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On the heels of their victories on Saturday, Kaitie Keough and Stephen Hyde won Sunday’s cyclocross races in West Warwick, Rhode Island, wrapping up a shining weekend for the Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com team amid rainy conditions.
Keough wins by comfortable margin
From the gun, Keough emerged at the front of the race, joined by Regina Legge (Trek) and Ruby West (Specialized-Tenspeed Hero).
The muddy conditions seemed to catch some of the riders off-guard.
“We were contending equally with the course as with the conditions of the course,” said Rebecca Fahringer (Kona-Shimano). “It’s tricky in this situation because parts were slick mud. Nobody expected the sandy ground here to get slick, but it was. This slick mud was like we’ve never seen it, in combination with the tough roots. This was an NBX like no one has ever seen.”
First Legge faded from the picture at the front.
Then, West fell off the pace after two laps and Keough’s lead went out to about 11 seconds.
Fahringer battled up to third place after a poor start. She also had to overcome a crash on the first lap of the race.
“I tapped my brakes at the wrong time, lost my bike,” said Fahringer. “I was down on the ground, hunkered down, and yelled, ‘Please, nobody hit me,’ as the field goes on either side. Luckily, nobody hit my bike. Nobody hit me. So I was up and clear, so that’s good, not quite last. Fought through the field, and honestly, was just thinking it’s going to be good to finish. Somehow, I managed to stay on the podium despite a pretty big mistake at the start. I was pretty happy about that.”
Going into the bell lap, Keough’s lead stood at around half a minute. Although West trimmed that lead considerably on the final circuit, Keough went on to win the day.
“I just tried to follow her for as long as possible, to see the lines she was taking, figure out the course a little better than yesterday,” said West. “I think I was being pretty smooth out there. I think I had only one or two close calls. So I’m really happy with how I was riding today. I’m thrilled with second place.”
Fahringer held on for third and in doing so won the overall in the Vittoria Northeast Cyclocross Series.
Hyde confirms he’s back to his best
The rain eased up in time for the elite men’s race, and any clouds of doubt about Hyde’s form were blown clear as the national champion took control to win his second race in a row.
Returning to racing after an ankle injury suffered at Pan-American Championships in early November, Hyde seemed back to normal, making the first selection on lap one with his teammate Curtis White, Jeremy Powers (Pactimo-Fuji), and Kerry Werner (Kona-Shimano).
“The first couple of laps, there was a group of four of us,” Werner said. “We went out with Stephen [Hyde]. Then it just split.”
Hyde and Werner dispatched White after three laps.
Powers was following about 15 seconds behind with another Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com rider, Spencer Petrov.
“Stephen [Hyde] and I were trading turns at the front early,” Werner added. “That kind of separated Powers first, then Curtis [White]. Later on in the race, I just got a little gassed. Maybe a little bit of fatigue from the last training block, or Stephen just coming on really strong going into nationals. The last two laps he just got away from me. That was all she wrote.”
Hyde got clear on the course’s hilly section with two to go and rode alone to victory.
“When we came through the up-down section after the barriers, which is difficult to ride, I came into it with a little tiny bit of a gap,” Hyde said about making a winning move with two laps to go. “I just happened to nail it on that ride. No forced acceleration or anything, I just happened to nail it. I got good speed out of it and I was able to hold that gap.”
Werner and White came home second and third, respectively.
White took consolation in winning the overall Vittoria Northeast Cyclocross Series. “I think the Vittoria Series is something special,” said White. “They do a wonderful job for this sport in this area with the development and focus towards the elites. I just tried to bring my best to the start line. You know, this weekend with it being a C1, there were a lot of fast guys bringing their A games and getting ready for nationals. I think it was a treat to race at that level.
“Hyde and Kerry [Werner] were riding really well today. I tried to stay with them, but I wasn’t on the best form today. I don’t think I recovered as well as I could have from yesterday. But one bad day out of the entire Series, I’m not too disappointed in the grand scheme of things.”