By Jason Sumner, VeloNews Associate Editor
One has nearly a lifetime’s worth of experience. The other was riding in the second cyclo-cross race her career. Still, the results were the same, as reigning world champion Erwin Vervecken and ‘cross newby Lyne Bessette walked away with wins at the opening round of the SuperCup series on a foggy Saturday afternoon in Gloucester, Massachusetts.
In the men’s race, Vervecken was making his competitive debut on American soil, but quickly showed it didn’t matter where he was racing. The lanky Belgium began the day hanging in a four-rider break that included 2001 U.S. national champion Tim Johnson (Saturn), 2001 SuperCup series champ Marc Gullickson (Mongoose-Hyundai), plus the current hottest American rider, Johnny Sundt (K2). But after enduring a barrage of early-race attacks from the American trio, Vervecken (SpaarSelect) decided he’d had enough, and blasted away on the paved finish-hill climb at the end of the third lap.
“They did their thing and then it was my turn,” said Vervecken of what would be the race’s decisive move.
Initially, Johnson was the only one able to keep a semblance of contact with Vervecken, but by the time the pair completed another lap of the 2.8km track, Vervecken had opened up a 10-second advantage. Behind, Gullickson was able to drop Sundt, but could never close down the margin to Johnson, which hovered around 20 seconds for the remainder of the race.
On then ensuing laps Vervecken slowly pulled away, putting about three seconds a lap into local favorite Johnson, who lives just 25 minutes away from Gloucester in Middleton.
“He just got into his rhythm and there wasn’t much I could do,” Johnson lamented. “His pace hurt me a lot.”
Vervecken finished the 11-lap race in 1:02:45, with Johnson 30 seconds back, followed by Gullickson at 0:52, then Sundt at 2:55, and Saturn’s Mark McCormack at 3:24. Mongoose-Hyundai’s Todd Wells narrowly missed the podium, finishing seven seconds back of McCormack.
Earlier on the damp fall day, it was Bessette winning her second cyclo-cross race in her second try. Second place went to defending SuperCup champion Anne Grande (Kona-Voicestream), who ended up five seconds back of Bessette, while Carmen D’Aluisio (Clif Bar) rounded out the top three.
“I got away at the start and was able to hold onto (the gap) for the rest of the race,” explained Bessette, who had an outstanding 2001 road campaign and used to run competitively.
Bessette’s early advantage would never grow past 10 seconds, but the fast track, which featured several long flat sections, played into her road-racing skills.
“I was able to get closer to her on the run-ups,” Grande said. “But she could push those big gears in the straight-aways, which made it hard to close her down.”
Bessette finished the six-lap race in 38:48, with Grande five seconds back, followed by D’Aluisio at 1:11, Jeannette Nussbaum (Bolla-Bianchi) at 1:39 and Emily Thorne (Cyclocrossworld.com) at 1:46.
Nearly all the racers will be back at it on Sunday, as the second stop of the regional ECV Cyclo-Cross series is set to take place on the same course. Check back to VeloNews.com for a report, plus results and photos.
SUPERCUP NO. 1, Gloucester, MA. October 13; Men; 1. Erwin Vervecken (B), SpaarSelect, 11 laps (2.8km per lap) in 1:02:45; 2. Tim Johnson, Saturn, at :030; 3. Marc Gullickson, Mongoose-Hyundai, at 0:52; 4. Johnny Sundt, K2, at 2:55; 5. Mark McCormack, Saturn, at 3:24; 6. Todd Wells, Mongoose-Hyundai, at 3:31; 7. Sten Raeymakers (B), Goed Verzekerd, at 3:42; 8. Frank McCormack, Saturn, at 3:57; 9. Ben Jacques-Maynes, Palo Alto-Bullion, at 4:02; 10. Peter Wedge, Kona-Voicestream, at 4:11; 11. Frank Mapel, Yeti-Pearl Izumi, at 4:20; 12. Justin Robinson, Palo Alto-Bullion, at 4:48; 13. Johannes Huseby, CCD-Volkswagen-Independent Fabrication, at 5:05; 14. Alex Candelario, Big Shark-Cannondale, at 5:41; 15. Josh Anthony, Saturn Development, at 5:58; Women; 1. Lyne Bessette (Can), Saturn, 6 laps (2.8km per lap) in 38:48; 2. Ann Grande, Kona-Voicestream, at 0:05; 3. Carmen D’Aluisio, Clif Bar, at 1:11; 4. Jeannette Nussbaum, Bolla-Bianchi, at 1:39; 5. Emily Thorne, Cyclocrossworld.com, at 1:46; 6. Gina Hall, Kona-Voicestream, at 1:53; 7. Mary McConneloug, Jamba Juice, at 2:00; 8. Shauna Gillies-Smith, Gearworks-SRP, at 2:27; 9. Christine Vardaros, Jamba Juice, at 2:50; 10. Rachel Lloyd, Team Spine, at 3:18; 11. Jodi Grosbeck, Putney-West Hill, at 3:28; 12. Jen Dial, Independent Fabrications, at 4:06; 13. Heather Szabo, Rocky Mounts-IMBA, at 4:24; 14. Jennifer Maxwell, Cane Creek, at 5:05; 15. Kathryn Roszko, BikeReg.com, at 5:15; Junior Men; 1. Jesse Anthony, Saturn Development, 7 laps (2.8km per lap) in 44:14; 2. John Hanson, NECSA-Coyote Hill, at 1:12; 3. Konrad LeBas, CCB International, at 2:17; 4. Chris Hill, NCC-BikeReg.com, at 2:28; 5. Ben Coleman, NECSA-Coyote Hill, at 2:29