Men's pro division cyclists head down Oak Street on Monday afternoon during the Steamboat Ski & Bike Kare Criterium event, which was the last event of the four-day Steamboat Springs Stage Race.

Photo by Matt Stensland

Men's pro division cyclists head down Oak Street on Monday afternoon during the Steamboat Ski & Bike Kare Criterium event, which was the last event of the four-day Steamboat Springs Stage Race.

Day, McDonald win at 1st Steamboat Springs Stage Race

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Steamboat Stage Race

The four day inaugural Steamboat Stage Race wrapped up Monday with the Criterium event in downtown Steamboat.

The four day inaugural Steamboat Stage Race wrapped up Monday with the Criterium event in downtown Steamboat.

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Steamboat Springs cyclist Barkley Robinson, center, rides with the pack during Monday's Steamboat Ski & Bike Kare Criterium downtown.

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Steamboat Springs cyclist Ian Pritchard stays with the pack during the Steamboat Ski & Bike Kare Criterium on Monday.

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Cyclists compete in Monday's Steamboat Ski & Bike Kare Criterium race during the first Steamboat Springs Stage Race.

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Riders compete in the Ski & Bike Kare Criterium in downtown Steamboat on Monday

— Marilyn McDonald never feels safe with a lead. So heading into the final stage of the inaugural Steamboat Springs Stage Race, the Boulder-based cyclist - who held a 10-second lead over Julie Emmerman - said her strategy was pretty simple.

"I just tried to follow the girls that I knew were close to me," McDonald said about Monday's Ski & Bike Kare Criterium in downtown Steamboat. "If I could follow them and try and hear when the time bonus lap was, I knew I'd be OK. Then in the finish, I just tried to stay with them."

The strategy worked.

Despite the time bonuses that were awarded during certain laps as well as for the top three finishers, McDonald's sixth-place finish in the criterium was good enough to hang on to the title in the SW1-2, SW 3, SW 35-plus division.

McDonald finished the prologue and three-stage race in a total time of 4 hours, 33 minutes and 53 seconds.

Emmerman was second in 4:34:03, and Beth Fisk was third in 4:34:11.

Emmerman, who is a sports psychologist for the Team Garmin-Slipstream cycle organization, said Monday's criterium course made it difficult to make up any time.

The 0.8-mile loop started at the Routt County Courthouse and traveled along Oak and Pine streets between Fourth and Eighth streets.

Riding up Oak Street, riders who broke away usually would get caught on the slight downhill on Pine Street.

"I needed to play it smart and be opportunistic," said Emmerman, who used to be a professional mountain bike racer. "It was hard to get away on a course like this. It was hard to make an attack. If I did, I knew everyone would follow me."

Emmerman tried to win the time lap bonus midway through the criterium, but a mechanical failure with her tire took away that chance.

Monday's criterium meant little for the top spot in the Men's Pro 1-2 division, where riders entered the day all but knowing that Fly V Australia rider Ben Day would win.

Day entered the criterium with a 4:55 lead over Fort Collins' Alex Hagman.

But instead of sitting back, Day rode with the lead pack for most of the race before breaking away with two laps to go and winning the criterium.

Day went on to win the overall event in 5:54:30. Hagman was second in 6:00:25, and Jonathon Baker was third in 6:00:29. Steamboat's Barkley Robinson was sixth overall in 6:02:43.

Monday "was more a matter of staying out of trouble," said Day, who admitted the race was won Saturday during the Marabou circuit race. "I felt a little bit foggy (Monday) morning. It was a pretty hard day for me (Sunday).

"(Monday) I took it really easy and played it safe," he continued. "I got in the break and sat on the other boys. I wasn't sure if I was going to go for it, but the opportunity presented itself. It's just great to keep winning for Fly V Australia."

Paul Rapinz was the overall winner in the SM 35-plus 4, SM 45-plus 4 division with a time of 4:12:12.

In the SM 3 division, Todd Neumarker took the top spot, finishing in 5:47:46. Louie Amelburu took the SM 45-plus division with a time of 4:22:14. In the SM 55-plus, SM 65-plus division, Mike Meyer won the criterium to finish in 4:16:48, just four seconds better than Joe Carcich. In the SM 4 division, Zane Godby won in 4:24:33. Steamboat's Josh Smullin was second in 4:25:21.

In the SM 35-plus, SM 35-plus 3 division, Mitch Westall took the title in 5:26:28.

Flora Duffy won the SW 4, SW 45-plus, SW 55-plus, SW 6 division with a time of 4:28:09. Steamboat's Linnea Dixson was fourth in 4:36:48.

In the Junior 15-16/17-18 criterium Monday, Christian Lang was the winner. Steamboat's Jeffrey Gay was seventh.

- To reach Luke Graham, call 871-4229 or e-mail lgraham@steamboatpilot.com

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