Major Taylor CX: Gomez Villafane takes two; Brunner takes first
Sofia Gomez Villafane (Pivot-Maxxis) was super on Sunday at the Major Taylor ‘Cross Cup, winning her second race in a row, while Eric Brunner (FCX Elite) won a sprint to earn his maiden UCI elite victory in Indianapolis. On a dry day with temperatures near 40 degrees, smart tactics won the day on the fast track at the Indy Cycloplex.
Gomez Villafane overcomes dropped chain
As was the case in Saturday’s race, Gomez Villafane linked up with teammate Courtenay McFadden for an early escape on lap one of the women’s race.
Sunny Gilbert (Van Dessel) and Emma Swartz (Marian University Cycling) put in a big effort to bridge up to the duo and were successful, reaching the front of the race by the end of that first lap.
It wasn’t smooth sailing for the Argentine Gomez Villafane though.
“I just made a shifting error, it’s really bumpy and my chain came off,” she said. “I really should run a chain catcher but I’ve been too lazy to buy one to be honest so there’s my karma. But it was a good day to practice the mental side of it all.”
Fortunately, McFadden was marking the lead group, which helped Gomez Villafane return to the front.
“I really, really chased. Thankfully one of the three people up front was my teammate and she wasn’t doing any work and it really benefited me a lot,” added Gomez Villafane.
On the final lap, Gilbert struck first, but she couldn’t break up the group.
It came down to a sprint and Gomez Villafane took the win ahead of McFadden. Swartz rounded out the podium in third, despite barely hanging onto the lead group late in the race.
“The course dried up a little bit more, I’m running a file tread on my rear, so I thought it was going to be a lot faster and a lot more tactical. I was a little tired from yesterday’s effort so there was a lot of sitting in, and I ended having to do a lot of chasing in this race. It just shows that the race isn’t over until you cross the finish line,” Gomez Villafane said of the Sunday race.
Brunner sprints to first UCI elite win
Brunner, Andrew Dillman (SDG), Jamey Driscoll (Pivot-Maxxis), and Caleb Swartz (Marian University Cycling) got away on the first lap of the elite men’s race.
Dillman, winner of Saturday’s race in Indianapolis, crashed early, which gave Driscoll and Brunner a chance to ride clear.
However, it wasn’t a completely clean race for Brunner either. He slid out halfway through the race and also had to stop in the pit for a bike after a flat tire.
“I was in the front from early on and then I just had a few mistakes, I had a little bobble in the field about midway through the race. I had a flat with three to go and switches bikes and chased back on,” said Brunner.
The Coloradan, who was second in under-23 national cyclocross championships last January, was unsure he could chase back to the leaders.
“I really didn’t know because Driscoll came around me, he saw that I had a flat so I knew that he was going to push it. Once I got a new bike though, I was pretty confident,” he added.
After catching the front group, Brunner made his move on the barriers, on the bell lap.
“I pushed it a couple of times early in the lap but I saw that he [Dillman] was pretty strong, we dropped Driscoll. I knew that I was the only one hopping barriers so I just knew that I had to get around him before that,” Brunner said. “He took the barriers a lot faster than I expected. He was still on my wheel coming into the last straight. I didn’t know until the very end.”
It came down to a sprint, and Brunner proved fastest. Dillman was second, and Driscoll ended up third.