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By Joshua Liberles
With many of their usual competitors in Colorado for the second weekend of the U.S. Grand Prix of cyclo-cross, Lyne Bessette (cyclocrossworld.com) and Chris Jones (Nerac) took big wins in Connecticut’s Chainbiter UCI Cyclo-cross race, hit by wet weather as Hurricane Noel moved up the Atlantic coast on Saturday.
Bessette back in form
Noel threatened to turn the Chainbiter into a messy affair. Less than 50 miles away, the winds whipped across southern Connecticut. The skies were ominous though relatively calm during the earlier events, but as the women’s race began the rain and winds picked up. The precipitation lasted long enough to make the course slick, then subsided in favor of a typical, blustery New England cyclocross day.
In addition to the return of cross-appropriate weather, Bessette’s performance also restored a sense of normalcy to the cyclocross circuit. After dominating Cross Vegas in the early season and putting together impressive displays in Gloucester, Massachusetts, Bessette’s health faltered in the last few weeks. The superstar didn’t look herself in the first U.S. Gran Prix events in Louisville, Kentucky, last weekend.
Apparently Bessette found the remedy she needed as she went to the front of the pack early in the elite women’s race and stayed there for the duration, tightening her grip on the Verge New England series jersey. She rode smoothly and steadily through the undulations of the Farmington, Connecticut course.
The rain made portions of the Chainbiter loop treacherous for the women. The weather conspired to transform the wide-open, roadie-friendly course into a more technical endeavor. The sandpit became heavy, the grass turns and paved corners turned slick, and several riders’ races came to early ends. Bessette, however, was unimpeded. Her lead grew to a maximum of about 20 seconds and the race turned into a scramble for the best of the rest as the Canadian shifted into cruise-control.
Natasha Elliott (Stevens Cross) and Rebecca Wellons (Ridley Factory Team) chased for the majority of the race. They were eventually joined by Maureen Bruno-Roy (Wheelworks) with two laps to go.
Bobbles and errors would prove decisive in the battle behind Bessette as the women’s race unfolded. Once Bruno-Roy joined the chase group, she pushed the pace through the more technical sections to create gaps and force errors by the other riders. A crash took Elliot out of the hunt for second, and left Wellons and Bruno-Roy to trade attacks. Wellons drilled it the final time through the sand pit and put Bruno-Roy on the defensive. Bruno-Roy was forced to accelerate hard out of the final corner in an attempt to catch back on, and slid out onto the tarmac. Wellons cruised in for second place, with Bruno-Roy able to hang on for third.
The women’s race saw the foulest weather of the day, as rain passed through and the sun even flirted with brief appearances during the men’s race. The course was well packed and tacky, and the strong field ready to tear it up.
The Nerac Team hit the front from the gun, with Adam Myerson taking the hole shot in front of teammate Jones and pushing the pace early. Myerson laid the groundwork at the front of the race before Jones was able to solo away.
“Adam gets a great start every time, and I ended up getting right behind him,” says Jones. “He got me into the clear, and it worked out perfectly.”
Jones was joined by Anthony off the front, with Troy Wells (Clif Bar), Davide Frattini (Colavita/Sutter Home), and Myerson battling behind to rejoin the leaders. Mark McCormack (Clif Bar) proved his resilience as he clawed his way back up to the chase group and joined his teammate.
The battle between Jones and Anthony lasted for three laps, with the sandpit again proving decisive. Anthony’s line seemed to disappear in the sand, and his miscue allowed Jones to open up a significant gap which continued to grow all the way to the finish line.
“I think I had about a 30 second gap, and decided to just smooth it out a little,” says Jones. “At Gloucester, it was kind of the same situation; I kept going too hard, and ended up flatting. So I just rode smooth and stayed away.”
After several podium appearances in this young cross season, a mechanical which robbed him of a win in Gloucester, and several crashes in the mud in the Louisville USGP, Jones put it all together in Farmington today. He brings incredible fitness from his road campaign, and the relative cross-newcomer has clearly put time into improving his technique.
The chase group worked together for a couple of laps in pursuit of Anthony and second place. As the gap narrowed, McCormack and Wells took turns attacking the group. “I finally snapped the rubber band and got off that group,” said McCormack.
What had looked like a sealed-deal for Anthony turned into a battle between coach and mentor McCormack and disciple Anthony. The two were locked in a dead heat going into the final slog through the sandpit. Anthony’s line proved better and he was able to distance himself from McCormack and roll in for second place. McCormack took third, Myerson out-kicked Frattini in the sprint for fourth, with Wells taking sixth place.
In the U-23 race-within-the-race, Jamie Driscoll (Fiordifrutta) distanced himself from Jerome Townsend (Ridley Factory) and Nicholas Keough (Jittery Joe’s / Sonic) to increase his series lead. Driscoll finished in 10th overall, with Townsend 15th and Keough hot on his heels in 16th.Men
1. Christopher Jones, Nerac Pro Cycling, 0:58:59
2. Jesse Anthony, Jamis, 0:59:10
3. Mark McCormack, Clif Bar, 0:59:10
4. Adam Myerson, Nerac Pro Cycling, 1:00:07
5. Davide Frattini, Colavita/Sutter Home Presented By Cooking Light,1:00:07
6. Troy Wells, Clif Bar 1:00:07
7. Tristan Schouten, Planet Bike, 1:00:30
8. Osmond Bakker, Stevens Racing 1:00:30
9. Matt Kraus, Rgm Watches – Richard Sachs 1:00:30
10. James Driscoll, Fiordifrutta, 1:00:30
11. Matt Shriver, Jittery Joe’s/Sonic Cyclocross 1:00:30
12. Ryan Leach, Gpoa-Cannondale 1:00:49
13. Justin Spinelli, Kbs/Medifast Pro Cycling Team, 1:01:07
14. Michael Garrigan, Jetpower/ Epic Ride, 1:01:43
15. Jerome Townsend, Ridley Factory Team, 1:01:49
16. Nicholas Keough, Jittery Joe’s/Sonic Cyclo-cross, 1:01:49
17. Alec Donahue, Joe’s Garage, 1:02:05
18. Derrick St John, The Cyclery, 1:02:05
19. Adam Mcgrath, Maxxis / Litespeed, 1:02:29
20. Weston Schempf, C3-Sollay.com, 1:02:29
21. Daniel Neyens, Hagens-Berman Cycling Team, 1:03:39
22. Josh Dillon, Fiordifrutta, 1:03:39
23. Christian Favata, Alan North America, 1:03:39
24. Morgan Macleod, Mechanical Services/Cyclemania, 1:03:39
25. Justin Lindine, Targetraining / Fastar, 1:03:39
26. Kevin Wolfson, Dartmouth Cycling, 1:04:42
27. Ryan Fleming, Everactive.com/Workers Comp Solutions/Legal Sea Foods,1:04:59
28. Hunter Pronovost, Anthem-CCCC, 1:05:07
29. William Dugan, CCB/Volkswagen, 1:05:17
30. John Burns, Bikeman.com, 1:05:24
31. Peter Rubijono, Cambridge Bike/Igleheart Frames, 1:05:39
32. Corey Boilard, 1:05:51
33. Adam Sullivan, NBX/Narragansett Beer Cyclocross, 1:06:09
34. Daniel Coady, We Love Bicycles, 1:06:09
35. Dan Langlois, Circle A / The Hub, 1:06:23
36. Benjamin Popper, Twin 6 / Killjoy, 1:06:34
37. Aaron Oakes, Van Dessel, -1 Lap
38. Jamie Belchak, Nav/Classbook.com, -1 Lap
39. Amos Brumble, CCB Volkswagon, -1 Lap
40. Dylan O’sullivan, Housatonic Wheel Club, -1 Lap
41. Ward Solar, Verge Sport / Test Pilot, -1 Lap
42. Michael Norton, Verge Sport / Test Pilot, -1 Lap
43. Brian Hayes, Rgm Watches / Richard Sachs, -1 Lap
44. John Hanson, Fast/If Powered By Lionette’s, -1 Lap
1. Lyne Bessette, Cyclocrossworld.com, 37:59
2. Rebecca Wellons, Ridley Factory Team, 38:08
3. Maureen Bruno Roy, Wheelworks, 38:16
4. Natasha Elliott, Stevens Cross, 38:33
5. Melanie Swartz, Velo Bella Kona, 40:11
6. Amy Wallace, Rgm Watches – Richard Sachs, 40:25
7. Anna Milkowski, Velo Bella-Kona, 40:49
8. Cris Rothfuss, Nebc/Cycle Loft/Devonshire Dental, 40:56
9. Joanie Caron, Team Cascades, 41:05
10. Perri Mertens, Cambridge Bicycle/Igleheart Frames, 41:08
11. Sara Cushman, Gear Works/Spin Arts, 41:12
12. Jennifer Stebbins, Workers Comp Solutions/Everactive, 41:13
13. Alie Kenzer, Rgm Watches – Richard Sachs, 41:14
14. Ann Hansgate, Terry Precision, 41:17
15. Marianne Stover, Independent Fabrication, 41:59
16. Erin Duggan, Anthem CCCC/ Live The Edge, 42:08
17. Kim Blodgett, Ridley Factory Team, 42:12
18. Megan Bilodeau, Hup United, 42:17
19. Melody Chase, Velo Bella – Kona, 42:20
20. Brenda Bahnson, Independent Fabrication, 42:20
21. Kathleen Billington, Schick, 42:39
22. Vicki Thomas, Stevens Cross, 42:46
23. Stephanie White, Unh Velo Bella, 42:50
24. Susan Maclean, Gear Works/Spin Arts Cycling Team, 43:28
25. Heidi Vonteitenberg, C3-Sollay, 43:58
26. Hannah Kirshner, Circle A Cyclocross The Hub, 44:13
27. Alex Jospe, International Bicycle Centers, 45:20
28. Laura Jensen, Benidorm/Eastern Bloc Cycling Club, 45:37
29. Sally Annis, NEBC/Cycleloft/Devonshire Dental, -1lap