ROCHESTER, New York (VN) — Nicholas Bazin (BigMat-Auber) and Helen Wyman (Kona) won Saturday’s kickoff to the Ellison Park Cyclocross weekend in Rochester.
The Ellison Park course is not for the faint-hearted. It serves up woods and roots, hiking trails, run-ups, pavement, twists and turns and a winding climb along a large meadow. Add several waves of hard rain on the morning of race day and a technical, difficult course becomes even more so.
Wyman wasted no time stamping her authority on the race, taking the hole shot and racing through the finish for the first time with a 32-second lead over Arley Kemmerer (C3-Athletes Serving Athletes), Patricia Buerkle (USA) and Gabriella Day (GBR).
From that point forward it was a race for second as Wyman steadily grew her lead with textbook technique and a powerful ride up the meadow climb. Kemmerer held tough for the better part of two laps and then began to slide back as Day drove forward, trying to reel back Wyman.
The seven-time British national champion would have none of it, though, and drove even harder, finishing with a comfortable margin over Day, who held off the charging Buerkle for third.
Course conditions improved as the sun reappeared and the men made the most of the speedier course.
Jonathan Page (Blue) fired the first warning shot, finishing the first lap with a two-second advantage over Bazin and Troy Wells, who in turn led Dan Timmerman and Justin Lindine by three seconds.
But Bazin came to race and would not surrender without a fight. By lap two, Page held his gap with Wells and Bazin sticking close as they distanced Lindine, but soon Bazin clawed his way alone up to the leader.
Page seemed content to have company and the two quickly began to distance the others, who soon would be sorting out third place. Bazin wasn’t satisfied with just catching Page, though, and made a searing attack on the long grind up the meadow climb.
Bazin bobbled in a switchback, but then Page made his own mistake, overcooking the 180-degree corner before the finish, hitting the deck and losing precious seconds.
With one lap to go Bazin had a 22-second advantage, and Page seemed to dial his effort back a notch, thinking of Sunday’s race, to be run on the same course but in the opposite direction.
Behind, Lindine overhauled Wells and Craig Richey to take third place.