Boulder, CO (VN) — An act of collusion at a local race in Boulder, Colorado, has led to the disqualification of Danny Summerhill (Garmin-First Solar) and Russell Stevenson (Boulder Cycle Sport) from the race results after the two agreed to the order of the finish in exchange for prize money and points in the statewide, season-long Colorado Cross Cup points series.
At the December 1 Cyclo-X Race, the final few turns made for a confusing finish, as first Summerhill, then Stevenson, went behind the Louisville Recreation Center, where the final 100 meters of the course looped around the backside of the building and through a sand pit.
To the surprise of those in attendance, Stevenson came out from behind the building first. Then Summerhill appeared from behind the building and could be seen looking down at his bike as if to indicate he had suffered a mechanical issue.
The agreement between the two racers was made public in the days after the event on social media, as well as the local cycling website 303cycling.com.
In light of the evidence, Chris McGee, executive director of the Bicycle Racing Association of Colorado (BRAC), issued a statement in accordance with the rules violation.
Russell Stevenson admitted to this behavior in a communication posted to the 303Cycling website on 12-5-12. As the actions of these athletes affect the integrity of honest sport and the Colorado Cross Cup, it was my recommendation as Executive Director that both athletes be disqualified from the event in question. Mike McGuinn, as Chief Referee of the event, has disqualified both athletes. This action was taken with the support of Shawn Farrell, Technical Director of USA Cycling. No further disciplinary action is required at this time.
I have communicated with both athletes the disciplinary action and consequences. Both Russell and Danny accept this disciplinary action. Both riders forfeit their event result, Colorado Cross Cup points (if applicable), and prize winnings. Both the race results and the Cup competitions points have been adjusted accordingly. It is the responsibility of Russell and Danny to return prize winnings to the Event Director (Without Limits Racing) within two work days. It is the responsibility of the correct finishers to collect race winnings from the Event Director. These funds may not be available until three work days from today.
In his admission on the 303cycling website, Stevenson made it clear that it was a mistake to have made the rash decision to ask Summerhill to forfeit the win in exchange for money.
Yes I asked Danny to give me the points in exchange for the prize money. It was a last-minute, spur of the moment choice I made, one that I regretted almost immediately. Danny and I had no predetermined agenda. It was foolish, disrespectful, and insulting not only to my fellow racers but to the race organizer and fans. It regret it and I have been apologizing to everyone involved since that afternoon. So I would like to apologize to everyone here as well. I’m sorry. That was a silly act…
I did it to gain a points advantage over Spencer Powlison whom I was only a handful of points ahead of in the overall CO cup. He and I have been thrashing each other all year and I saw an opportunity to gain not one but 2 places over him (I had already secured 2nd on the day). The moment I made the call out to Danny I almost immediately tried to reverse it and told him “no, keep going” but he had already dismounted and the charade was on. I had only a few seconds to decide to pass him or to pull over. Danny was already in sight of the finish and he too really didn’t know what to do. As I crossed the line I was embarrassed to say the least that we had F’d up. We tried to cover it up afterwards but people knew and I knew that continuing to lie about it wasn’t the answer. The first person I apologized to was Spencer, then the announcer, then to a hand full [sic] of fans and fellow racer’s [sic] and also to my BCS team. I haven’t hid from this. I have only come clean admitting that it was foolish and disrespectful. When I showed up the next day at Castle Rock [another race in the Colorado Cross Cup series – Ed.] I knew what was behind everyone’s glare towards me and I owned up to them as well. It was a bad choice.
VeloNews caught up with Summerhill at the Deschutes Brewery Cup, the last stop of the USGP of Cyclocross, in Bend, Oregon. His weekend had been filled with more drama, this time in the form of racing mishaps: he had suffered a hard crash on the first day of racing while in the lead group — he would eventually finish fourth. A broken derailleur hanger on the second day of racing while in a group of three racing for second place would lead to him limping home in 13th. Summerhill had this to say about the controversy the previous weekend:
As I’ve explained to anyone who has asked, I’ve won every race that I’ve done locally and I have no reason to go tracking down local ’cross points. So [Stevenson] asked me, he yelled across the course when we were on the last lap he said, ‘Hey Danny, can I have the points?’ It was heat of the moment and I was, like, heart rate of 180, so I wasn’t thinking properly. And I was like, ‘Well, shit, everyone probably thinks I am a sandbagger because I am winning every weekend, so I should probably let someone else do it.’ And obviously if he wants the points, it makes his team look better in the standings, then that’s awesome. There was nothing malicious about it. I fully understand people have their opinions about being unsportsmanlike and all that stuff. And I have apologized to anyone who wanted to know or asked about it. I was just trying to be nice. My mom taught me growing up to share, and I guess I just took that a little too far. Obviously it will be nice when it’s in the past.
Stevenson continues to race locally and finished second to Summerhill at a race in Castle Rock the day after the incident that led to their disqualification; he also dominated the Boulder Racing series finale at the Boulder Reservoir (site of the Colorado Cross Classic) this past Saturday.
The Colorado Cross Cup will be determined this coming weekend at the Colorado state championship race; even after his disqualification from the December 1 Cyclo-X Race, Stevenson leads Powlison 316 to 275, with Ken Benesh (Feedback Sports) looming just behind with 270.
Jason Sumner contributed to this report from the Deschutes Brewery Cup, in Bend, Oregon.