Perfect weather, a huge turnout and exciting finishes for both the men's and women's final races made for a flawless third day at the eighth annual Tour of Elk Grove cycling event.
Elia Viviani of Italian team Cannondale won the men's pro race individual title in 6:15:00. Runners-up included Canadian Ryan Anderson of Team Optum, who was six seconds behind Viviani, and American John Murphy of the United Healthcare Pro Cycling Team, who trailed Viviani by nine seconds.
Team Optum, which made its second appearance at the Tour of Elk Grove this year, won the team general classification.
Commentator Bob Roll said he was impressed with the way Cannondale chased down a breakaway.
"(Viviani) needed his teammates to do a really hard job, which they were able to do," he said. "Without them he would have never won."
In the women's competition, West Coast-based Team TIBCO took first place in the team general classification.
"I was really impressed with Team TIBCO," Rolls said. "They rode a tactfully brilliant race, They really earned the overall win."
Shelley Olds of Team TIBCO won the women's pro race overall individual title in 3:54:56. Joelle Numainville of Team Optum took second place, three seconds behind Olds, and Alison Powers of NOW and Novartis for MS Cycling Team placed third, trailing Olds by 11 seconds.
Olds' teammate Amanda Miller, who took fourth place, said the competition, which included several Olympians, was "some of the best in the world."
"We all worked really hard to pull of the team GC (general competition), and the individual GC (that Olds won) is huge," she said.
Miller, originally of Iowa, said besides racing against top athletes, she enjoys the Tour of Elk Grove because the crowds are so enthusiastic.
"The neighborhood that it goes though, everybody comes out and celebrates and cheers us on. The atmosphere is really great," she said. "It's definitely one of the better-run events. It's really cool to see that they're supporting women's cycling. Every year it gets better and better."
Hundreds of spectators lounged in the sun along the course sidelines Sunday, snacking on food, enjoying drinks and taking in the speed and excitement of the races.
Jan Paluga of West Chicago said she was impressed not only with the athleticism and teamwork of the racers, but also with the support Elk Grove Village gives to the bikers each year.
"We love what Elk Grove does. There's not a whole lot of professional cycling (events) that we can go to unless we hop in a plane and go somewhere," she said.
Paluga, an avid cyclist, called the event "very visitor-friendly" and said she attends every year.
"We can be up close and personal with the cyclists," she said. "It's a great environment."
Steve Skotzko of Hanover Park brought his 11-year-old niece to see the cyclists in hopes of getting her interested in the sport.
"I'm a bike rider so I come and watch because I appreciate the sport and it's nice to have something local," he said. "For them to maintain those speeds in that pack is pretty impressive."
Having events like the Tour of Elk Grove, Roll said, sustains American cycling.
"The riders succeed here the next step is racing in the biggest races in Europe," he said. "To have events like this is essential for the health and well-being of American cycling."