Rochette, the reigning Pan-American champion, won both races at the Rochester Cyclocross, the second round of the 2019 USA Cycling ProCX calendar, held in upstate New York. The race was held on a 3.2-kilometer course that carves a U-shape through Rochester’s Genesee Valley Park.
Saturday’s race held UCI C1 status, the top designation below World Cup and UCI world championships-level races. Rochette made her move on the second of six laps. Behind, a battle erupted for the podium between reigning Under-23 national champion Clara Hosinger (S&M Cyclocross), Kaitlin Keough (Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com), Caroline Mani (Pactimo-Colorado Proud), and Rebecca Fahringer (Kona-Maxxis-Shimano).
Hosinger distanced the group on the penultimate lap, with Keough grabbing the final podium spot.
“I’m feeling great. I’m very happy,’ Rochette said. “I was a little bit of a ball of nerves at the start. You never know, first race, I think I’m feeling good but how everyone is going to be, so I’m excited, I’m happy that it went well.”
Rochette won Sunday’s race in even more dominating style, accelerating away early and then holding off her rivals by more than a minute. Hosinger again finished second, with Fahringer taking the final podium position.
The men’s elite races produced two different winners from a group of North American and European riders. Reigning U.S. champion Stephen Hyde and Curtis White (both Cannondale-Cylcorossworld.com) battled with visiting Belgians Diether Sweeck (Pauwels Sauces-Prediction) and Vincent Baestaens (Group Hens-Maes Containers), and Swiss rider Timon Ruegg (SwissRacingAcademy).
After a flurry of early attacks Baestaens was an early aggressor, attacking and drawing out Hyde, Sweeck, and White. Hyde attacked with three laps to go, and then, on the ensuing lap, Baestens made what would be his winning move.
“I was thinking [it was time go to.] Otherwise when you wait, always longer and longer, it’s going to be more difficult because some riders are getting better and better lap after lap,” Baesteans said. “So at two laps [to go], I think it’s time to do a move, and it turned out pretty well. I came out of the technical part and I looked back and said ‘oh I have a gap’ and so I was going full gas to the finish.”
Sweeck attacked the group to finish second, while Hyde took third place, 21 seconds behind the winner.
On Sunday it was White who was the primary aggressor, attacking from the gun to draw out the strongest riders. The group raced together for the opening three laps until White again made a move, accelerating away.
“It seemed like that we were a step ahead of them in some of these sections but after getting four laps to go, I jumped ahead in the wooded section, and I came out with a gap,” White said. “I saw that they were starting to play tactically behind. Hyde was playing the team mate role behind and being a big help. I just tried to keep it consistent, keep telling myself, I’m good, be patient, focus where your head and hands are and the form will come.”
White slowly added to his advantage and eventually took the victory. Behind, Sweeck and Hyde battled for the second and third spots, and the race came down to a photo finish, with Sweeck narrowly taking the advantage in a sprint.
The ProCX series continues September 13-14 with the Jingle Cross race weekend and World Cup openenr in Iowa City, Iowa.