LAKE BLUFF, Illinois (VN) – 2011 Canadian national points race champion Jean-Michel Lachance (Rossetti Devo) put his track skills to work during yesterday’s Lake Bluff Twilight Criterium near Chicago to win the inaugural event and take a significant step towards the top of the USA CRITS Series overall standings.
Jeremy Durrin (J.A.M. Fund-NCC) took second on the day, with Rafael Meran (CRCA-Foundation) in third.
Lechance, along with his podium-mates, were part of a five-man escape group that took advantage of the technical aspects of the new course to lap the field with just 20 laps remaining in the race.
“[We thought we had a good chance to lap the field] pretty quickly because only after 10 laps we had a good gap and we were riding very smoothly and everybody was taking turns,” Lechance said. “We were able to lap the field because the course was pretty technical.”
Once Lechance and his four breakaway companions – Napiltano Rudolph, Meran Rafael (CRCA-Foundation), Sergio Hernandez (Jelly Belly), and Jeremy Durrin (J.A.M. Fund-NCC) – were tucked back into the main group, Lechance relied on help from veteran teammate and criterium specialist Emile Abraham to lock down his victory.
“I’m not very good pushing myself so Emile helped me a lot because he has a lot of experience. I followed him for a while and then he told me to go in front of him so he could protect me.”
Due to mechanical issues and some last minute illness within their squad it fell to just Abraham to keep vigilant and not allow Lechance’s opportunity slip away.
“Champion System got a train together for the lead out, and would just pass him on the long straightaway and take him near the front to make sure we didn’t get covered.” Abraham, who won the Master’s event earlier in the evening, said following the race.
“It was a nice, small tight course, so once we got in the turns he would stay in front again since other guys were chasing my wheel. I gave him a lead out during the last quarter of the lap. I knew that of the five, Meran was there going into the last turn but we did pass him on the home straight.”
It was Lechance’s first win of the year, following his recent training in Quebec, where he also happens to be one of the founders of the Tour of Quebec. The 25-year-old Canadian has twice seen top ten results in the Canadian national road race championships and was also the 2009 and 2010 team pursuit champion.
For his efforts in Lake Bluff, Lechance moves from 29th place in the Men’s USA CRITS standings to eighth overall. The top two of that competition remains a tight race with only 38 points separating Oscar Clark (UnitedHealthcare) and Luke Keough (Mountain Khakis-SmartStop). Colin Jaskiewicz (Champion System-Stan’s NoTubes) remains in third place.
During the women’s event Devon Gorry (NOW-Novartis) parlayed her early race aggressiveness into a breakaway move that she shared with Liza Rachetto (Primal-MapMyRide), and Kate Antonneau (Exergy-TWENTY12).
The gap they had on the other 46 riders in the field would only top out at 31 seconds, but that was enough for the trio to stay away.
“Our whole team was hoping to get a break going last night,” Gorry said after the race. “Wasn’t quite sure it was gonna stick, but we all started working. I knew I had a lot of strong riders behind us.”
With two laps to go Antonneau took a $100 lap prime and realized that she would have to position herself for a win as the cat and mouse tactics began amongst the leaders. But Gorry, who knew she didn’t have quite as good a sprint as the other two riders, opted for a surprise move on the final lap.
“They both have pretty good jumps, so I decided to go from the final and try to surprise them. There was a little bit of a headwind, and while I knew Liza was right on me, I held on.”
The 31 year-old Gorry usually assumes the role of workhorse for her team. And as an Ohio native who began competing seriously in the Chicago area, a win on familiar territory makes this a more special event.
“I use to live here, and did the Glencoe (Grand Prix) when it first started. So this feels like home when comes to cycling.”
1 Jean-Michel LECHANCE, Rossetti Devo
2 Jeremy DURRIN, J.A.M. Fund
3 Rafael MERAN, CRCA-Foundation
4 Sergio HERNANDEZ, Jelly Belly
5 Rudolph NAPOLITANO, CRCA-Foundation
6 Luke KEOUGH, Mountain Khakis-SmartStop
7 Colin JASKIEWICZ, Champion System- Stan’s NoTubes
8 Oscar CLARK, UnitedHealthcare
9 Shane KLINE, Mountain Khakis-SmartStop
10 Rahsaan BAHATI, Bahati Foundation
1 Devon GORRY, NOW-Novartis
2 Liza RACHETTO, Primal-MapMyRide
3 Kaitlin ANTONNEAU, Exergy-TWENTY12
4 Erica ALLAR, RideClean-PatentIt.com
5 Laura VAN GILDER, Mellow Mushroom
6 Christina GOKEY-SMITH, NOW-Novartis
7 Nichole WANGSGARD, Primal-MapMyRide
8 Alexis RYAN, TIBCO-To the Top
9 Sarah FADER, Pepper Palace-Spin-Tech
10 Cari HIGGINS, Exergy-TWENTY12
USA CRITS Series overall standings (after six events)
1 Oscar CLARK, UnitedHealthcare with 1076 pts
2 Luke KEOUGH, Mountain Khakis-SmartStop, 1038
3 Colin JASKIEWICZ, Champion System-Stan’s NoTubes, 1007
4 Euris R. VIDAL, CRCA-Foundation, 770
5 Emile ABRAHAM, Rossetti Devo, 791
6 Gavriel EPSTEIN, Champion System-Stan’s NoTubes, 729
7 Rafael MERAN, CRCA-Foundation
8 Jean-Michel LECHANCE, Rossetti Devo
9 Chad HARTLEY, Kenda-5-Hour Energy, 622
10 Frank TRAVIESO, Coco’s, 615
1 Erica ALLAR, RideClean-Patentit.com
2 Debbie MILNE, Absolute Racing-MSMOC
3 Colleen GULICK, Pure Energy-ProAirHFA
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