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By Jeffrey Bramhall
The day was marked by strong winds and moderate temperatures in the 40s, as Mary McConneloug (Kenda-Seven-NoTubes) and Jeremy Powers (Cannondale-cyclocrossworld.com) scored wins Saturday in Sterling, Massachusetts, in the eleventh round of the Verge New England Cyclo-Cross Series.
The women’s race shook out quickly with McConneloug, Andrea Smith (Minuteman Road Club), Rebecca Wellons (Team Plan C) and series leader Maureen Bruno Roy (MM Racing) off the front by the time they reached the horse jump only a third of a lap into a challenging course.
A bottleneck in the set of turns directly after the horse jump helped to make the selection, allowing the four women in the front to create an insurmountable lead. From there on, it was a game of strength with McConneloug able to extend herself beyond her chasers.
Behind her, Smith broke free only a few seconds behind but was never able to close the gap. In pursuit of her, Wellons and Bruno Roy matched each other on strength, but were never able to close down the space to Smith who ended up second.
Coming into the finishing straight, Bruno Roy attempted to put some space between herself and Wellons but was unable to shake her. Wellons timed her sprint perfectly and came around for a podium finish. Despite her fourth place, Bruno Roy maintains her hold on the leader’s jersey for another day.
In the elite men, last-minute registrant Jeremy Powers took control of the race quickly, starting at the front of a group containing Adam Myerson (Cycle Smart), elite series leader Dan Timmerman (Richard Sachs-RGM-Radix), and U-23 series leader Luke Keough.
A brief bobble by Keough in front of Myerson gave Powers and Timmerman the space they needed to make the day a two-horse race. Behind them a strong and motivated chase group of Myerson, Josh Dillon (Richard Sachs-RGM-Radix), Justin Lindine (bikereg.com-Joe‘s Garage-IF), Will Dugan (Richard Sachs-RGM-Radix), Justin Spinelli (Svelte Cycles) and Mike Broderick (Kenda-Seven-NoTubes) formed up.
Powers and Timmerman, however, managed to hold the chase at arm’s length for much of the race, despite a brutal headwind that stopped them both dead in their tracks at one point. Taking advantage of the wind, Lindine attacked his group and made contact with the two leaders. The catch was met with great enthusiasm from the crowd, but it was short-lived as Powers and Timmerman had no interest in a passenger on that train.
The two leaders quickly poured on the gas before Lindine had a chance to recover from his chase. In a similar fashion, Powers turned on his afterburners and very slowly rode Timmerman off his wheel, little by little, Timmerman found himself alone.
Powers cruised home for yet another victory on his stellar season. Timmerman maintained his second through the finish with Lindine rounding out the podium. Jerome Townsend (bikereg.com-Joe’s Garage-IF) fought his way up and won a four-way sprint for seventh and the U-23 victory.
Racing on Sunday begins at 8:30am with the Cat4 and Cat4 35+ race. Tom Stevens’ new course for the Sunday race is expected to add a number of new features and take even better advantage of the Chocksett Middle School grounds. It will be the last race before the decisive series finale next weekend in Warwick, Rhode Island.