It wasn’t a move meant to last, but when Scott Nydam, of BMC Racing, rolled across the line to win the Tour of the Battenkill pro men’s Invitational following a 112-mile breakaway — about half of it solo — the rider from Sebastopol, California, said the victory was a long time coming.
“Five months of training and a lot of preparation went into this,” Nydam said. “It all came out today.”
Nydam held off a late charge from OUCH-Maxxis rider Karl Menzies, while Francois Parisien, of Team Planet Energy, after a 60-mile solo chase, held on for third.
The first year pro event, held one day after 1,500 amateurs raced on the same course, sent 158 professional and elite riders over a rolling course that featured 30 miles of dirt roads in upstate New York’s Battenkill Valley.
Only 12 miles into the 124-mile, two lap race, Nydam and OUCH’s Bobby Lea launched an attack over the 18 percent dirt climb on Juniper Swamp Road. The two worked together to build a maximum lead of near five minutes by the end of the first lap.
“You have to have a lot of things go your way. I know some people were trying to chase, so my goals kept changing. First I just wanted to make it easier for my teammates, but then it became a situation where I could actually win,” Nydam said.
Behind, the field was shrinking due to both the race’s challenging terrain and a high number of flats.
SRAM Racing Service mechanics Kenny Ambach and Tom “TJ” Balzano said after the race they had changed about 38 wheels.
Nydam was among those falling victim to the rocky roads, puncturing at the end of the first lap, but a quick wheel change from the team car kept him rolling at a safe distance. The field began a concerted chase shortly after passing through the finish line in Cambridge, as a flurry of attacks started to bring back the breakaway on a windy stretch of road between Cambridge and the Eagleville covered bridge.
The gap had come down to 1:30 when Nydam attacked Lea on the paved climb up Perry Hill Road, with 55 miles remaining in the race. Lea continued a solo effort while Nydam powered away, quickly opening his gap to the field back to near two minutes.
Feeling his moment had come, the BMC rider called “Nydam solo” on team radio.
Behind, Parisien attacked out of the field. He quickly caught Lea, and the two worked together, bringing Nydam’s gap back to around one minute.
Parisien, of Montreal, said after the race that even with most teams not represented in the break, there was not much cooperation in the chase effort. Instead of burning the teams’ matches in a chase, the team began a barrage attacks, eventually springing Parisien free.
“I caught the OUCH guy pretty quickly, so I thought I had a chance to get to Scott, but I could only close the gap to 45 seconds,” Parisien said. The 26-year old, coming off of a second place in the Tour of Cuba, would eventually drop Lea, and try to bridge alone, but Nydam was proving untouchable and the gap to the field reached near six minutes as the peloton crested the paved Joe Bean Road, the race’s longest climb.
Although initially reluctant to chase a break containing Lea, OUCH came to the front in race’s final 25 kilometers when it was clear that no other team was going to pick up the pace making. The team put former national cyclocross champion Tim Johnson to work across the steep rollers on Meeting House Road, in a last ditch effort to catch the charging Nydam.
“It was the first break of the day, so we didn’t think it would go to the line,” said OUCH manager Mike Tamayo. “Bobby is really more of a sprinter for us, so for him to be in a 100-mile break was pretty good.”
With Johnson putting the pressure on, Nydam’s lead over the peloton began coming down, but he was maintaining a solid two-minute lead over Parisien. As the peloton crested the course’s final climb, Stage Road, Menzies latched onto an attack from Shawn Milne, of Team Type 1, and Chad Beyer, of BMC, and the three set off on a frenetic chase toward Nydam.
Menzies dropped Milne and Beyer in the closing kilometers, before passing a cramping Parisien to take second.
“It was hard to chase, because the roads were constantly changing direction,” Menzies said of his team’s efforts to reign Nydam in. “We didn’t expect a breakaway to go and stay on such a tough course, he must have been on a good day.”
Behind, Parisien held onto third by a second, with Milne pipping Beyer on the line for fourth.
Promoters knew they had plotted a difficult course through hilly terrain, and they were not disappointed. Of the 158 starters, only 62 finished.
Of the top finishers, all said it was among the hardest races they competed, with Parisien commenting that it was in his top-5 hardest courses, helping the event live up to its billing as “America’s Queen of the Classics.”
“I never did anything like this in America,” he said. “Maybe in Europe, where you have cobbles or something.”
- Team OUCH’s Floyd Landis, expected to take the start Sunday, did not make the trip to Cambridge, after suffering a laceration on his shin Wednesday. In a statement posted on the team’s Web site, team medical staff felt it would be better for Landis to stay in California to recover.
- Gary Toth, a USA Cycling National Commissar officiating at the race, said the first-year event had gone very smoothly. In November, promoter Dieter Drake was denied a last-minute bid to place Tour of the Battenkill on the UCI North America Tour.
In the days leading up to the race, Drake said he hoped to secure a spot on the 2010 calendar.
Although Toth is not involved with setting the UCI calendar, he said he thought the race’s chances were “very good,” at securing a spot in 2010.
1. Scott Nydam Bmc Racing Team in 05:16:32
2. Karl Menzies Ouch Pro Cycling P/b Maxxis in 05:18:49
3. Francois Parisien Team Planet Energy in 05:18:53
4. Shawn Milne Team Type 1 in 05:19:27
5. Chad Beyer Bmc Racing Team in 05:19:27
6. James Driscoll Haymarket Bicycles/trakkers in 05:20:18
7. Ryan Roth Team Planet Energy in 05:20:19
8. Martin Gilbert Team Planet Energy in 05:20:22
9. Jonathan Garcia Bmc Racing Team in 05:20:23
10. Antonio Cruz Bmc Racing Team in 05:20:32
11. Cheyne Hoag Kelly Benefit Stragtegies Pro Cycling in 05:20:32
12. Adam Myerson Team Mountain Khakis Pro Cycling in 05:20:32
13. Frank Pipp Bissell Pro Cycling in 05:20:32
14. Jacob Rytlewski Kenda Pro Cycling P/b Spinergy in 05:20:32
15. Jackson Stewart Bmc Racing Team in 05:20:32
16. Timothy Johnson Ouch Pro Cycling P/b Maxxis in 05:20:32
17. Bruno Langlois Team Planet Energy in 05:20:32
18. Thomas Soladay Team Mountain Khakis Pro Cycling in 05:20:32
19. William Dugan Ccb International in 05:20:33
20. Christopher Butler Team Mountain Khakis Pro Cycling in 05:20:33
21. Boyd Johnson Dlp Racing in 05:20:33
22. Derrick St. John Ride With Rendall in 05:20:33
23. Keck Baker Battley Harley-Davidson/sonoma in 05:20:34
24. Bobby Lea Ouch Pro Cycling P/b Maxxis in 05:21:41
25. John Delong Haymarket Bicycles/trakkers in 05:22:02
26. Daniel Zmolik Crca/empire Ct P/b Northwave in 05:22:02
27. John Minutrn Crca/empire Ct P/b Northwave in 05:22:55
28. Mike Stoop Team Mountain Khakis Pro Cycling in 05:23:57
29. Benjamin Martel Mazurcoaching.com/bikyle in 05:23:58
30. Keven Lacombe Team Planet Energy in 05:24:10
31. Joshua Dillon Bikereg.com/cannondale in 05:24:10
32. Graham Howard Bissell Pro Cycling in 05:24:10
33. Aldo Ino Ilesic Team Type 1 in 05:24:32
34. Michael Mathis Crca/empire Ct P/b Northwave in 05:24:32
35. Justin Spinelli Spooky/ncc/kenda in 05:24:33
36. Kevin Hazzard Jet Fuel Coffee in 05:26:45
37. Daniel Holt Team Type 1 in 05:27:37
38. Tiago Depaula Souza Dlp Racing in 05:27:37
39. Scott Tietzel Dlp Racing in 05:27:37
40. Daniel Cassidy Ccb International in 05:27:37
41. Clayton Barrows Crca/empire Ct P/b Northwave in 05:27:37
42. Nick Frey Metlife Cycling Team in 05:27:37
43. Rafael Adolfo German Meran Gs Mengoni Usa in 05:27:38
44. Genugten Bennet Van Der Kenda Pro Cycling P/b Spinergy in 05:27:39
45. David Veilleux Kelly Benefit Stragtegies Pro Cycling in 05:28:04
46. Jerome Townsend Independent Fabrications/lionette’s in 05:29:54
47. Sean Barrie Battley Harley-Davidson/sonoma in 05:33:39
48. Omer Kem Bissell Pro Cycling in 05:33:39
49. Stephan Kincaid Crca/empire Ct P/b Northwave in 05:33:40
50. Eric Brownell Crca/empire Ct P/b Northwave in 05:33:40
51. Justin Lindine Bikereg.com/cannondale in 05:33:41
52. Sheldon Deeny Bissell Pro Cycling in 05:33:41
53. Ryan Dewald Battley Harley-Davidson/sonoma in 05:33:41
54. Steven Gordon Dlp Racing in 05:37:45
55. Nick Bennette Metlife Cycling Team in 05:37:45
56. Nathaniel Ward Spooky/ncc/kenda in 05:37:46
57. Peter Morse Jet Fuel Coffee in 05:37:46
58. Kier Plaice Team Type 1 in 05:37:46
59. John Murphy Ouch Pro Cycling P/b Maxxis in 05:37:48
60. Jake Hollenbach Crca/empire Ct P/b Northwave in 05:42:02
61. Adam Sullivan Spooky/ncc/kenda in 05:42:05
62. Simeon Green Haymarket Bicycles/trakkers in 05:43:51