McConneloug, McCormack grab victories at Cycle-Smart International|
A beautiful, crisp fall New England day brought out some of the nation�s top riders to Northampton, Mass for the 14th Annual Cycle-Smart International presented by Steve Lewis Subaru. Mary McConneloug (Seven Cycles) took the elite women�s race to complete the weekend sweep, while Mark McCormack (Clif Bar/Colavita) earned a hard-fought victory in the men�s elite race.
McConneloug got a good start on the long starting straightaway with Anna Milkowski (Rona), Sinead Fitzgibbon (CRCA/Aquafina), and Maureen Bruno-Roy (Cyclocrossworld.com). With the first part of the course being very twisty and narrow, the group stretched out quickly with McConneloug leading the way. Once into the straightaways in the fields, McConneloug took off and like yesterday was gone to stay. But Gretchen Reeves (Rocky Mtn/Business Objects) would not give up without a fight and took off from the chase group and went after McConneloug. She could not catch the leader, but she did benefit from Milkowski�s bobble on the Verge run-up that gave Reeves a gap from the chase, with only Bruno-Roy able to stay with Reeves. But Bruno-Roy starting having gear problems and had to let Reeves go to fix her problems and get back into the race. Milkowski recovered from her slip-up and went by a troubled Bruno-Roy to go after Reeves, and this time she benefited from a Reeves bobble and assumed 2nd place. But as soon as Milkowski got there Reeves attacked and Milkowski could not respond. That was the last major move of the race, as the finish order was McConneloug, Reeves, Milkowski, Bruno, and Dickey, who held off a charging Betsy Schauer (Fort/GPOA) for 5th.
The men�s race started with a freight train at the front, with McCormack and Ryan Trebon (Kona) leading the way. The two front-runners were joined by Ben Jacques-Maynes (Sierra Nevada), Jackson Stewart (Clif Bar), Mark Gullickson (Redline), Tyler Johnson (Richard Sachs), and Adam Craig (Maxxis/Giant) to form the front group of the race. The first move was made by Stewart, who flew up the Verge run-up and gained as much as 20 seconds on the group. But his efforts proved to be too much, and by the end of lap 2 the group came back to him and the race was on again. Some of the riders were suffering slip-ups from the technical spots on the course which were getting greasy, and Trebon took advantage of this to take off and produce a substantial gap, at one time up to 40 seconds on the field. But just like Stewart, Trebon did not have the gas to keep it and was brought back to the mix by a hard-charging Craig at 4 to go. The front group was now 4 (Todd Wells, Jacques-Maynes, Trebon, Craig), and McCormack, sensing the danger, moved quickly to bridge and make it a fivesome with 3 laps to go. The winning group was made; now the question was who would make the decisive move and when. After several attempts by Trebon to get away, McCormack got into 2nd position at the beginning of the last lap and blistered the field with several major attacks on the flats of the ball fields. Although the group answered them all, the move did the trick in tiring the group. One final surge by McCormack over the barriers at the 1k to go mark got the gap he was looking for and got him on the pavement with 3 bike lengths to spare over Craig. Being a good sprinter, the finish was not in doubt as a screaming crowd pushed their hometown hero to victory over a game Craig. Trebon outlasted Wells for 4th and Jacques-Maynes coasted home in 5th.
Following the Cycle-Smart International, the Verge NECCS will resume in Sterling, Mass., at the Gearworks Bay State Cyclo-Cross (UCI Cat.2) on November 27, 2004.
The Cycle-Smart International is presented by Steve Lewis Subaru of Northampton, Mass.; and sponsored by Kennedy Screen Graphics, Look Park, WRNX, Pioneer Event Productions, Cycle-Smart, Inc., Litmus Designs, and the Northampton Cycling Club.
The Verge New England Championship Cyclo-Cross Series is sponsored by Verge Sport, makers of quality custom cycling apparel; Cycle-Smart, providers of custom coaching solutions for all riders and cycling disciplines; International Bicycle Center, New England's cyclo-cross source, in Boston, Newton, and on the web at internationalbike.com; BikeReg.com, offering all of your online event registration needs; IntensePicts.com, professional event photography; The Ride Magazine, the magazine of New England cycling culture; and Pioneer Event Productions, offering technical solutions for cycling events, from course design and construction to results and timing.