With four days down, the Tour of America's Dairyland has had pretty good luck with weather so far. If you've managed to get out and see the races you've probably enjoyed the rousing competition under perfectly sunny skies. But an impending storm system looks to reveal the mightiest and most dedicated racers over the next few days.
Yesterday in Appleton, during the Women's Pro 1/2, Carrie Cash (Team Vera Bradley Foundation) delivered the perfect lead out, giving teammate Erica Allar (Team Vera Bradley Foundation), that podium spot she'd been craving. It was the perfect send off for Allar, the 2007 U23 National Criterium Champion, who will be leaving ToAD on the hunt for the Stars-and-Stripes at Nationals. While lending the assist to Allar, Cash landed second place and took over the Overall Leaders jersey, well deserved as she has consistently fought for podium positions through the early part of the tour. Emma Petersen (7th Groove-Reform Body Clinic) rounded out the podium.
Saturday was all Rahsaan Bahati (Bahaati Foundation) but James Stemper (Kenda Pro Cycling-GEARGRINDER) and his break mates made equally bold headlines as Stemper brought home a Father's Day victory as his Dad cheered from the sidelines. It was Stemper, Rudolph Napolitano (Liquid Fitness-Adageo Energy) and Andrew Gonzales (FCS-Metro Volkwagen) rocking a commanding gap by a dozen laps to go as the field did everything they could to drag them down, to no avail.
The 22-second gap started to close with seven left but after Stemper stole the $500 crowd prime, the adrenalin surge pushed it over the top as the breakaway kept hammering at nearly 30mph, extending the gap to 26 seconds. Mind-blowing to comprehend that a bruised Napolitano stood second on the podium when just 24 hours earlier he had crashed and flipped hard onto his back at Giro d Grafton. Gonzales, who was upgraded to a Cat 1 only two weeks ago, took that well-deserved third spot.
And the boxing match for the best Overall Rider (that is, the racer with the most points at the end of the entire Tour) was an all-out fight as Bahati and last year's winner Chad Hartley (Kenda Pro Cycling-GEARGRINDER) started positioning with three laps to go. Going into the final lap, Bahati and Hartley were all over the field in a drag race that ended with Bahati and Hartley crossing the line in fifth and sixth, respectively. Hartley placed high enough to keep him in the yellow and white Leaders jersey on his 29th birthday.
Tour of America's Dairyland will take racers on a meticulously paved four-mile, 14-turn closed course at the historic Road America race track, typically used for auto racing, in Elkhart Lake today before heading to the shores of Lake Michigan on Tuesday for the Sheboygan Harbor Centre Bike Race.
You can follow the race reports more closely at http://www.tourofamericasdairyland.com/
There are seven days left in the Tour as it continues to wind its way back to the Milwaukee area with the following schedule:
June 21 -- Elkhart Lake Road Race at Road America
June 22 -- Sheboygan Harbor Centre Bike Race and Family Day
June 23 -- Trek Waterloo Classic
June 24 -- Greenbush Road Race
June 25 -- Fond du Lac Bicycling Gran Prix
June 26 -- ISCorp Downer Classic
June 27 -- Waukesha Carl Zach Cycling Classic
Jason McDowell grew up in central Iowa and moved to Milwaukee in 2000 to attend the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design.
In 2006 he began working with OnMilwaukee as an advertising designer, but has since taken on a variety of rolls as the Creative Director, tackling all kinds of design problems, from digital to print, advertising to branding, icons to programming.
In 2016 he picked up the 414 Digital Star of the Year award.
Most other times he can be found racing bicycles, playing board games, or petting dogs.