It’s amazing what a fresh pair of legs can do. On the ninth day of racing at the Tour of America’s Dairyland presented by the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board, Jen Purcell (Team Hotel San Jose-Gary Fisher) blew the field apart with a solo breakaway just a few laps into the hourlong Fond du Lac Bicycling Gran Prix.
Hours later, Aurelion Passeron (Garneau) edged Adam Bergman (Texas Roadhouse) for the win in the men’s race.
Purcell, who was making her debut in the series, stayed away solo for the first 20 minutes of the race before being joined by Kristin Wentworth (Team Kenda), Julie Jerue (Nova ISCorp) and Kristina Seeley (Touchstone Climbing), who bridged up together.
Just as the four leaders were settling into a rhythm after opening a gap of nearly 40 seconds, Purcell again exploded out of the group, dropping her three new breakaway companions and leaving them dangling between her and the field.
The break came back together in the last laps, but Purcell once again asserted her dominance, sprinting away from the group along Main Street in downtown Fond du Lac. Jerue took second with Wentworth third.
Sydney Brown (Treads.com-DFT) escaped the field halfway through the race and soloed to fifth place, fighting off a hard-charging field nearly every lap while desperately fighting to bridge to the lead group.
A second race — this one for the leader’s jersey — unfolded in the field after it became clear that the break was safely away.
Race leader Sarah Caravella (Team Card) marked Carrie Cash-Wootten (Team Vera Bradley Foundation) early in the race. At seven to go, Cash-Wootten exploded off the front, registering the fastest speed of the day at 35 mph, but she was retrieved just a few laps later.
However, Cash-Wootten was able to recover during the final five laps and sprinted out of the field to take sixth place, bringing her closer to regaining the leader’s jersey. Caravella finished ninth, enough to keep her in the yellow for another day, just eight points ahead of Cash-Wootten.
And then there were two
Aurelion Passeron (Garneau) pipped Adam Bergman (Texas Roadhouse) for the win in the men’s race after the two outlasted a chase by race leader James Stemper’s Kenda-Geargrinder team.
Passeron and Bergman clung together, lap after lap, and the field’s organization started to crumble with seven to go as Kenda-Geargrinder moved riders to the front, taking over from Rubicon Orbea.
With six laps remaining Logan Garey (Team Rio Grande) briefly shot off the front to claim a $200 crowd prime, then slid to the back of the field. Four laps later Rob Bush (Kenda-Geargrinder) jumped out of the field, head down, putting forth a huge effort, but he just couldn’t make it stick.
Thus the race boiled down to a two-up sprint, with Passeron beating Bergman by less than a wheel width. Andrew Gonzales (FCS-Metro Volkwagen) took third.
Stemper finished fifth and retained the yellow jersey with teammate Chad Hartley holding onto second overall and Rudy Napolitano (Team Helen’s) third.
The Tour of America’s Dairyland continues Saturday at the ISCorp Downer Classic on Milwaukee’s east side before wrapping up Sunday at the Carl Zach Cycling Classic in Waukesha.
- 1. Aurelion Passeron, Garneau
- 2. Adam Bergman, Texas Roadhouse
- 3. Andrew Gonzales, FCS-Metro Volkswagen
- 4. Cole House, BMC Racing Team-USAC
- 5. Chad Hartley, Kenda Pro Cycling-Geargrinder
- 6. Mike Sherer, Verizon U25 p/b Abd
- 7. Mike Northey, Rubicon Orbea
- 8. James Stemper, Kenda Pro Cycling-Geargrinder
- 9. James Langedale, Garneau
- 10. James Williamson, Bike Religion