11-Time US National Champion Samantha Schneider Takes Women’s UBC Grand Prix p/b Mahony & Sons

Sisters Samantha and Skylar Schneider train together, push each other, compete against each other, and work for each other on the ISCorp p/b Smart Choice MRI team – and both made an appearance on the podium at the 2015 UBC Grand Prix p/b Mahony & Sons.

24-year-old Samantha sprinted ahead of Ale-Cipollini’s Shelley Olds, who posted a top-3 finish at BC Superweek for the fourth straight night. Olds, riding BC Superweek without any teammates, was third in Friday’s MK Delta Lands Criterium, second in Saturday’s Brenco Criterium, and won the White Spot | Delta Road Race on Sunday.

The race saw a number of riders breakaway, but the peloton brought them back each and every time – and the new course for the UBC Grand Prix played a big role in that happening.

“After the climb, it’s a bit of a headwind and a downhill, so it’s a little harder in the break to ride, especially after the climb (at the start/finish line),” explained Olds. “Somebody attacks and then you have to close it, and then attack… it’s not easy to ride after the top of the climb, so I think it wasn’t ideal for the breakaway today.”

The elder Schneider wasn’t exceptionally prominent during the 25-lap, 40 kilometre race, but made it count on the final sprint.

“We just got in on Sunday, we came in from Boise, Idaho, and we did an US National Criterium Calendar crit there, so (we were) just testing out the legs today. We didn’t know how it would feel in the sprint with this course… it was a really fun course,” Schneider, who is an 11-time US National Champion, said. “I was here last year at UBC and it’s a little bit different than last year, but very good crowd, very fun race and I’m really happy to be able to get the win today.”

16-year-old Skylar, a 7-time US National Champion in her own right, took her sister’s lead in the final lap.

“It was a really hectic last lap, I was on my sister’s wheel and she ended up winning. I had a lot of faith in her and followed her lines through the field. Once it came down to about 100 metres out, it was pretty clear who was going to get it,” she said.

On the final sprint to the finish line, the Schneider sisters, who finished 1-2 in the East Tosa Gran Prix series last month, were able to push Olds.

“Shelley is a world-class sprinter, so I stayed behind her up until a couple hundred metres to go and was able to come around her,” Samantha said. “Shelley’s incredibly fast and deserves congrats on the second place finish.”

Much like she did in Saturday’s Brenco Criterium in the Tour de Delta, Olds was dominant in claiming primes, maybe almost too much so as it looked like she left a little out on the road in the last lap and didn’t have the reserves to push to be first to the finish line – but it didn’t bother the 34-year-old from Gilroy, California.

“I think I just get excited and go for everything. For me, this is all training and it’s really good sprint training, every sprint is different in the primes, so I’m just training my mind and my body how to sprint right now… that’s why I’m going for all the primes,” said a smiling Olds after the race.

BC Superweek is Canada’s biggest professional road cycling series and features more than $120,000 in prize money available during eight races over nine days. BC Superweek runs from July 10 – 18, and is made up of the Tour de Delta (July 10, 11, 12), UBC Grand Prix p/b Mahony & Sons (July 14), Global Relay Gastown Grand Prix (July 15), Giro di Burnaby p/b Appia Development (July 16) and Beverley by Cressey presents Tour de White Rock (July 17, 18).