After coming in second on Saturday, Meredith Miller (CalGiant) replied “Not let Laura come around me in the end” when asked what she would do differently. Though she laughed when she answered, she all business on day 2 of the Great Brewers Gran Prix of Gloucester. With two laps to go, she took a solo flyer to claim her first UCI cross win, smiling in her special pink kit to highlight National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Saturday’s winner Laura Van Gilder (C3 Athletes) won the 2-up sprint for second place ahead of Sally Annis (crossresults.com p/b JRA Cycles).
Sunday brought the traditional Gloucester course with a run up, some power sections broken up with tight, twisty turns in reverse direction from Saturday’s course. It also brought cooler temperatures and wind, including a strong headwind on the final uphill section to the start/finish line.
Fastest off the line on the uphill dash across the start/finish line, Miller took the holeshot and led the field on the first lap before getting a few bike lengths after an early attack. But she was quickly reeled as a front group was created with Van Gilder, Annis, NACT defending champion Natasha Elliott (Garneau Club Chaussure Ogilvy), Wendy Simms, Maureen Bruno-Roy (Bob’s Red Mill p/b Seven Cycles), Arley Kemmerer (C3 Athletes Serving Athletes) and Andrea Smith (LadiesFirst Racing).
Elliott was the next one to put in a sharp attack which was chased back by Simms and Miller with Simms taking the pace making role at the front. But Simms went down twice and that was enough for Miller who took off on a solo flyer. Using her power, Miller quickly built up a gap to a chase group led by Annis. With over 20 seconds at the start of the final lap, Miller concentrated on taking clean lines and had plenty of time to celebrate her first UCI win.
Behind her, under pressure from the pace, the chase group was down to three, Annis, Van Gilder and Bruno-Roy with one to go. Annis did the majority of the work, pushing it, with Van Gilder on her wheel while Bruno-Roy was dropped. The duo made their way across the course for the final time with Annis putting in a small surge to be the first out of the final corner but the headwind on the uphill drag worked to Van Gilder’s advantage who was able to come around and take second.
Successful weekend for both Miller and Van Gilder who each come away with a win and a second place. A good start for Miller who wants to make Team USA for the Cross Worlds this year.
Meredith Miller (California Giant/Specialized). “It’s my first UCI win. I was close to winning the one in Portland but then Katerina [Nash] came around me. It’s pretty exciting, I was hoping to come out and get a win this weekend so I’m happy that I can walk away with a first and a second.”
About her plan. “I didn’t necessarily have a specific plan going into today. When I took the holeshot and everyone was behind me and you could tell they didn’t want to come around me, I was thinking ‘mmm okay, I’m just going to have to see how it plays out’. And then Natasha put in a nice attack and Wendy and I followed her and eventually came around and I was on Wendy’s wheel. She slid out on a turn and I figured that was a good opportunity to try to go again and that’s eventually where I was able to get away.”
Were you surprised that there was not a closer chase? “Yeah I don’t know if when Wendy went down, if I was able to get around her and it slowed everybody else up and that’s how the gap opened up. I don’t know, it’s hard to see what happened exactly behind me but I was definitely surprised that I was able to do that.”
About the course. “A little bit more power today. There’s still some technical stuff, a little more open and more into the wind today too which played into my strengths. There were definitely some sections with headwind and I suppose that plays into my advantage, I’m one of the bigger riders out here that can power through it.”
Laura Van Gilder (C3 Athletes Serving Athletes). “I felt in my legs today during the warmup that the course felt different, harder in spots and I knew that was one of Meredith’s strengths. I was definitely going to key off her. Wendy came to the front and I was content to be where I was but unfortunately she went down and created a gap. Meredith capitalized on that. Meredith just hit kind of over the pit, an area that’s certainly suited her. I was like ‘oh man maybe we can just reel her back in on the technical sections as a group’, it wasn’t as smooth there. She just built on her lead, that’s what she’s good at.”
About the chase group. “Sally did the bulk of the work, I did a pull. At that point I felt that ‘Sally’s really been coming on and I didn’t feel that we could bring Meredith back. Certainly if she made a mistake or things like that happen but I think we weren’t really putting in a dent at that point and I felt that I needed to ride for second or third. Anything could have happened to me, I could have lost a podium spot.”
About the final 2-up sprint against Sally Annis. “She had a little gap coming into the corner, she had built it exiting the diamond, she had a little gap but I felt with the wind, if I could sling-shot off of her. But you know it doesn’t always work out like that but it did today.”
Top 10 Results (Complete Results)
1. Meredith Miller (California Giant/Specialized) 0:39:43
2. Laura Van Gilder (C3 Athletes Serving Athletes) 0:39:58
3. Sally Annis (crossresults.com p/b JRA Cycles) 0:39:59
4. Natasha Elliott (Garneau Club Chaussure Ogilvy) 0:40:09
5. Maureen Bruno-Roy (Bob’s Red Mill p/b Seven Cycles) 0:40:17
6. Wendy Simms 0:40:23
7. Arley Kemmerer (C3 Athletes Serving Athletes) 0:40:27
8. Andrea Smith (LadiesFirst Racing) 0:40:32
9. Sara Bresnick-Zocchi (crossresults.com/Pedalpowercoaching.com) 0:40:59
10. Kerry Barnholt (Scott Ritchey) 0:41:11