At approximately the halfway mark at today's Stage 1 race of the Exergy Tour, American Elizabeth Newell was leading the pack—but the hardest part of the course is ahead of her and the more than 100 other women who want to grab her lead.
The 103 cyclists have spent the better part of this morning, racing—at approximately 25 mph—through Canyon County's farmlands and vineyards. But now they're approaching Pump Road and slowing down—to approximately 9 mph—for the 1-mile-long climb to the so-called "Queen of the Mountain" plateau. The climb is clearly taking a toll on the young legs, but the best of the race is still ahead as the cyclists are expected to come back to Downtown Nampa's finish line at approximately 2:30 p.m.
The irony can't be lost on any of the racers that the one cyclist who knows the course best, Idaho's Kristin Armstrong, is unable to compete. Following last night's crash during the Prologue stage when she broke her left clavicle, Armstrong was scheduled for surgery this morning at St. Luke's Hospital in Boise.