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USGP of Cyclocross #3 - Mercer Cup - C1
West Windsor, New Jersey, USA, November 15, 2008
Race 3 - November 15: Elite Women
Gould muscles to victory and series lead
By Kirsten Robbins in West Windsor, New Jersey
Beijing Olympian Georgia Gould (LUNA) continued her strong season this afternoon when she converted a late-race lead into a solo victory ahead of team-mate Katerina Nash in trying conditions in Mercer County Park. Meanwhile, Maureen Bruno Roy (Seven) used her running skills through the thick mud to round out the podium placings with a solid third place.
Gould started the race just six points behind Nash in the USGP standings, but her victory bumped her into the leader's jersey with 133 points, just three points ahead of Nash, who sits on 130. Rachel Lloyd (California Giant Berry) remains in third place with 103 points.
"Katerina and I want Luna to be on the top of the USGP," said Gould. "I would prefer it was me and Katerina would prefer that it were her. But the second best thing is to have your team-mate up there. We work really well together but once it is down to the just two of us, we don't cut each other any slack.
"I tried not to give up and it was really hard because Katerina was out there and in some sections she would just ride away from me and in other sections I was so close to her," said Gould about her chase back to Nash on the last lap. "I remembered that she was faster riding up some of the stuff that I was running at first. I decided to ride the last climb on the last lap and she ran it. There was a lot of luck out there when it came to which line to pick. It was a hard fought battle and I had a lucky climb on that last climb."
Heavy rain fell on the course before the start of the women's forty five minute event. As predicted the rain softened the grounds and as each category raced prior to the women, the more the mud lifted and thickened on the three kilometer circuit. These very desirable cyclo-cross conditions forced the riders to run through much of the course and over many of its belgian-style features.
"I thought about the course last night, remembering it from last year," said Bruno Roy. "I prepared for the sand pit because I wanted to do well there, because it was the toughest part. When I arrived at the course today, the sand ended up being the easiest part of the circuit, compared to all the mud. It was a place where we could rest for a few seconds."
Gould and Wendy Simms (KONA) took the hole shot side-by-side into the start of the long sections of mud - a sector that was grass before the start of the day's event. Simms, fresh off of a Belgian campaign, put pressure on the front of the field during the first lap. Riders in tow included Nash and Bruno Roy, along with Lloyd, Natasha Elliott (Stevens) and Deidre Winfield (Velo Bella-Kona).
Gould and Nash paired up against the elite women's field in much the same fashion as in the Derby City Cup in Louisville in Kentucky, two weeks prior. With the thick mud weighing down the bikes, the duo picked up speed taking a spare bikes on the first run through the pits. They gained a sizable advantage upon exiting the pits, a lead that would continue to increase. "I was trying to keep a good line but riding really close to the tape and I ended up crashing a few times because of that," said Nash. "I got a little bit of practice in the mud in Europe this year but this was very extreme. I felt like I could ride very well but the running was killing me today."
Despite being tangled in course tape and sliding through the circuit's sludge the leading pair continued to increase they're advantage on the second lap. The chase group behind began to separate as Bruno Roy put pressure on them, using her technical skills and fast paced running. By the end of the second lap, Bruno Roy found herself alone, chasing after a USGP podium finish.
"It was important to get out front first to avoid any crashes," said Bruno Roy who has been a consistently in the top five placing this season. "Everytime someone retires, two really good riders take their place. So each year my fitness is the same. I work full time and I train as much as I can. It's hard when the competition keeps increasing every year. So if I can get the same place each year, I'm actually doing a lot better."
With a safe lead ahead of the other teams, Gould and Nash, equally matched, raced against one another for the top prize. Nash gained and held ten seconds on the penultimate lap while Gould struggled to close the distance from behind. However, Gould surprised the crowds when she caught and passed her team-mate with half a lap remaining.
"We don't take it easy on each other because we both want to win," said Nash regarding the good sportsman ship between the two talents. "We were battling against one another out there and that is what really makes us better. We are very competitive and that does really well for us on the team. We both have a good lead over third place in the USGP and there are three races left so hopefully after tomorrow we will increase that lead and then just battle it out to see which one of us is going to get it."
The racing will continue in Mercer County Park for round four of the USGP on Sunday.
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Mitch Clinton/www.clintonphoto.com
Images by Todd Leister/leisterimages.com
Images by Dave McElwaine/www.trailwatch.net
1 Georgia Gould (LUNA) 2 Katerina Nash (Luna Women's MTB Team) 3 Maureen Bruno Roy (MM Racing p/b Seven Cycles) 4 Rachel Lloyd (California Giant Berry Farms/Specialized) 5 Wendy Simms (Kona) 6 Deidre Winfield (Velo Bella - Kona) 7 Natasha Elliot (EMD Serono/ Stevens) 8 Amy Dombroski (Velo Bella - Kona) 9 Sue Butler (MonavieCannondale.com) 10 Meredith Miller (California Giant Strawberries/ Specialized) 11 Josie Jacques-Maynes (Specialized/KMC pb Cal Giant) 12 Laura Van Gilder (C3 Sollay) 13 Kathy Sherwin (Velo Bella - Kona) 14 Kristin Wentworth (Planet Bike) 15 Sally Annis (NEBC/Cycle Loft/Devonshire Dental) 16 Anna Milkowski (Velo Bella-Kona) 17 Melanie Swartz 18 Kaitlin Antonneau (Nova Cycle Sport Foundation) 19 Nikki Thiemann (Human Zoom Pabst Blue Ribbon) 20 Arley Kemmerer (Hub Racing) 21 Rebecca Wellons (Ridley Factory Team) 22 Amy Wallace (Richard Sachs) 23 Linnea Koons (International Bicycle/Global) 24 Jennifer Maxwell (Team Kenda Tire) 25 Kristin Gavin (Human Zoom/Pabst Blue Ribbon) 26 Lauri Webber (Secret Henry's Team) 27 Elizabeth Frye (Boone Velo) 28 Vicki Thomas (Ottawa Cross) 29 Perri Mertens (Embrocation Racing/Cambridge Bicycle) 30 Patty Buerkle (Vanderkitten) 31 Kristine Church (Human Zoom/ Pabst Blue Ribbon) 32 Rebecca Blatt (Team Kenda Tire) 33 Kristy Swope (EPS/CSS/Riptide cycling'A') 34 Tara Parsons 35 Diane Grim (C3-Sollay.com) 36 Julie Kuliecza (ALAN North America Cycling) 37 Jill Waggett (Guy's Racing) 38 Heidi Von Teitenberg (C3-Sollay.com) 39 Tammy Ebersole 40 Whitney Kroll (Cane Creek)