The Marian University women swept the podiums both days this weekend at what turned out to be another wet weekend of racing at Lindenwood University
All of the races this weekend saw appreciably smaller fields than previous weeks. Notably absent was the Lindsey Wilson College, which was on spring break. This left Marian and Lindenwood to duke it out for points. Thanks to the strong performance by their women’s team both days and men’s team in the criterium, Marian was able to accumulate a large amount of points over Lindsey Wilson, who were the conference leaders going into the weekend. Both days of racing included heavy rains and strong winds. Because of the weather and tough courses, selection was the name of the game for the weekend.
Lindenwood’s road race course was a 19-mile loop, starting at the Daniel Boone house west of St. Louis. The course featured two 1-mile climbs within the first five miles of the course, followed by windswept rollers and twisty roads to the finish. In the second wave of racing two automobile accidents on the backside of the course forced riders to navigate through some debris. The lower categories managed to escape the rain, which fell on the Men’s A, B and Women’s A fields.
Aggression in the Men’s A race started early on the first lap of four. On the second lap as fatigue set in, a large field split occurred on the back side of the course.
Thanks mostly to the efforts of Ben Damhoff, a rider for UW Plattville and current conference leader; the field split was brought back by the end of the second lap.
An attack from Zach McBride of Marian, last year’s conference champion, brought a three-man group containing Nick Chevalley of Lindenwood and Chris Uberti of Purdue out of the field. With riders from both Lindenwood and Marian, the pack was content to allow the group escape
In the last lap McBride was gapped over the climbs, leaving Chevalley and Uberti at the front, and Uberti out-sprinted Chevalley for the win. Meanwhile behind, the field had split further into two groups. Owen Belton of Lindenwood escaped from the first group, soloing to third, followed by his teammate Jose Cuello of Lindenwood leading the pack in for fourth. Alex Wieseler of Marian rounded out the top five.
The Women’s A field saw an even more dramatic selection. Lead by Sinead Miller of Marian, winner of every women’s A race this season, four Marian riders formed the winning breakaway shortly into the first lap.
Because of the adverse weather conditions, the race was shortened from three laps to two.
Miller led her team across the line, followed by Jacqueline Kurth, Anna Young, and Becca Finley.
Rita Kolfta of DePauw, who was second in the individual standings going into the weekend, made a good effort and was the first rider across the line from the remnants of the field.
The Men’s B field ended in a field sprint, Joe Margo of Notre Dame took the win, followed by Adam Kaye of University of Chicago and Nick Abac of Marian.
In the Women’s B/C race, no group finished with more than two riders. Meghan Lapeta of Univesity of Illinois-Chicago soloed to victory, while behind, Morgan Moon of University of Illinois out sprinted Natalie Smith of Purdue.
Jeremy Richardson of Michigan took the Men’s C race, followed by Kyle Monroe of Southern Illinois University and Nathaniel Lee of Notre Dame.
Nathan Bartlett won the Men’s D race ahead of RJ Half of Indiana and James Davis of Purdue.
The Lindenwood criterium took place on Main Street of historic St. Charles, Missouri, the first capitol of Missouri. St. Charles also played host the finish of stage 6 of the 2008 Tour of Missouri, won by Mark Cavendish.
The one-kilometer course had three turns and was situated along the bank of the Missouri River. The half-k finishing straight was made of uneven brick. After two quick turns onto pavement the course ran along the river giving the riders a view of the water and a blast of head wind. A hairpin turn put the riders back onto the brick of the finishing straight. Again the rain was saved for the women’s and men’s A fields.
An early breakaway containing several Marian and Lindenwood riders managed to lap the field in the men’s A race. From then on, both Marian and Lindenwood kept a firm grasp on anyone attempting to escape.
Late in the race, Tyler Karnes of Marian and Jose Cuello of Lindenwood broke free and managed to lap the field just before the finish. Matt Jones of Marian also escaped and finished ahead of the main field for 10th.
In the end a field sprint decided the winner. Marian disrupted the Lindenwood leadout in the last lap, setting up Rob Bush for the victory, followed by teammate Adam Leibovitz. Matt Brandt and Tim Norris from Lindenwood rounded out the top five.
Marian again swept the top four in the women’s A criterium. Sinead Miller got away from the field in the fist few minutes of racing. Rita Kolfta made a brave effort to bridge up to Miller in the rain, but Miller’s pace was too much and Kolfta was eventually brought back into the field.
In the end though, Marian rose to the top. Miller took the win followed by teammates Jacqueline Kurth, Anna Young and Becca Finley. Holly Matthews from University of Wisconson Madison took fifth.
In the Men’s B field, Nick Abac of Marion and Rory King of Saint Louis University were able to escape the field, with Abac finishing ahead of King. Adam Kosela of Marian took third.
Meghan Lapeta of University of Illinois-Chicago took her second win of the weekend in the Women’s B/C followed by Erin Bomberg from Depaul and Natalie Smith of Purdue.
Matthew Behrens of Concordia Seminary took the win for Men’s C. William Feyereisen of University of Wisconson Madison came in second followed by Matt Kubsch.
The Men’s D stayed together, giving Nicholas Goossen of Northwestern the win ahead of Nathan Bartlett and James Davis of Purdue.
Chris Uberti is a student at Purdue, and the latest VeloNews collegiate correspondent to report on his own win.