Over 500 entries descended on the grounds surrounding the famous Trexlertown Velodrome at the Valley Preferred Cycling Center on September 11 for the Nittany Lion ‘Cross, the opening race for both the Champions System MAC Series and the worldwide UCI Cyclocross Calendar.
In a rare experimental format switch, the UCI Women and Men were moved up on the program, ahead of the 70-rider Elite Masters nightcap. In the UCI Women’s race, two competitors who represent the past three MAC season championships, rode away from the field of nearly 30 women from the start. Laura Van Gilder (C3-Athletes Serving Athletes) and Mo Bruno-Roy (Bob’s Red Mill presented by Seven Cycles) rode together for most of the race, most often with Van Gilder taking the pacing position. Rather than relying on her powerful sprint, Van Gilder rode Bruno-Roy off her wheel with about half a lap remaining to finish solo, nine seconds ahead of Bruno-Roy. As with all UCI races in the Champion System MAC this year, the top three women were paid equal to the top three men. Philadelphia’s Kristin Gavin (Team CF), who continues to develop into one of the nation’s top riders, finished third to pull down the last of the increased paychecks.
The Men’s race had drama before the course was even set-up when Jeremy Powers emailed the organizers to tell them that he had to withdraw as the result of a broken finger suffered on his road bike. Without medical clearance to race, one of the most dominant riders in North America was out, and the race suddenly became wide-open on a course that was hard and fast as a result of the hot, dry summer. Luke Keough (Champion Systems), who finished third here last year, was a late addition to the field, but had to start in the back row because the start order had already been submitted. It didn’t matter, though, because by the end of the first lap Keough was off the front of the front of the bike race in a lead group that also contained Switzerland’s defending MAC champion Valentin Schertz (Cyfac-Champion System), veteran ‘cross promoter and road sprinter Adam Myerson (Team CycleSmart) and hard-luck rider of the day Ryan Knapp (BikeReg.com).
Knapp, the 2008 Zipp OVCX presented by Papa John’s season champion, made the ten-and-a-half hour drive to get some early season UCI point. He did, but he had to do it the hard way as various observers counted either three or four mechanicals that caused Knapp to drop off the lead group. The Indiana strong man was able to rejoin the lead group following each incident and eventually finished fifth overall, just two seconds out of first place.
The next races on the Champion System MAC Series are this weekend, September 18 and 19 in Baltimore for the two-day UCI Charm City Cyclocross. That will be followed on September 26 by MAC’s first non-UCI race of the year at the WhirlyBird ‘Cross at Pennsylvania’s Bryn Athyn College, which will feature fully equal prize lists for the Elite Men and Women.
Top 10 Elite Women Results (Complete Results)
1. Laura Van Gilder (C3 — Athletes Serving Athletes)
2. Maureen Bruno Roy (Bob’S Red Mill P/B Seven Cycles)
3. Kristin Gavin (Team Cf)
4. Arley Kemmerer (C3 – Athletes Serving Athletes)
5. Rebecca Blatt (Silver Bull/Central Wheel)
6. Carolyn Popovic (Pavalleys.Com)
7. Erica Yozell (Pavalleys.Com)
8. Katrina Dowidchuk (Team Tbb/Deep Blue)
9. Nikki Thiemann (Team Cf)
10. Julie Kuliecza (Alan North America Cycling)
Top 10 Elite Men Results (Complete Results)
1. Luke Keough (Champion Systems)
2. Adam Myerson (Team: Cycle-Smart)
3. Valentin Scherz (Cyfac-Champion System Racing Team)
4. Alec Donahue (Northampton Cc)
5. Ryan Knapp (Bikereg.Com)
6. Weston Schempf (C3-Athletes Serving Athletes)
7. Andrew Wulfkuhle (C3-Athletes Serving Athletes)
8. Peter Bradshaw (Embrocation Cycling Journal)
9. Guillaume Nelessen (Van Dessel Factory Team)
10. Ryan Dewald (Haymarket / Seavs)
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