By VeloNews Interactive
The top North American cyclo-cross racers were in Amherst, Massachusetts on Saturday for Round 3 of the Verge New England Championship Cyclo-Cross Series in search of UCI points, which will be used for U.S. world’s team selection.
In the men’s elite race, an early attack saw Mark McCormack and Tim Johnson of Saturn joined by Marc Gullickson (Mongoose-Hyundai) break clear of the field on the University of Massachusetts at Amherst campus. For those in attendance last year,it was a familiar sight watching Gullickson take on the two Saturn riders.
However, things didn’t go according to plan when Johnson got a flat tire and had to let a gap form. McCormack immediately forced Gullickson to take the front with hopes that Johnson could regain contact.
But with Gullickson setting a fierce pace, Johnson never rejoined the leaders. McCormack attacked hard going into the final twisty wooded section and held off Gullickson over the final run-up to take the win.
Commenting on the Gullickson’s fate, McCormack said “He rode to beat Tim and neglected to think about me. Based on (my results of) the past few weeks — it was probably a good gamble.”
Coming into the race McCormack was hoping to finish top 5.
“To win blows me away,” the happy Saturn rider said.
Johnson held off the field to preserve his spot on the podium. Rounding out the top five were 2001 mountain bike revelation Todd Wells (Mongoose-Hyundai) and Kona-Voicestream’s Dale Knapp.
On the women’s side, Lyne Bessette (Saturn) came to Amherst with an undefeated record in cyclo-cross. In spite of the best efforts of the top American women, her perfect record stands. Bessette took the lead on the first lap and never looked back.
Afterwards, Bessette reported that she is “getting more comfortable in the technical sections”. She is also running quite a bit and has entered a 5km foot race. So although Bessette says she is racing cyclo-cross “just for fun”, the powerful Canadian is quickly building upon her already dominant cyclo-cross skills.
The real action took place behind Bessette in a three-woman group that included two Kona-Voicestream riders, Ann Grande and Gina Hall, and Carmen D’Aluisio (Cliff Bar).The outnumbered D’Aluisio stayed patient as Hall and Grande took turns attacking. Coming into the final run up, D’Aluisio turned the tables by launching an attack of her own that saw her go clear of the two teammates and secure second place.
“I think people forget that I have a good sprint,” D’Aluisio said afterwards. Grande took third with Hall finishing fourth.
Round 4 of the 2001 Verge New England Championship Cyclo-Cross Series will be the Plymouth Cyclo-Cross, held in Plymouth, Massachusetts on November 17.
AMHERST INTERNATIONAL CYCLO-CROSS, Amherst Mass. October 27, 2001; Elite Men (47 starters, 9 laps); 1. Mark McCormack, Saturn, 55:58; 2. Marc Gullickson, Mongoose-Hyundai, at 0:05; 3. Tim Johnson, Saturn, at 0:34; 4. Todd Wells, Mongoose-Hyundai, at 1:16; 5. Dale Knapp, Kona-Voicestream, at 1:24; 6. Ben Jacques-Mayne, Palo Alto-Bullion Stil, at 1:37; 7. Peter Wedge (Can), Kona-Voicestream, at 1:44; 8. Alex Candelario, Big Shark-Cannondale, at 1:46; 9. Frank Mapel, Yeti-Pearl Izumi, at 1:51; 10. Curt Davis, Wheelworks-Cannondale, at 2:30; Elite Women (24 starters, 6 laps); 1. Lyne Bessette, Saturn, 42:36; 2. Carmen D’Aluisio, Clif Bar, at 0:55; 3. Ann Grande, Kona-Voicestream, at 0:57; 4. Gina Hall, Kona-Voicestream, at 1:07; 5. Emily Thorne, Cyclocrossworld.com, at 1:49; 6. Jen Dial, Independent Fabrication, at 2:10; 7. Mary McConneloug, Jamba Juice, at 2:36; 8. Rachel Lloyd, Team Spine, at 2:58; 9. Shauna Gillies-Smith, Gearworks-SRP, at 3:21; 10. Jodi Groesbeck, Putney-West Hill, at 3:43