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NORTHAMPTON, Massachusetts (VN) — Mary McConneloug (Kenda-Seven) and Jeremy Powers (Rapha-Focus) both took narrow victories on Saturday at the Cycle-Smart International.
The longest-running UCI-sanctioned cyclocross race in the United States — which also serves as rounds five and six of the 2012 Shimano New England Professional Cyclocross Series —entered its 22nd year under sunny skies at Look Park in Northampton, and despite Hurricane Sandy’s effects on the Northeast, the course was completely dry.
In the women’s race McConneloug and Crystal Anthony (Cyclocrossworld.com) got away on the first lap, chased by Arley Kemmerer (C3-Athletes Serving Athletes) and Pedal Power Training teammates Anna Barensfeld and Sally Annis.
Anthony attacked and took a gap, but McConneloug, not one to go down without a fight, chased back on and countered with an attack of her own. The two traded shots throughout the race until Anthony bobbled on a challenging corner, letting McConneloug build a substantial gap in the final lap.
In a tremendous show of power, Anthony chased back on to within a bike length just as McConneloug completed a smooth ride for a clean win.
“There was awesome competition out there today. I’m excited that I have a good chance at the series,” said McConneloug.
Barensfeld broke away from the chase for a strong third.
A large group formed in the first few laps of the men’s race, including Powers — the U.S. cyclocross champion, ranked 10th in the world by the UCI — plus Jeremy Durrin and Anthony Clark (JAM Fund-NCC); Justin Lindine (Redline); Adam Craig; Cyclocrossworld.com teammates Dylan McNicholas and Shawn Milne; Dan Timmerman (RGM Watches-Richard Sachs); Raphael Gagne (Rocky Mountain Factory), and race organizer Adam Myerson (Team SmartStop-Mountain Khakis).
Gagne, Durrin and Craig all took turns leading the race as Powers sat back in second or third wheel. After several attacks put pressure on the group, a crash that took down Craig and Gagne saw Durrin and Lindine get away, chased by Milne.
Powers found himself chasing from further back with Timmerman and McNicholas in tow.
Lindine slipped on a corner, leaving Durrin alone in the lead. Milne and Powers both lit up the course to make contact with the leader, and then the U.S. champ attacked at the very last moment, hitting the final pavement stretch before the others to take a victory. Durrin took second with Milne third.
Sunday brings day two of the Cycle-Smart International and round six of the Shimano NEPCX series.