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By VeloNews Interactive
Amber Itle (Yellow Breeches Racing) and Ryan Leech (Fort-GPOA) claimed victory on Saturday as the 2004 Verge Mid-Atlantic Cyclo-Cross Championship Series kicked off in New Castle, Delaware.
Rain on Friday made the Blue Diamond Park course even more treacherous in its second running, and a multi-rider pile-up in one of the muddy turns caused a split in the elite women’s field that sent Itle, Melanie Swartz (Squadra Coppi), Betsy Schauer (Fort-GPOA), Caroline Hacker (Evolution Racing) and First State Velo Sport teammates Josie Shew and Lisa Vible off the front.
Itle took the lead on the technical course, riding a section that the others had to run, and started to put time on the group. Behind her Swartz and Schauer battled for second with Schauer overtaking Swartz on the final lap.
In the elite men’s race, Bill Elliston (TSG Racing) got the hole shot but was soon overtaken by a group of five that contained Leech, Mike Yozell (Fort-GPOA), Joe Reynolds (Wissahickon), Kris Auer (Alan Mid-Atlantic) and U23 rider Greg Wittwer (Cyclocrossworld.com).
Leech launched an attack that the other four could not answer, pulled away and never looked back, soloing across the line to repeat his win of 2003. Auer beat Reynolds to the line in the race for second.
Mid-Atlantic Series racing continues on Sunday with the Evo Cross in Buckingham, Pennsylvania.
Verge Mid-Atlantic Cyclo-Cross Championship Series
Blue Diamond Park, New Castle, Delaware
Elite men1. Ryan Leech, Fort-GPOA
2. Kris Auer, Alan Mid Atlantic
3. Joe Reynolds, Wissahickon
4. Gregory Wittwer, cyclocrossworld.com
5. Mike Yozell, Fort-GPOA
6. Greg Marini, Bike Doctor
7. Gunnar Shogren, Fort-GPOA
8. Andrew Wulfkuhle, Alan Mid Atlantic
9. Leslie Leach, Wissahickon
10. Ryan Dewald, Snow Valley
1. Amber Itle, Yellow Breeches Racing
2. Betsy Schauer, Fort-GPOA
3. Melanie Swartz, Squadra Coppi-IM Saab
4. Josie Shew, First State Velo Sport
5. Caroline Hacker, Evolution Racing
6. Megan Clark, Cycle-Smart
7. Lisa Vible, First State Velo Sport
8. Jennifer Maxwell, National Capital Velo Club
9. Lisa Most, Wissahickon
10. Tammy Ebersole Evolution Racing