Laura Van Gilder (C3-Mellow Mushroom) and Dylan McNicholas (Cyclocrossworld.com) picked up big UCI victories on Sunday at the finale of the Bay State Cyclocross Weekend.
The weather in Sterling, Massachusetts, was 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 fairly new creation, only a few years old. Taking advantage of the three levels of fields and their transitions, Tom Stevens created a course that exemplifies the qualities of great cyclocross racing.
Women punch it early
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 were Van Gilder, Sally Annis (Crossresults.com-JRA Cycles) and Andrea Smith, Crystal Anthony and Elle Anderson (all LadiesFirst).
The five worked well together, with Van Gilder either driving the pace or sitting second wheel to keep an eye on the LadiesFirst trio. Anthony spent a good portion of the race on the front, trying for payback after a broken fork on Saturday cost her a chance at the podium. Annis seemed to be in constant trouble, yo-yoing off the back, often sitting three or four bike lengths off the group.
With a lap and a half to race, Smith missed a technical remount and was hung up on a fence for a moment. The pace picked up and Annis rejoined, sitting directly behind Van Gilder.
Anthony launched an attack that Van Gilder covered and countered with a half lap to go. The Mellow Mushroom rider forged a few seconds’ advantage and had time to raise her hands as she crossed the line alone.
Behind, Annis outsprinted Anthony for second. Smith crossed the line fourth after recovering and passing Anderson, who came fifth.
Slow start, fast finish
On a normal weekend McNicholas sets the pace, but a poor start forced him to start chasing early in the men’s race. Jerome Townsend (SmartStop-MOB) took the holeshot and initiated the selection.
After the first lap, the lead group had been whittled down to Townsend, teammate Adam Myerson, McNicholas, Justin Lindine (Bikereg.com-Joe’s Garage) and Canadian mountain biker Raphael Gagne (Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory). JAM Fund-NCC teammates Jeremy Durrin and Alec Donahue led a chase group.
When Donahue attacked the chase, Durrin bridged and continued to the front, while Donahue — having done his part — returned to the chase.
With five laps to go, McNicholas put in a hard attack and quickly picked up a 10-second advantage, catching Lindine out. McNicholas turned the screw, doubling his advantage, and Townsend fell off the pace, leaving Myerson, Gagne, Durrin and Lindine to pursue the lone leader.
McNicholas would not be retrieved. He took his first UCI win of the season after collecting a number of podium finishes.
Meanwhile, behind, with two laps to go, Myerson — sitting third wheel in the group — slid on a muddy step, breaking the group in half and giving Durrin and Gagne the chance to battle for second.
Looking for his first UCI podium, Durrin dragged the Canadian around the course, only allowing Gagne to pull through once it was clear that the chase would not catch them.
A half-lap from the finish Gagne launched an attack that Durrin could not match. He took second, Durrin claimed third and Myerson bested Lindine for fourth.
The Verge New England Cyclo-Cross Series and the Shimano New England Professional Cyclocross Series both conclude next weekend at the NBX Gran Prix of Cross in Warwick, Rhode Island.
- 1. Dylan McNicholas, Cyclocrossworld.com, at 1:00:30
- 2. Raphael Gagné, Rocky Mountain Factory, at 0:06
- 3. Jeremy Durrin, J.a.m. Fund-Ncc, at 0:09
- 4. Adam Myerson, Team Mountain Khakis-Smartstop, at 0:47
- 5. Justin Lindine, Bikereg.com-Joe’s Garage, at 0:50
- 1. Laura Van Gilder, C3-Mellow Mushroom, at 0:37:26
- 2. Sally Annis, Crossresults.com-Jra Cycles, at 0:05
- 3. Crystal Anthony, LadiesFirst Racing, at 0:05
- 4. Andrea Smith, LadiesFirst Racing, at 0:10
- 5. Elle Anderson, LadiesFirst Racing, at 0:14