Day one of racing at Indianapolis rewards teamwork in the women's and a solo display in the men's race.
Racing at Indy Cycloplex was set over a 1.7-mile course featuring a stone staircase, short punchy climbs, and off-camber descents on a cold day at Major Taylor Saturday.
Gomez Villafane capitalizes on teamwork to take the win
Gomez Villafane and her teammate Courtenay McFadden (Pivot-Maxxis) quickly separated themselves from the 37-rider field on a hill in the first lap, working together to form a significant gap.
Behind them, a chase group formed including Sunny Gilbert (Van Dessel), Emma Swartz (Marian University Cycling), Beth Ann Orton (Team S&M CX), Raylin Nuss (Gateway Harley-Davidson Trek), Laurel Rathbun (Donnelly Sports), and Jennifer Malik.
At the end of two laps, the chase group had re-shuffled, with Swartz and Gilbert leading the bunch. Miscommunication between teammates led to Gomez Villafane opening a gap on McFadden inside of three laps to go, and the pair lost ground now that they were unable to work together, allowing Swartz to catch and pass McFadden on the fourth lap. By the fifth and final lap, Gilbert had moved up to third place on the course, also dropping McFadden.
Gomez Villafane held on for the win in a time of 43:34 seconds, with Swartz crossing the line 13 seconds later for second place. Gilbert took third, 30 seconds from the winner.
“There was a part on the course that she told me to go by and lead it and I thought she told me to attack and go, so I did,” explained the winner about the moment she dropped teammate McFadden. “But it was a really good race and I’m excited to take a win.”
Dillman leads holds off Driscoll to win solo
Cody Kaiser (LangeTwins-Specialized) and Eric Brunner (FCX Elite) set a fast pace early on, though many riders had to put their foot down when tackling the tacky hill on the first lap. Andrew Dillman (SDG Factory Team) got through unscathed, however, and took advantage of others being held up to accelerate away.
By lap two, Jamey Driscoll (Pivot-Maxxis) was the sole chaser, six seconds behind Dillman. Behind Driscoll, the pack constantly re-shuffled in the fight for third.
As the laps ticked by, Dillman continued to extend his lead and was 20 seconds in front of Driscoll with three laps to go.
With two laps to go, 20-year old Caleb Swartz (Marian University Cycling), had separated himself from the chase group and moved into third place, around 30 seconds from Driscoll. Behind him, the battle was on for fourth place between Kaiser, Brian Matter (Linear Sport Racing), Erik Thompson (MSPEEDWAX), and Samuel Kieffer (Red Kite Fund).
Dillman continued to grow his lead in the close of the race and won in 1:01:56, with Driscoll crossing the line 34 seconds later. Swartz came in third, 1:29 after the winner.
“Even when the other two guys were leading I just felt really comfortable, I wasn’t at my limit and all that,” said Dillman. “So I made a pass on second place about halfway through the first lap and then not long after that, I made a pass on first place. He made a little bobble in front of me and I guess I never looked back.”