By Brian Murphy
Exergy TWENTY12 cyclist Theresa Cliff-Ryan won Stage 1 of the Exergy Tour on Friday in Nampa. Cliff-Ryan won a sprint to the finish of the 76.7-mile stage that began and ended at the Nampa Rec Center.
She edged out Ina Yoko Teutenberg of Team Specialized-Lululemon and Rochelle Gilmore of the Faren Honda Team in a tightly bunched finish.
Teutenberg claimed the yellow leader's jersey after the stage.
Cliff-Ryan is a teammate of Boise cyclist Kristin Armstrong, who is out of the tour after fracturing her clavicle. Armstrong had surgery Friday morning and arrived at the finish line before the end of the race.
"I wasn't expecting that," Cliff-Ryan said of Armstrong's appearance at the race. "I wanted to run up and give her a big hug, but I knew I had to be careful."
Overall Top 5
After Stage 1:
1. TEUTENBERG Ina Yoko, Team Specialized-lululemon
2. WHITTEN Tara, Team Tibco - To the Top
3. CARLETON Gillian, Canadian National Team
4. HUGHES Clara, Team Specialized-lululemon
T5. STEVENS Evelyn, Team Specialized-lululemon
T5. POWERS Alison, NOW and Novartis for MS
Armstrong returns to watch, says she will be ready for London
Just hours after undergoing surgery to repair a fractured clavicle, Boise Olympic gold medal cyclist Kristin Armstrong returned to the Exergy Tour to watch the Stage 1 finish in Nampa.
Armstrong said there is no doubt she will be ready for the London Olympics. The four-member U.S. road team and the the two-member U.S. time trial team will be picked on June 15.
"The chances are not gone. I want to make that straight right now," a defiant Armstrong said. "I want to make it very clear that I have nine weeks and I'll be on my trainer in about two days. So a little break for an athlete is sometimes a blessing in disguise."
Armstrong said she did not know what happened during Thursday's prologue when she crashed at about the midway point. She finished 13th in the event. She said she watched the crash about a dozen times.
"I don't know what happened. It's just unfortunate. I finished 13, maybe it was just an unlucky day," Armstrong said.
Armstrong said she brought her Exergy TWENTY12 teammates muffins for after the race.
"I want to show people that this injury is not going to be a hindrance for me going to London. And I want to show people that I'm strong and ready to fight," Armstrong said.
Boise Olympic gold medal cyclist Kristin Armstrong underwent surgery Friday morning to repair a fractured clavicle, one day after a devastating crash in the Exergy Tour prologue in Boise.
While Armstrong had pins placed in her left clavicle to stabilize the mid-shaft fracture, the inaugural Exergy Tour — a five-day professional women's cycling stage race through Southwestern Idaho — continued on. Stage 1, a 76.7-mile event, began at the Nampa Rec Center at 11 a.m.
At 7:30 a.m., Armstrong wrote from her Twitter account (@k_armstrong): "Thanks to everyone for all the kind words. Best of luck today @ExergyTour. Hope you see you out there in a day or two."
Losing Armstrong, a fixture in the community and the biggest star in the event for the Idaho audience, was a blow for the tour.
"We are all absolutely heartbroken for Kristin, but we are ready to rally and do this for her and her hometown," her ExergyTWENTY12 teammate Tayler Wiles said on the team's website.
Heather Hill, the tour's communications director, said the Armstrong's absence was disappointing, but said the deep field of cyclists — including many past and potential Olympians — presented a unique opportunity for spectators.
There’s no question from the local point of view it’s disappointing that Kristin is out. We need to support here and stand behind her and hope that she heals quickly and is able to get back on track to continue pursuing her dream of the next Olympics," Hill said.
"That said, there are over 100 riders here that traveled from around the world and we have an amazing opportunity to watch these athletes right here in our backyard."
Canadian Tara Whitten, riding for Team TIBCO-To The Top, won the prologue.
Saturday's Stage 2 is a time trial in Kuna. The stage was supposed to be a showdown between Armstrong and fellow Americans Evelyn Stevens and Amber Neben, who are competing for two spots on the U.S. time trial team for the 2012 London Olympics.
USA Cycling will announce its selections for the team on June 15. Armstrong is expected to be able to ride her training bike "within a few days" after surgery, her team announced Thursday night.
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