Aurelien Passeron, an amateur rider for Garneau Club Chaussures Ogilvy, shocked the men’s field at stage 2 of the 51st annual Fitchburg Longsjo Classic by soloing to victory Saturday. Cath Cheatley (Colavita-Baci) won the women’s race ahead of Verducci Breakaway rider Bron Ryan.
Passeron surpasses expectations
Passeron, from France, won the Wachusett Road Race, a nine-lap, 98-mile course, by 16 seconds. He managed this despite a 26-rider breakaway that led two chase groups by as much as seven minutes. David Veilleux of Kelly Benefit Strategies took second, while Paul Mach of Bissell placed third (18 seconds back).
“I was feeling really good with 2k to go, so I just attacked,” Passeron said through a translator.
Passeron finished third in the Fitchburg State College Circuit Race on Friday. He is now the general classification leader by 21 seconds.
“Last night I was disappointed because I wanted to get first, I felt I had the legs for it,” said Passeron. “Today I just gave it everything I had and I won it.”
The lead group included several riders from almost every major team in the race. Kelly Benefit Strategies had up to four riders involved for several laps, including Scott Zwizanski, Zach Bell, and Veilleux.
“The beginning was pretty quiet, there wasn’t many attacks,” Veilleux said. “People were mostly covering and the legs just got tired for everybody. We started to go, and we had a good group and it was all right for us. We only had two guys … Finally the other group came across and got really packed.”
Stage 1 winner Alejandro Borrajo (Jamis-Sutter Home) sat in prime position within the lead group, sitting second wheel with only a lap remaining after remaining six or seventh wheel in earlier laps. Borrajo eventually finished fifth and is in now in second position for GC.
Mountain Khakis-Jittery Joe’s rider Matt Cooke took home the points jersey after leading the field for six of nine laps.
“This is on a hill and this is what I do best, climbing up hills,” Cooke said. “I’ve got a great strength-to-weight ratio and it’s not that hard for me to go up a hill fast. This is not your typical sprints point spot, typically on a flat road.”
Cooke dangled off the front of the 26-man break heading into the bell lap. The original break group was 14, which he said he was left out of.
“We bridged up to it on this climb,” Cooke said of the Princeton Center points lap hill and finish. “I came across first on this thing, and a couple guys came up to me riding really, really hard and we came up to that breakaway.”
Cheatley beats Ryan, fair and square
Cath Cheatley made it two-for-two won stage 2 more convincingly than stage 1, beating Ryan by 12 seconds in the 6-lap, 64-mile Women’s Pro 1/2 race. Rushlee Buchanan (Colavita) finished third, 25 seconds back.
“We wanted to get as much time as we could going into the time trial,” said Cheatley. “It makes the race more interesting, I think.”
Cheatley now leads the general classification by 33 seconds. Her team controlled the field for much of the race, including sitting five riders up front for a lap or two while Kelly Benjamin ate up every points lap possible. This kept Benjamin in the points jersey.
“I just did what I could in the early sprints,” Benjamin said. “I racked up some points because I knew my teammates were such good climbers, when they put the heat on I’m probably going to go backwards.”
Benjamin fell off the back for the remainder of the race, but teammate Modesta Vzesniauskaite pulled Benjamin on her back wheel. Benjamin only needed to finish to keep her points jersey, and came through 12:21 back.
“I just fought the whole way,” Benjamin said. “It’s a bike race.”
Ryan said a three-woman breakaway with two laps remaining, which included her and Buchanan, was chased down by Cheatley on the final lap.
“We worked to establish the break, then from the climb on the last lap, we dropped the third rider,” Ryan said of Audrey Scott (LadiesFirst). “Cheatley bridged across to us and we just worked together the the whole way. Then up the climb Rushlee attacked and then Cath just rode over the top of me.”
Team Kenda rider Anna McLoon beat out Colavita’s Heather Logan-Sprenger in the field sprint, taking fourth at 1:44 behind Cheatley.
Rachel Warner (BMW-Bianchi) won the first points lap, and LadiesFirst rider Anna Barensfeld led a late race attack for the final points of the day, but Cheatley beat her on the hill sprint.
- A mechanical issue caused the Jamis-Sutter Home team car be removed from the caravan. The SRAM Neutral Services car stepped in to support the team riders.
Up Next: South Street Time Trial
Sunday is the Courtyard by Marriott South Street Time Trial, which previously kicked off the Longsjo Classic, but is now the third day of the historical stage race. The course is 14.3km and takes place in Westminster, Massachusetts.
Men’s Stage 2 Brief Results
- 1. Aurelien Passeron Garneau Club Chaussures Ogilvy in 3:54:23
- 2. David Veilleux Kelly Benefit Strategies at :16
- 3. Paul Mach Bissell in at :18
- 4. Andrew Guptill Jamis-Sutter Home
- 5. Alejandro Borrajo Jamis-Sutter Home
Men’s Stage 1 Brief Results
- 1. Alejandro Borrajo Colavita-Baci in 2:35:15
- 2. Charles Dionne Fly V Australia in :
- 3. Aurelien Passeron Garneau Club Chaussures Ogilv in : at :06
- 4. David Veilleux Kelly Benefit Strategies in : at :10
- 5. Shaun Mccarthy Garneau Club Chaussures Ogilv in : at :13
Men’s General Classification (after stage 2)
- 1. Aurelien Passeron Garneau Club Chaussures Ogilvy in 6:29:35
- 2. Alejandro Borrajo Jamis-Sutter Home at :21
- 3. David Veilleux Kelly Benefit Strategies at :24
- 4. Paul Mach Bissell at :30
- 5. Andrew Guptill Jamis-Sutter Home at :34
Men’s Points Classification
- 1. Matt Cooke Mountain Khakis-Jttery Joe’s 205 points
- 2. Tyler Wren Jamis-Sutter Home 75 points
- 3. Mike Margarite AXA Equitable 50 points
Women’s Stage 2 Brief Results
- 1. Cath Cheatley Colavita-Baci
- 2. Bron Ryan Verducci Breakaway at :12
- 3. Rushlee Buchanan Colavita-Baci at :25
- 4. Anna McLoon Kenda at 1:44
- 5. Heather Logan-Sprenger Colavita-Baci
Womens Stage 1 Brief Results
- 1. Cath Cheatley Colavita-Baci in 1:21:13
- 2. Joanie Caron Nanoblur-Gears at :04
- 3. Erica Allar Kenda at :09
- 4. Amber Rais KUOTA Speed Kueens at :15
- 5. Lex Albrecht Equipe Cascades-ABC Cycles
Women’s General Classification (after stage 2)
- 1. Cath Cheatley Colavita-Baci
Women’s Points Classification (after stage 2)