The UCI racing season in New England kicked off today at the Green Mountain Cyclocross Weekend in Williston, Vermont. The calendar is packed this season and the first victories were taken by local hero Amy Dombroski (Crankbrothers Race Club) and visiting Frenchman Nicolas Bazin (Team Big-Mat Auber 93).
The sun was bright at the Catamount Family Center and temperatures were well into the 70s by the time the elite races were underway. As the name of the weekend implies, the course was focused around several sustained climbs as well as a set of stairs and a pair of uphill barriers. Long straight-aways as well as a fast descent meant for lots of opportunity for larger groups to form.
Dombroski, coming off a second place at Cross Vegas and in one of her three domestic race appearances before kicking off on a long European campaign, headlined the Elite Women’s race. Lining up alongside the local favorite were Andrea Smith (Ladies First Racing), herself coming off an eleventh place in Las Vegas and her teammate, Saturday’s winner, Crystal Anthony. Runner-up from Saturday, Sally Annis (crossresults.com p/b JRA Cycles), came back looking for a step up. Sara Bresnick (Embrocation Cycling Journal) looked to pick up some early season UCI points as well.
From the gun, it was clear that, despite the late return from Las Vegas, Dombroski and Smith were the class of the race. Dombroski took the holeshot and stretched a gap from the very beginning. Behind her there was a concerted chase put on by Smith, Annis, Bresnick and Anthony, along with Rebecca Wellons (Quad Cycles). Smith took the reigns of the group and quickly snapped the elastic, fighting to reach Dombroski. Smith’s tactic had her well-placed should Dombroski make any mistakes, but no such mistakes came and she rode a smooth, fast and clean race, taking a victory in front of her father and home crowd. “It feels good to come home and to win here,“ said an exhausted Dombroski. Behind her, Smith’s second-place was never in any real jeopardy as Annis sat half a minute behind her. Coming across the line, Smith pumped her fist, obviously pleased with her result. Annis held off a chasing Bresnick for third and a great start to her season with two podiums against stiff competition.
The first New England UCI race brought some of the big local names out of the woodwork. Freshly minted Rapha/Focus racer Jeremy Powers came up after a couple late nights in Las Vegas. Local product and former teammate of Powers, Jamey Driscoll (Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld.com) came with hopes of taking victory on his home turf. New England workingman’s favorite Justin Lindine (bikereg.com/Joe’s Garage) had hopes of doubling-up on his weekend while New Hampshire native Ted King (Liquigas/Cannondale/iamtedking.com) decided to reacquaint himself with the dirt in the wake of a successful road season. The wild cards for the field were the European contingent. Joachim Parbo (Challenge Tires) of Denmark came back east from Las Vegas for today’s racing while Frenchman Bazin arrived for his American campaign on Wednesday and kicked off today in Vermont.
The race got underway with Powers taking the holeshot and leading the field through most of the first lap. Even in the opening couple of minutes, it was clear that Powers, Driscoll and Bazin had form that was a cut above the rest. The surprise was that, from the chase group behind emerged Lindine, who, following an early mechanical, bridged to the leaders as the gap to the rest of the field grew. While the four duked it out at the front, Parbo, King, Johs Huseby (Cyclocrossworld), Josh Dillon (RGM Watches/Richard Sachs), Luke Keough (Champion System p/b Keough Cyclocross) and Adam Myerson (SmartStop/MOB Cyclocross) fought for the remaining UCI points on offer.
At the front, Driscoll made an attack typical of his style. A hard attack with four laps remaining that netted an advantage of fifteen seconds. For two laps, his companions let the leash loose, but Powers drove hard to bring it in, knowing that Driscoll’s only chance at victory would be through a solo move. Powers dragged the other leaders back to Driscoll’s wheel only to have Bazin launch an attack of his own through the finishing straight with two laps remaining. Bazin, who sports an impressive palmares and has represented France at the World Championships in the past, made his move count and maintained an advantage for the final lap and came across for the win in his first race on American soil.Behind, Powers bested Driscoll and Lindine for second with Driscoll rounding out the podium and Lindine fourth.
In the second group on the course, King took full advantage of the long power sections on the course and in his words “lost ten seconds going into each corner but picked up fifteen coming out of each.” His surging style broke the group and King rode away for fifth. Keough, Parbo, Dillon and Huseby rounded out the group as Myerson was forced to abandon following an unfortunate late-race crash.
The next week in New England will be a big one, with the Nor’Easter ‘Cross powered by Eastern Mountain Sports coming up next Saturday in Burlington, Vermont. The festivities coming into the weekend include the Catamount Wednesday night training race, again at the Catamount Family Center in Williston. Thursday night, there will be a VIP reception in Burlington. Friday afternoon, there will be a ride with the pros event that will give racers the chance to see the course through the eyes of the top elites. Finally, in the style of the Cycle-Smart International Pick-Up Parties of the last few years, there will be a packet pick-up event in Burlington on Friday night where racers will be able meet and mingle with the Pros. The race is part of the Nor’Easter Festival powered by Eastern Mountain Sports and is a celebration of music, sport and environmental stewardship. Stay tuned for details of this week’s events.
Top 10 Elite Men
1. Nicolas Bazin (Team Big-Mat Auber 93) 59:03
2. Jeremy Powers (Rapha/Focus) 00:13
3. James Driscoll (Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld.com) 00:13
4. Justin Lindine (BikeReg.com / Joe’s Garage) 00:13
5. Ted King (Liquigas-Cannondale / iamtedking.com) 03:37
6. Luke Keough (Champion System p/b Keough Cyclocross) 03:37
7. Joachim Parbo (Challenge Tires) 03:37
8. Josh Dillon (RGM WATCHES – RICHARD SACHS) 03:37
9. Johannes Huseby (Cyclocrossworld) 03:37
10. Alec Donahue (Joe’s Garage) 04:25
Top 10 Elite Women
1. Amy Dombroski (Crankbrothers Race Club) 44:30
2. Andrea Smith (LadiesFirst Racing) 00:24
3. Sally Annis (crossresults.com p/b JRA cycles) 00:56
4. Sara Bresnick-Zocchi (Embrocationcycling.com) 01:11
5. Crystal Anthony (LadiesFirst Racing) 01:27
6. Rebecca Wellons (Quad Cycles) 01:37
7. Sheila Vibert (Sunapee Racing Team) 02:11
8. Anna Barensfeld (Sterling CX p/b Sendmail) 02:31
9. Catherine Sterling (Bikeman.com) 03:07
10. Elle Anderson (LadiesFirst Racing) 03:11