Conyers claims top-three finish
Top local female cyclist Caitlin Conyers continues to draw attention on the international scene after another impressive performance, this time in the Tour of Southern Highlands in Northern Georgia.
Competing in the Pro 1 women's category against some top competition, Conyers gave a solid display of commitment, consistency and confidence over four tough stages to clinch a place on the podium, finishing third overall along with renowned professionals and event winner Flavia Oliveira and second place Summer Moak.
“Flavia came seventh in the Olympics in Brazil in 2016 and won the mountain jersey in the Giro d'Italia in 2014, she is a beast,” said an understandably delighted Conyers.
On stage one, a hilly 17 kilometre individual time-trial Conyers placed fifth, one minute and 30 seconds behind the winner Moak with a strong display.
“There was a lot of climbing on the course, and afterwards my goal was to work to improve my place in the overall standings,” she added.
It was not long before she had the opportunity to do just that as she lined up later that day for stage two, a night-time criterium event on a tight technical course made even more challenging by the 40-degree temperatures.
Despite not being her favourite discipline, a sixth-place finish kept her position on general classification without any loss of time, and after an eighth place the following day in stage three, a 32-mile circuit race over eight, four-mile laps her ability to stay in contention at the front group of about 20 riders fighting for position gave her confidence ahead of the following days final stage, a 75-mile road race.
Starting in 28-degree temperatures, over a five-lap stage four course including two tough climbs on each lap, race leader Oliveira broke away building over a four-minute lead leaving the rest of the field to contest second place. On the final climb Conyers made a bold move and attacked the rest of the riders opening a gap to take second on the day and move up to third on the final general classification.
“I am extremely happy with my result and am returning to Arizona to train before racing the Joe Martin Stage Race in April which is a UCI event and has a lot of the top professional women racing,” Conyers, who competed at the Pan American Games in Lima, Peru, last summer. “I have a guest ride with Lux Specialized Development Team, which I am excited about. Later in April, I am racing the Redlands Classic in California.”