Day two of the 2013 Gateway Cross Cup moved out from under the lights of Saturday’s race and in to the golden sunlight of a picturesque Midwest Sunday afternoon. A revision to the course delivered a more technical circuit, but one that was still lightning fast for the elite women and men that tackled the second day of racing in the Gateway City.
Both races followed a similar script to the preceding evening, but with differing overtones for each race.
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The women’s race was a story of redemption for Elle Anderson (California Giant Berry Farms/Specialized) after the disappointment of an ill-timed flat that cost her a shot at the win the previous night. Just like Saturday night, Anderson attacked on the second lap to break up the field and brought Saturday’s winner Amanda Miller (TIBCO/To The Top) and third place Courteney McFadden (Cycling Northwest) along in the break. Notably absent was Nicole Duke (Marin/SPY), who seemed to suffer from poor positioning off the line and was stuck mid pack when the decisive move went. Duke put her head down and plowed through the field, eventually working her way into a two-rider chase with Canadian champion Mical Dyck (Stan’s NoTubes). Although the two riders worked well together, they were no match for the leading trio, who maintained their advantage into the bell lap.
With half a lap remaining, Miller tried to shake Anderson with an attack. However, the stinging defeat of the previous evening spurred Anderson back onto Miller’s wheel and she hit the pavement in first position and held it to the line. The late aggression dispatched McFadden, but she was still able to hold onto the final podium spot in third. Behind the leading trio, Dyck outsprinted Duke for fourth to round out the top five.
The men’s race began much as it had on Saturday with the whole pack strung out around the course. The furious pace eventually started to pry gaps between big groups of riders, but it wasn’t until Ben Berden (Raleigh-Clement) jumped clear halfway through the event that any separation occurred. As Berden carved out more and more time with each passing lap, Zach McDonald (Rapha-Focus) took off on a solo pursuit of the Belgian.
Riding alone and clear of a large chase group, McDonald took advantage of a gap in the course tape next to one of the barriers and rode around the first barrier before hopping the second. UCI officials initially looked at this as a violation of the rules and told McDonald that he was disqualified before making him stop and run the barriers twice as a punishment, effectively ending any serious effort to catch Berden.
With no more motivation other than maintaining second place, McDonald did as little as possible to hold the second step of the podium and Berden stormed to another win on the weekend. Behind the chaos, Cody Kaiser (California Giant Berry Farms/Specialized) took the sprint for third out of a large group to complete the podium.
After the race, McDonald had a long conversation with UCI officials, making his point that a gap in the course is fair game for riders. Officials took the stance that any barrier in the course must be treated as such because it is the intent that they serve as on obstacle. Ultimately, McDonald kept his second place, but in the future, course inspectors will definitely look that much harder for potential gray areas and riders will be on alert about a stricter enforcement of the rules.
Despite some back and forth at the finish, the third year of the Gateway Cross Cup closed on a high with solid racing across both days at an event that continues to mature each year, despite its young age.
Complete results at usacycling.org