The Vitamin Cottage Women’s team headed out to the Gateway Cup in St. Louis over Labor Day weekend. This series of 4 criteriums in 4 days is a mid-west classic and attracts riders from all over the country. The weekend couldn’t have started better as Renee Eastman won the first night’s twilight race at Lafayette Square. The race was fast and furious from the start as the riders were spurred on by the raucous crowds and frequent cash primes. In the closing laps Renee slipped off the front with one rider from the mid-west Plane X team to grab a prime. The duo then dangled off the front for the last 4 laps of the race, with Eastman winning decisively in the sprint. Also placing well for the team was guest rider Maegan Daigler and Beth Fisk who finished in 9th and 10th respectively.
The second day’s race went almost as well as the first as the Vitamin Cottage team once again took the victory in the women’s event. In the Washington Ave Criterium held in downtown St. Louis guest rider Maegan Daigler proved herself in a daring solo move in the race’s final laps. Following several attacks from her teammates, Maegan powered her way off the front on the course’s long uphill straight with just 4 laps to go. The other teams lacking in organization let Daigler dangle 8-10 seconds off the front until the final turn. Knowing it was do or die, Daigler put her head down and hammered up the finishing straight to take a well deserved solo win. Eastman wasn’t far behind, finishing in 6th. Unfortunately, the day wasn’t all good, as Beth Fisk had and unfortunate crash in the final lap. Luckily, she wasn’t hurt badly and returned for the following day’s race.
The winning streak ended on the 3rd race of the weekend at the Giro della Montenga. This race held in the historic Italian section of St. Louis always brings the crowds, but unfortunately this year it also brought the mid-west heat and humidity. The hot temperatures and hard racing of the previous days took their toll on the women as the best finish of the day was Eastman in 10th.
The last day of racing provided some redemption for the team though. The final race of the Gateway Cup was at University City and once again provided for fast aggressive racing all day from the team. Beth, Maegan, and Renee took turns attacking the field until the elastic finally snapped and a break stuck in the race’s final 5 laps. It was guest rider Maegan Daigler again initiating the move, but this time she took super-sprinter Kelly Benjamin from the Cheerwine Team with her. Benjamin won the day, but Daigler took 3rd and ended up 3rd for the final omnium. Eastman and Fisk both finished well in 7th and 10th respectively. It was a fantastic weekend of racing for the women, and it brought the tally of wins for the season up to 22.
With just one race left for the team, they can go in with confidence from a season already well raced.