last year,” said Andrew Messick, president, AEG Sports, presenter of the race. “There are a lot of passionate cycling fans watching the 2009 Amgen Tour of California, so we wanted to utilize that opportunity to showcase the amazing talent of these professional women cyclists as well. We remain committed to presenting women’s cycling and will look for ways to help promote and grow women’s cycling in the coming months and years.”