SAN JOSE -- Evelyn Stevens of Specialized-lululemon took control on the final climb Friday to win the women's individual time trial at the Amgen Tour of California.
She won in 55 minutes 49 seconds in the only women's event at the tour.
Stevens, a former Wall Street financier and 2012 Olympian, got a boost on the final 1.1-mile climb on Metcalf Road. Her sister Angela Stevens of San Anselmo ran alongside her to give her an inspirational push.
Alison Powers of NOW and Novartis was second 56 seconds behind and Kristin McGrath of Energy Twenty16 was third 1:24 back. All three riders live in Colorado.
Canadian Olympic medalist Jasmin Glaesser called the climb "a bit of a mental blow."
But that's exactly where Stevens, a Dartmouth graduate, expected to win it. She and Powers traded the lead during the 19.6-mile route through south San Jose and Morgan Hill.
"I knew to stay steady, steady and stay in the game" on the straightway before the climb," Stevens said. The woman who finished second in the time trial at the 2012 world championships planned to attack the climb.
Powers knew it, too.
"I'm not going to climb as fast as Evie no matter what," she said.
The race had a hold-your-breath moment when Irvine's Amber Neben, a former world time trial champion, experienced a horrific crash into the side of a mountain. It appeared strong winds pushed her too far to the left and she was unable to steady the bike because the heavy disc wheel she used for the time trial.
While the winners praised race organizers for giving them an opportunity to compete alongside some of the world's best men, not everyone left happy.
Robin Farina of North Carolina was one of the most vocal. She and some of the other women felt slighted because riders from an amateur charity ride were on the course with them.
"They were all over the road," Farina said. "They need to give us the full road. It could have been safer."
With so many folks on the course the racers got confused who they were passing.
"All you see in front of you is someone you think you're catching and then it is just" one of the charity riders, Glaesser said.
Stevens seemed less concerned saying, "most of them got out of our way."
The women also said they deserve a three-day stage race instead of having one snapshot moment with the time trial.
"It's a little bit shortsighted how they operate this event," Farina said. "There is no other race like this. This is a race to get us on the map."
Glaesser said the contrast between men and women's racing was noticeable Friday.
Powers, though, wanted to focus on the positive.
"At least we get this," she said. "The Tour of Colorado and Tour of Utah need to start doing that."