The first day of racing at Jingle Cross saw victories for Helen Wyman (Xypex – Verge Sport) and Diether Sweeck (Pauwels Sauzen-vastgoedservice). After a day of sporadic rain and amateur racing, the track had degraded to a strength-sapping combination of slick grass, mud, rutted corners, and greasy off-camber sections.
Wyman wipes up
Wyman set the pace from the line, along with Lily Williams (The Pony Shop p/b KPMG), and Raylyn Nuss (Maplewood Bicycle). This trio had a comfortable gap on the chasers by the end of lap one.
A broken chain and bike swap meant Wyman briefly surrendered the lead to Williams, but the Brit soon retook the lead and held it to the end. By the end of lap three, she was 20 seconds up on Williams and 40 seconds clear of Nuss. The gaps would continue to grow with Wyman crossing the line 31 seconds clear of Williams, with Nuss a further six seconds behind her.
“She (Williams) was strong in those first couple of laps. I just kept riding at my pace, and just kept going as hard as I could,” said Wyman on her chase for the lead after snapping a chain. “There were a couple of sections where I could see that I was catching her, so I had the motivation. I could see she was fading a little bit. It’s not too hard to be motivated if you can take two seconds.”
A show of strength from Sweeck
The race was fast from the start, with six riders going clear early on. As the laps ticked by, the pace was too much for some, with riders dropping from the lead group. Sweeck attacked with four laps remaining, leaving Stan Godrie (Creylan – Charles), Alois Falenta, and Fabien Canal (both Team Cross UCI SAFIR GANOVA) engaged in a battle for the remaining podium spots. With two laps to go Godrie broke clear, riding to within 20 seconds of Sweeck at the line. Falenta rounded out the podium in third. Notably absent from the men’s race was U.S. National Champion Stephen Hyde, who was out after fracturing his sternum in a crash at a race last week in Wisconsin.
“The first few laps we were together with five, six guys,” said Sweeck. “I wanted to start slowly, for tomorrow — to save a little bit of energy. It was important to make the gap, for when you have a flat tire or something on your bike. I was then happy that I had 35 to 40 seconds. I like it here in America. It’s always a small adventure to come here. I also like the people, they are yelling for everybody, it’s nice for the riders.”