By Marc Gullickson
The Koppenberg Circuit Race lived up to its namesake on Sunday, dishing out rough dirt roads, wind and a leg-breaking climb that shattered fields and crowned two new champions in the elite men’s and women’s events: Will Frischkorn (Colavita-Bolla) and Ann Trombley (Excel Sports).
The women’s race didn’t stay together long, as Trombley, a former Olympic mountain-bike racer, Shannon Tupa (Tokyo Joe’s) and Erin Huck (Denver Spoke) surged up the rutted Koppenberg on the first lap and found themselves away early on.
Huck eventually dropped back, but even with the second group chasing hard, Trombley and Tupa were able to stretch their lead to a comfortable margin and set up for the finale knowing they would be sprinting for first and second. Trombley, using the strength that won her last weekend’s Excel Sports Boulder Stage Race, took the win from Tupa while Hutch came out of the chase group for a hard-fought third place.
The pace was sure to be high in the men’s pro-elite race with all of Boulder’s racing talent on hand, and riders were already in trouble as Jon Tarkington (Vitamin Cottage) sprinted over the Koppenberg for the first time.
The second lap saw Dan Bowman (TIAA-CREF) initiate the winning move of eight, but after a sharp acceleration on the climb by Chris Wherry (Health Net-Maxxis) this group was whittled down to six. Those left at the front included Tarkington and Vitamin Cottage teammates Chuck Coyle and Christian McCarthy; Jeff Courter (Al’s Barber Shop); Frischkorn; and Wherry.
The group worked well together and quickly built a margin over the chasers. However, Vitamin Cottage’s strength in numbers abruptly dwindled when McCarthy cramped and fell back, Tarkington flatted and Coyle and Courter couldn’t hold the pace.
With two laps remaining it was down to Wherry and Frischkorn. The two former Mercury teammates marked each other until the final accent of the Koppenberg, where Wherry attacked, opening up a small gap. It was not to be Wherry’s day, however – Frischkorn surged and beat him to the line.
“The conditions were tough out there with the wind and the rutted-out climb, but I felt strong all day,” said Frischkorn, who took his first win of the season, “The dirt on the last corner was really loose, and Chris took it a bit wide. I was able to squeeze by on the inside and hold on to the finish.”
See BoulderRacing.com for full results, more pictures, and a full event schedule.