Let’s start with the Queen of them all, Paris-Roubaix (I did say it was my favorite race). After finding out that they had received the wildcard invitation about one month ago, the BMC team was hit by bad luck but three riders, Alexandre Moos, Brent Bookwalter and Ian McKissick, did manage to finish their laps around the velodrome. Note that McKissick is listed as time cut but he did finish the race.
“Paris-Roubaix is always a difficult race, but I am really, really proud of how our team did,” Directeur Sportif John Lelangue reported in a team release. “It is such a challenging race not only for the racers but also for the staff that I am enormously impressed with how well our entire team worked throughout the day!”
Pave secteur 20, after 141 km of racing, was bad luck for the team as it took out three riders. First, Tony Cruz had a mechanical and continued with Jackson Stewart‘s bike, then Martin Kohler double-flatted and finally Cruz jumped on Jeff Louder‘s bike which was closer to his size. Unfortunately for Cruz, he suffered another mechanical later on which took him out of the race. Danilo Wyss crashed in the first secteur and sprained a finger, he tried to continue but he found out impossible and had to pull out. Moos entered the Carrefour de l’Arbre with the main peloton but was taken down – hard – by a spectator’s flag pole in his front wheel. He lost about 8 to 9 minutes recovering and waiting for a new bike and finished the last 17 kilometers on his own with a cut on the head and a bloodied knee and elbow.
“First impression was that it was just such a crazy race,” first-time finisher Bookwalter said. “We all came in expecting it to be crazy, but the magnitude of the crowd and the nervous energy of the field really turn this into another animal.”
The BMC team will race GP Escault in Belgium this Wednesday and Stewart flies back to race in the Tour of the Battenkill dubbed America’s Queen of the Classics on April 18-19.
The US National Team also had a full schedule in Belgium. The Junior 17-18 men raced in the Ster Zuid van Limberg on April 10-13 where Adam Leibovitz won the prologue, clocking a winning time of 6 minutes, 21 seconds over the five-kilometer course. In the end, Jacob Rathe finished 11th overall making him the highest finisher for the team.
The Women’s National team had a full schedule too, splitting up in two squads to do 5 races over Easter weekend. In the Coupe de France Pujols, Devon Haskell finished 4th and Alison Starnes survived her first European race to finish 14th overall and wrote a great report on the race.
Back to North America now. Still no NRC races this weekend, so many of the pros race “local races” to keep up the form. Team Type 1’s Joe Eldridge got his first win on the road at the Ride To Live Road Race in Alabama. Chris Wherry got his first win of the season at the Squawker Road Classic in Durango, Colorado. Up in Canada, Team Planet Energy got the first two spots on the podium with Andrew Randell taking the win at the Good Friday road race. Derick St-John was third.
Closer to home, Bissell put two on the podium at the 29th annual Copperopolis, the ‘Northern California Paris-Roubaix. After being out in breaks for 4 of the 5 laps, Ben Jacques-Maynes took the win from the final 2-man beak ahead of Scott Nydam (BMC) while Andy Jacques-Maynes attacked the chase group to take third spot. Rachel Heal (Colavita/Sutter Home) won the women’s race outsprinting her breakmates Olivia Dillon (Touchstone) and Marina Koshevaya (Third Pillar) for the win.