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By Bill Laudien
It was another Saturn day in U.S. cyclo-cross on Saturday as Tim Johnson and Lyne Bessette scored wins in the elite events at Lancaster, Pennsylvania’s Chameleon cyclo-cross, another in the eastern seaboard’s large number of UCI-sanction ‘cross events.
The course proved ideal for Bessette, a neophyte ‘crosser with a great road resume, as she took advantage of the long, open and largely flat course. Despite a handful of off-camber sections and a tough, but short, climb Bessette cruised to an easy win, almost as if she’d been taking on another road race.
Bessette attacked right from the gun and came off the pavement with only Independent Fabrication’s Jen Dial offering up any resistance. Dial put up a valiant effort, after two laps of fighting to hang on to the Canadian, she was forced to back off and ride at her own pace.
As has been the script from the beginning of the season, Bessette soloed around the course at full effort extending her lead on each lap. For someone who says she’s only riding cyclo-cross “for fun,” Bessette sure looks like someone who just might be turning her attention to the world championships in Zolder, Belgium. Even after being slowed by a crash, the Saturn rider finished 1:15 ahead of Dial and three minutes up on third-placed Rachel Lloyd.
In the men’s race, Mongoose’s Mark Gullickson began his race with fairly low tire pressure in an attempt to compensate for a series of bumps in the first technical section. But the Coloradoan paid for it as he rolled his front tubular the first time he hit the section in question. Undaunted, he removed the tire and rode the rim back to the pits, but the damage had already been done.
Johnson had attacked and despite crashing quickly opened up a one-minute lead. For the remainder of the race, it was just Johnson on his own, battling against the brisk wind. Gullickson by that point was in last place and fighting his way through the field. By the mid-point Gullickson was working to catch a formidable chase group of ten including area favorite Adam Meyerson (Cycle-Smart), Greg Ferguson, Kris Auer (Trek) and Ryan Leech (Aquafina). Leech and Auer launched an effort, but were eventually reeled in by Meyerson and Ferguson.
Just as the group came back together Gullickson made contact and quickly attacked. The only rider able to go with him was Independent Fabrication’s Johans Husbey. Gullickson’s effort shattered the group. Ahead Johnson crossed the line alone, a full 1:15 up on Gullickson. Husbey held on for third, while Auer and Jeff Weinart grabbed the final two UCI spots.
1. Tim Johnson, Saturn; 2. Mark Gullickson, Mongoose; 3. Johans Husbey, Independent Fabrication; 4. Kris Auer, Trek-LSV; 5. Jeff Weinert, Independent Fabrication; 6. Syzmon Niemotko, Evolution; 7. Ryan Leech, Aquafina; 8. Bill Eliston, Jaeger; 9. JD Boilermaker, Bike Reg.com; 10. Skip Menard, Snow Valley.
1. Lynn Bessette, Saturn;
2. Jen Dial, Ind Fab;
3. Rachael Lloyd, Santa Cruz;
4. Katie Compton, Wooden Wheels;
5. Thais de Silva, Wissahickon;
6. Josie SHew, First State;
7. Jessie Peil, Snow Valley;
8. Kelly Yoder, Talgo America;
9. Sami Fourneir, Snow Valley;
10. Tammy Ebersole, Evolution.