Events

Jingle Cross: Vermeersch, Gilbert take victory on Day 2

Belgium’s Gianni Vermeersch (Team Steylaerts) captured the victory on Saturday night at the UCI C2 event on the second day of racing at the Jingle Cross Festival. France’s Steve Chainel (Team Chazal/Canyon) claimed second with American Tobin Ortenblad (Santa Cruz/Donkey Label Racing) rounding out the podium in third. Only six…

Belgium’s Gianni Vermeersch (Team Steylaerts) captured the victory on Saturday night at the UCI C2 event on the second day of racing at the Jingle Cross Festival. France’s Steve Chainel (Team Chazal/Canyon) claimed second with American Tobin Ortenblad (Santa Cruz/Donkey Label Racing) rounding out the podium in third.

Only six riders also racing Sunday’s world cup took to the start line Saturday night. Ortenblad lined up as the top UCI-ranked American, and third-ranked pro male overall, behind Vermeersch and Chainel. Justin Lindine and Ortenblad were the two sole Americans racing both Saturday’s C2 and Sunday’s World Cup.

After the field sprinted down the opening straight, it was immediately clear the World Cup racers weren’t lining up to soft pedal, but rather to seize their opportunity to earn some points on a course with a similar layout to Friday night’s circuit. Vermeersch led the group onto Mt. Krumpit.

On lap six of nine, the final podium was set, barring disaster. The top-three ranked UCI racers, Vermeersch, Chainel, and Ortenblad would settle the final positions in the last three trips around the fast Jingle Cross course.

On the penultimate time up Mt. Krumpit, Ortenblad’s legs didn’t quite respond, as Chainel stormed up the climb, drawing out Vermeersch.

On the final time up the infamous run-up, which the leaders were riding, Vermeersch attacked. “Mt. Krumpit was the best part for me, the climb,” Vermeersch said. “On the top there’s a little turn and I saw I had a few meters, and then I went full gas. Steve was really strong. I was a little bit afraid.”

Afraid or not, his final attack would be the one that mattered. He turned the tables on Chainel and kept the gap to the finish. His Saturday night gamble was a smart one.

For Chainel, his ride was also a success. After crashing on Friday night on the first lap and pulling out, Chainel’s podium was a big step up. “Gianni has more power than me, I’m so happy with this second place,” Chainel said. “I’m really happy for this podium. Today, it’s a race to get some confidence for tomorrow.”

For Ortenblad, third place was also a reward for taking a risk the other top American cyclocrossers did not. “It’s a big confidence booster,” Ortenblad said while surrounded by his parents and coach. “Now it’s time to go home, get some recovery, some protein and recovery drink, and get ready for tomorrow.”

Top 10

  • 1. Gianni Vermeersch, (BEL), in 56:04.
  • 2. Steve Chainel, (FRA), at +00:06.
  • 3. Tobin Ortenblad, (USA), at +00:19.
  • 4. Rob Peeters, (BEL), at +01:29.
  • 5. Wietse Bosmans, (BEL), at +01:41.
  • 6. Justin Lindine, (USA), at +01:53.
  • 7. Jonathan Page, (USA), at +02:17.
  • 8. Andrew Dillman, (USA), at +02:53.
  • 9. Cody Kaiser, (USA), at +03:07.
  • 10. Brannan Fix, (USA), at +03:40.

Gilbert solos to victory

Sunny Gilbert (Team Steylaerts) soloed to victory on Saturday on Day 2 of the Jingle Cross Festival. Photo: Will Matthews

As with the men, most of the top-women chose to take Saturday off with Sunday’s world cup race looming large. Sunny Gilbert (Van Dessel Factory Team) soloed to victory after battling with Clara Honsinger (Team S&M CX) for most of the race. Sofia Gomez-Villafane suffered a puncture midway through the race, which dropped her out of the lead group, but she was able to recover well and finish third.

The small 23-rider field broke apart quickly and a lead selection that occupied both ends of the experience spectrum put on a show for the fans at the Johnson County Fairgrounds under the lights

Gilbert and Hosinger broke free midway through the race after Gomez-Villafane a flat tire just before the sand pit.

On the penultimate lap, the two battled up and down Mt. Krumpit, through the sand and over the barriers, but Gilbert had a plan. She blasted up the mini-Krumpit climb around the bleachers, but Hosinger stayed on her wheel. She attacked again on the finishing straight with one lap to go and was able to get some breathing room over Hosinger.

Honsinger gave the chase everything she had on the final lap, but couldn’t overcome the gap Gilbert opened up. Gilbert sprinted at full-tilt down the finishing straight to grab the C2 victory Saturday night.

“I thought about going on the straightaway in the back here, because I was riding the slight incline a little bit smoother than other people,” said Gilbert. “I was kind of gapping their wheels a little bit. My plan was to go there, but right before that, that uphill chicane I had a little burst of energy and kind of wanted to ride all out. I just kind of went for it and Clara came with me, which was great because I had someone right there on my wheel to push me. I couldn’t ask for a better race.”

Honsinger’s trip to the Midwest was rewarded with a second-place finish in a UCI race after she placed 13th Friday night. After her flat, Gomez-Villfane had to weigh going deep into the red on the eve of the World Cup versus saving some legs for Sunday’s mid-day affair. Although she could not close the gap back to the lead duo, she still rode strong for the remainder of the race to take third.

Two days of UCI racing at the Jingle Cross Festival are in the books, and the three-race weekend concludes with the first Telenet UCI World Cup of the 2017/18 season. The women’s race starts at 3:00 p.m. Eastern and the men’s race gets underway at 4:30 p.m. Eastern.

Women Day 2 Full Results

  • 1. Sunny Gilbert, (USA), in 44:26.
  • 2. Clara Honsinger, (USA), at +00:12.
  • 3. Sofia Gomez Villafane, (ARG), at +00:42.
  • 4. Arley Kemmerer, (USA), at +01:12.
  • 5. Ruby West, (CAN), at +01:45.
  • 6. Rebecca Gross, (USA), at +02:17.
  • 7. Emily Shields, (USA), at +02:24.
  • 8. Courtney Patton, (USA), at +02:32.
  • 9. Beth Ann Orton, (USA), at +02:45.
  • 10. Lily Williams, (USA), at +03:19.
  • 11. Catherine Sands, (IRL), at +03:35.
  • 12. Rachel Rubino, (USA), at +03:59.
  • 13. Nicole Mertz, (USA), at +04:23.
  • 14. Suzie Livingston, (USA), at +04:33.
  • 15. Carol Seipp, (USA), at +05:20.
  • 16. Nicole Dorinzi, (USA), at +05:35.
  • 17. Siobhan Kelly, (CAN), at +07:19.
  • 18. Sarah Szefi, (USA), at +07:47.
  • 19. Kelli Richter, (USA), at +07:59.
  • 20. Katie Isermann, (USA), at +08:19.
  • 21. Anya Malarski, (USA), at +08:41.
  • 22. Lindsay Knight, (USA), at +09:17.
  • 23. Turner Ramsay, (USA)

Men Full Day 2 Full Results

  • 1. Gianni Vermeersch, (BEL), in 56:04.
  • 2. Steve Chainel, (FRA), at +00:06.
  • 3. Tobin Ortenblad, (USA), at +00:19.
  • 4. Rob Peeters, (BEL), at +01:29.
  • 5. Wietse Bosmans, (BEL), at +01:41.
  • 6. Justin Lindine, (USA), at +01:53.
  • 7. Jonathan Page, (USA), at +02:17.
  • 8. Andrew Dillman, (USA), at +02:53.
  • 9. Cody Kaiser, (USA), at +03:07.
  • 10. Brannan Fix, (USA), at +03:40.
  • 11. Bjorn Selander, (USA), at +04:05.
  • 12. Skyler Mackey, (USA), at +04:27.
  • 13. Eric Thompson, (USA), at +05:09
  • 14. Kevin Mcconnell, (USA), at +05:18.
  • 15. Dylan Postier, (USA), at +05:38.
  • 16. Trevor O’donnell, (CAN), at +05:42.
  • 17. Josh Bauer, (USA), at +05:43.
  • 18. Andrew Giniat, (USA), at +05:47.
  • 19. Kevin Day, (GBR), at +05:53.
  • 20. Michael Larson, (USA), at +06:28.
  • 21. Tyler Cloutier, (USA)
  • 22. Jules Goguely, (USA)
  • 23. Kyle Russ, (USA)
  • 24. Mark Flis, (USA)
  • 25. Matthew Clements, (USA)
  • 26. Tyler Stein, (USA)
  • 27. Justin Morgan, (USA)
  • 28. Tyler Curtis, (USA)
  • 29. Andrew Thompson, (USA)
  • 30. Johannes Stromski, (USA)
  • 31. Christian Ricci, (CAN)
  • 32. Christian Sundquist, (USA)