By Jason Sumner, VeloNews Associate Editor
Erwin Vervecken and Lyne Bessette each made it 2-for-2 for the weekend by winning the second stop of the ECV Cyclo-Cross series on Sunday at Stage Fort Park in Gloucester, Massachusetts. A day earlier, the pair took victory in the opening round of the SuperCup series held on a slightly different track at the same seaside park in the famous New England fishing town.
Bessette’s second win of the weekend was nearly identical to her first. On a chilly and misty day, the Canadian road star powered away from eventual second-place finisher Ann Grande early in the race, then used her superior abilities in the two long, flat straight-aways to steadily build her advantage.
“Today was better for me,” said the Saturn rider, who has now won all three of the cyclo-cross races she has ever participated in. “This course was a little faster and that meant I could push big gears.”
The result of all that time in her big ring was a 33-second margin over Grande (Kona-Voicestream) at the finish. Carmen D’Aluisio (Clif Bar) was third at 1:20, meaning the top three was identical for both races. Emily Thorne improved one place from Saturday, taking fourth, as did Gina Hall (Kona-Voicestream), who was fifth.
The men’s race also bore a distinct resemblance to Saturday’s SuperCup opener. After some early jostling in the pack, Vervecken (SpaarSelect) and Tim Johnson (Saturn) pulled away, opening an eight-second advantage at the end of the first lap. Behind the two runaways was a strong chase group that included Canadian national ‘cross champion Peter Wedge (Kona-Voicestream), ECV Round 1 winner Johnny Sundt (K2), Mark McCormack (Saturn), and 2001 SuperCup overall winner Marc Gullickson (Mongoose-Hyundai).
But Johnson, the reigning U.S. national champion, and Vervecken, the 2001 world champion, were in a different league on this day, and the pair worked together to steadily pull away from the chasers.
The battle for first place was decided coming out of the sandpit (actually a pair of volleyball courts) when Johnson was slowed for just a moment as he struggled to get back in his pedals. It was an opportunity Vervecken wouldn’t miss, as the lanky Belgium hammered his pedals and quickly built a five-second advantage.
Johnson would battle gamely in the final five laps, but Vervecken was simply too strong, and crossed the finish line with the same five-second lead he’d built earlier in the race.
“He’s so strong and smooth,” said Johnson of the man who relegated him to second-place two days in a row.
McCormack and Gullickson, who rode most of the race together, waged the battle for third place. At the end though, it was McCormack who was the stronger rider, gaining 10 seconds on the final lap. McCormack’s brother, Frank, took fifth, chasing down, then passing Wedge, Sundt, Alex Candelario (Big Shark-Cannondale) and Palo Alto-Bullion’s Justin Robinson.
ECV CYCLO-CROSS NO. 2, Gloucester, MA. October 14; Men; 1. Erwin Vervecken (B), SpaarSelect, 11 laps in 1:01:50; 2. Tim Johnson, Saturn, at 0:05; 3. Mark McCormack, Saturn, at 1:52; 4. Marc Gullickson, Mongoose-Hyundai, at 2:02; 5. Frank McCormack, Saturn, at 2:42; 6. Peter Wedge (Can), Kona-Voicestream, at 3:15; 7. Johnny Sundt, K2, at 3:59; 8. Alex Candelario, Big Shark-Cannondale, at 4:16; 9. Sten Raeymakers (B), Goed-Verzekerd; 10. Justin Robinson, Palo-Alto-Bullion; 11. Todd Wells, Mongoose-Hyundai, all s.t.;Women;1. Lyne Bessette (Can), Saturn, 7 laps in 44:40; 2. Ann Grande, Kona-Voicestream, at 0:33; 3. Carmen D’Aluisio, Clif Bar, at 1:20; 4. Emily Thorne, Cyclocrossworld.com, at 2:20; 5. Gina Hall, Kona-Voicestream, at 3:04; 6. Christine Vardaros, Jamba Juice, at 3:07; 7. Marry McConneloug, Jamba Juice, at 3:14; 8. Shauna Gillies-Smith, Gearworks-SRP, at 3:41; 9. Katrina Davis, Richard Sachs, at 3:57; 10. Jen Dial, Independent Fabrication, at 4:02