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Rider Highlight: Whitney Allison takes the Most Courtageous Rider Jersey at AMGEN Tour of California Stage 1

Whitney Allison of Hagens Berman Supermint Women’s Professional Team recently competed at the AMGEN Tour of California Women’s Race. The three day Women’s World Tour stage race kicked off with a 77-mile pancake-flat loop around Elk Grove, California, where she took the Most Courageous Jersey.

How’d the race go down for you?

The AMGEN Tour of California is always one of the fastest races on the calendar and has the highest caliber of women’s teams that you’ll see in North America. It is also Women’s World Tour, the highest ranking for women’s racing. It’s a coveted race to attend, especially for American teams. Our team objective for the day was to be aggressive and initiate attacks.

About halfway through and leading into a really crappy pavement section, I noticed a BePink rider moving up the left and I slid onto her wheel as she attacked. It was good timing with the bad pavement and we easily gained good time as we were able to pick safe lines.  My breakmate was struggling a bit but wanted the sprint points pretty badly. Shortly after she snagged those (and 45 minutes together), we could see the field nearly catching us.

In the chaos of all the motos and cars coming and my breakmate slowing, I attacked her for another 31 minutes solo before getting caught with 10k to go. Some people ask why would someone do that to themselves if they know they are unlikely to win. I would say, you never know. My job was to go out and be aggressive which is exactly what I did. There are so many dynamics that go into each race and especially a stage race that things might just have played in our favor. At the same time, I understood that that was unlikely but it got great exposure for our team and my teammates got to chill in the field all day before helping Lily sprint for 8th in her first WWT sprint ever.

For my hour+ solo, I received the Most Courageous Jersey and got to wear it at Stage 2 in Lake Tahoe, where my teammate Lily Williams had a gutsy ride and took the same jersey. It was really special to keep it “in the family.” This was also my first podium, and at a WWT race no less. My career has been riddled with plenty of Top 10s but never quite a podium at a big race.

Which coach do you work with and how did your training help you prepare for the event?

This is my sixth season working with Adam Mills. Adam and I work really well together. I am very good about training in general and can trust him to maximize my strengths and mitigate my weaknesses. I’ve been doing a ton of anaerobic work this year, especially leading into my early season races- Joe Martin Stage Race, Redlands Classic Stage Race, AMGEN Tour of California and Winston Salem Cycling Classic. The solid anaerobic work not only lets my body handle fluctuating race paces, attacking or going with moves, but also aids with recovery from efforts and helps raise my threshold while I’m at it. Having those extra tools at my disposal really helps me focus on strategy versus just fitness. Thrilled to see where the season continues to go.

What advice do you have for someone up and coming in your cycling discipline?

Assemble your village and find the balance. I’m super lucky to have friends and family I can lean on for help whether it’s my husband tweaking my bike fit, talking to a teammate about a race situation, or seeing my PT over an angry hip flexor. Your village can help you find the balance and stay happy and healthy (the most important part!). You can only control so much in this sport, so make some effort to control what is controllable (like doing that one interval workout you keep skipping), and then don’t worry about the rest.

What is your next event?

I’ll be racing Pro Nationals in Knoxville, TN, and I’m doing all three- TT, Criterium, and Road Race. Looking forward to seeing where the weekend takes me.

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