Laura Van Gilder (C3 p/b Mellow Mushroom) and Dylan McNicholas (cyclocrossworld.com) picked up big UCI victories today in Sterling, Massachusetts at the finale of the Bay State Cyclocross Weekend. The weather was a bit more seasonally appropriate, with a coating of frost giving the early races fits, as the day went on, the frost cleared leaving a tricky, slick coating on the long off-cambered sections. This classic New England race has been a fixture for many years, but the Sunday course is a new creation, only a few years old. Taking advantage of the three levels of fields and their transitions, Tom Stevens creates a course that exemplifies the qualities of great cyclocross racing.
The women’s race started with an extremely fast pace, headed immediately by Van Gilder. Knowing that the first few course features would be decisive, she took to the front and led the field up the first set of stairs. Thanks to a pileup on the off-camber, the selection came very early in the day. At the front, the group was Van Gilder, Sally Annis (crossresults.com p/b JRA Cycles) and the trio from LadiesFirst, Andrea Smith, Crystal Anthony and Elle Anderson.
The group of five worked well together, with Van Gilder either driving the pace or sitting second wheel, to ensure that she was not taken by any team action from the LadiesFirst racers. Anthony spent a good portion of the race on the front, trying for payback from Saturday’s intense disappointment where a broken fork cost her a chance at the podium. At the back of the group, it seemed like Annis was in constant trouble, yo-yoing off the back, often sitting three or four bike lengths off the end.
The decision came in two parts, first, Smith missed a technical remount with a lap and a half left and was hung up on a fence for a moment, at which point, the pace picked up and Annis rejoined – sitting directly behind Van Gilder. Anthony launched an attack that was quickly covered and countered by Van Gilder, with a half lap to go. Van Gilder put together a few seconds advantage and was able to raise her hands alone in victory. Behind, Annis outsprinted Anthony for second. Smith crossed the line fourth after recovering and passing Anderson, who came fifth.
On a normal weekend, McNicholas sets the pace, but a poor start forced him to start chasing early. Jerome Townsend (SmartStop/MOB p/b Ridley) took the holeshot and initiated the selection. After the first lap, the group had been whittled down to Townsend, his teammate Adam Myerson, McNicholas, Justin Lindine (bikereg.com/Joe’s Garage) and Canadian mountain biker Raphael Gagne (Rocky Mountain Factory) with a chasing group led by JAM Fund/NCC teammates Jeremy Durrin and Alec Donahue.
From the chase, Donahue attacked the chase to which Durrin bridged and continued to the front, while Donahue, having done his part, returned to the group.
With five laps to go, McNicholas put in a hard attack and very quickly picked up a ten second advantage, catching Lindine out and drove the pace solo at the front. While McNicholas turned the screws, eventually building a gap nearing twenty seconds, Townsend fell off the chase, leaving a group of Myerson, Gagne, Durrin and Lindine. Lindine was often setting the pace, but being surrounded by quality sprinters, he knew not to do too much of the work. The group clearly had strong legs, but McNicholas took advantage of being able to dictate his rhythm and powered away to his second win of the weekend. The victory was McNicholas’s first UCI win of the season, in the wake of numerous podiums.
With two laps to go, Myerson was third wheel in the group and slid on a muddy step, breaking the group in half, giving Durrin and Gagne the opportunity to battle for second. As Myerson assorted himself with Lindine behind, Durrin took to the front and stretched the gap to fourth. The NCC racer, looking for his first-ever UCI podium, dragged the Canadian around the course only allowing Gagne to pull through once it was clear that the chase would not catch them. From that point, Gagne maintained position until a serious attack with half a lap to go that Durrin could not match. Gagne pulled in second, clearly pleased with his position. Durrin’s third-place is a great result heading into his European campaign which begins next weekend in Igorre, Spain. The battle for fourth was won by Myerson, who bested Lindine.
The Verge New England Cyclo-Cross Series and the Shimano New England Professional Cyclocross Series both culminate next weekend at the NBX Gran Prix of Cross in Warwick, Rhode Island. Race registration can be found on bikereg.com and the races can be followed on Twitter by following @NEProCX. The weekend’s hashtag will be #NBX.
Top 10 Women
1. Laura Van Gilder (C3 pb Mellow Mushroom)
2. sally annis (crossresults.com p/b JRA cycles)
3. Crystal Anthony (LadiesFirst Racing)
4. Andrea Smith (LadiesFirst Racing)
5. Elle Anderson (LadiesFirst Racing)
6. Rebecca Wellons (Quad Cycles)
7. Carolyn Popovic (Team CF)
8. catherine sterling (Bikeman.com)
9. BrittLee Bowman (crossresults.com p/b JRA Cycles)
10. Jena Greaser (NorEast Cycling)
Top 10 Men
1. Dylan Mcnicholas (cyclocrossworld.com)
2. Raphael Gagné (Rocky Mountain Factory)
3. Jeremy Durrin (J.A.M. Fund / NCC)
4. Adam Myerson (Team Mountain Khakis presented by SmartStop)
5. Justin Lindine (BikeReg.com / Joe’s Garage)
6. Jerome Townsend (SmartStop / MockOrangeBikes pb Ridley)
7. Shawn Milne (Essex County Velo – Driven by Mazda)
8. Alec Donahue (J.A.M. Fund / NCC)
9. Joseph Welsh (RALEIGH ALL STARS)
10. Dan Chabanov (RGM WATCHES – RICHARD SACHS)