By Wil Matthews
Bissell teammates Ian Boswell and Paul Mach went one-two on Sunday in the 50th edition of the Nevada City Classic.
With a big effort from Mach the duo vacuumed up solo breakaway Burke Swindlehurst (Team Give p/b Blackbottoms) with just three laps to go in the 90-minute race on the twisty, hilly 1.1-mile circuit through the Sierra gold-rush town.
Then the teammates shed a resurgent Floyd Landis — racing without team support in a retail jersey from Arrogant Bastard Ale — on the steeps of the final lap, and the 19-year-old Boswell sailed across the Broad Street finish line for the biggest victory of his career.
“This is my favorite race in the country, so I had motivation to dig a little deeper,” said Boswell, who has competed in Nevada City three times. Showing the resilience of a promising pro rider, Boswell won this race just three days after a hard crash in the Tour de Nez prologue, with wounds still visible on his face and limbs.
Adding significant power to the chase was Landis, who said he was in Nevada City “for the same reason I started 15 years ago. I just want to race my bike.”
Big crowds and a long break
Enthusiastic crowds lined much of the circuit, with the start/finish area, the climbs and anywhere near a café or bar being especially packed.
After Graham Howard (HPC) made an early solo effort, the ensuing chase distilled a select group from the 83 starters just 10 laps into the race, largely powered by Swindlehurst, the Bissell duo, Landis, Adam Switters (Yahoo Cycling Team) and eventual third-place Zach Davies (Groove Subaru Cycling Team.)
After another half-dozen laps, Swindlehurst punched it at the bottom of the steep and twisty climb and was away on his own until just before the end.
“I knew I wasn’t going to be given any leash, so I just assumed they were 10 seconds back and went as hard as I could. You can’t really tell on this course where riders are,” he said. In fact, Swindlehurst’s lead climbed to nearly 30 seconds.
“I thought he was going to make it,” said Landis. “Burke deserved to win … he was the strongest rider here.”
But the combined efforts of Mach, Howard, Switters and Landis ground Swindehurst’s once-substantial lead to dust and the catch was made almost exactly where he launched his breakaway.
“I countered just after they caught me and got another five- or 10-second gap, but I was just out-teamed,” Swindlehurst said. “I’m kicking myself for putting in a huge effort at Northstar (at the Tour de Nez) yesterday.”
On the last lap, Landis dove first into the sharp left-hand turn following the fast Broad Street descent.
“I just like to be in front in situations like that,” he said.
From there, Landis led through the series of sweeping turns and onto the climb, dropping Swindlehurst for good.
“I gave it 110 percent, and came in on fumes. I’m a bit disappointed,” said Swindlehurst.
Landis next tried to shed Boswell and Mach, but couldn’t close the deal.
“I tried to get rid of the Bissell guys, but it’s hard when they’re teammates,” he said.
And through the top of the circuit Boswell and Mach found their advantage, taking the lead and bringing Davies with them. Boswell shot across the line barely 10 meters ahead of Mach, with Davies twice as far behind, followed closely by Landis and then Swindlehurst.
“It’s a dream come true for me,” said Boswell.
Nash gets the cash
The 50-minute women’s event saw a near-reply of the previous day’s Tour de Nez circuit race with Katerina Nash (Luna) and Megan Guarnier (TIBCO) peeling off the front and staying away to the end. And as in Saturday’s race, Nash leaped on the last lap to hold a 10-second advantage over Guarnier for the win.
Because of scheduling conflicts with Nature Valley Grand Prix and Tour of America’s Dairyland, only 34 starters lined up on Broad Street. But the bunch was not short on talent, and included experienced riders such as Vanderkitten’s Barbara Howe, Yahoo Cycling’s Jane Despas, and five riders from Touchstone Climbing.
Nash and TIBCO teammates Guarnier and Samantha Schneider got away just 20 minutes into the race.
“Megan seemed to be the strongest,” Nash said . And indeed, Schneider would soon drop back to help control the pack, which was hovering about 15 seconds back.
On the last lap, Nash shed Guarnier on the climb, opening a 20-meter gap that she would hold to the finish.
A brave move on the fast downhill left-hand Broad Street corner by 17-year-old Kendall Ryan (NOW MS Society) netted the 2010 Dana Point Grand Prix winner third place.
“I didn’t touch my brakes in the last corner, and that gave me enough of a gap,” Ryan said. She turned that gap into a four-second advantage over the remnants of the group by the time the lap, and the race, were completed.
- 1. Ian Boswell Bissell Pro Cycling
- 2. Paul Mach, Bissell Pro Cycling
- 3. Zach Davies, Groove Subaru
- 4. Floyd Landis
- 5. Burke Swindlehurst, Team Give p/b Blackbottoms
- 1. Katerina Nash, Luna
- 2. Megan Guarnier, TIBCO
- 3. Kendall Ryan, NOW-MS Society
- 4. Samantha Schneider, TIBCO
- 5. Heather Pryor, Touchstone Climbing