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Whitmore's Landscaping Super Cross Cup #1 - C1
Southampton, New York, USA, October 6, 2007
World Champ confirms in Southampton
Wicks, Trebon & Johnson don't go down without a fight
By Laura Weislo in Southampton, New York
World cyclo-cross champion Erwin Vervecken came to America to win, and win he did - but the fight from the Americans was more intense than even he had expected. In the hot, dry and dusty conditions of a Long Island park, Vervecken held off Barry Wicks (Kona-YourKey) in a two man sprint for the win in the first race of the weekend in Southampton.
"It was tougher than I expected," Vervecken told Cyclingnews, his white champion's skinsuit blackened by sweat-dampened dust. "First of all with the jet-lag, I know from last times I raced in the States, that Saturday is hard. I hope I'll be better tomorrow."
It will be hard to improve upon victory, but Vervecken will hope to have less of a challenge from the lanky Kona team-mates Wicks and US Champion Ryan Trebon, who were able to take advantage of their numbers to try to crack the Belgian. Trebon looked to be the strongest challenger of the day, taking the lead on the first lap and powering up a steep incline that forced several riders to run, putting Vervecken in a traffic jam.
"I was on the front and could ride that hill," Trebon said. "It always happens that people get bunched up - I got a little gap and I could just ride the rest of the lap easy and take the prime." Trebon won some extra pocket change for hitting the line first on the end of lap one, but a chasing group of eight was right behind.
Vervecken put in several attacks that succeeded in whittling down the lead group over the first few laps - first to six, with Wicks, Trebon, Tim Johnson, Malte Urban, and Matt White, and then to an elite group of four that would provide a scintillating battle for the better part of the race.
"The track from 300m before the finish to the one kilometre after the finish was totally flat, and it's hard with the wind in front to make a gap," Vervecken explained of his attacks. "I took maybe five times about 10-20 metres, but they always came back."
Breaking up two long stretches of flat, dusty grass was a short, sharp rise that many riders had to run up, but the lead group could ride. Following the long stretch of grass was a gully filled with rocks that spelled trouble for Trebon. "I just had a couple problems in the ditch - one time I tried to go in full speed and I hit it and crashed. Next time I went through it fast again, my chain fell off and I had to chase a couple times," Trebon explained.
Trebon's second crash came with six laps to go, after the lead group had come down to just four, with himself, Vervecken, Wicks and Johnson building a steady lead over the rest of the field. He lost his chain in the gully, and had to spend precious seconds trying to get the chain back in place before setting off in pursuit.
Up ahead, Vervecken was giving no more gifts - while he had eased up after Trebon's second lap crash, with time ticking down, he kept a steady effort to prevent Trebon from rejoining his team-mate. "Trebon had first a crash then problems with the chain," Vervecken explained, but with Wicks on his wheel, and Johnson struggling to hold on, he had no help. "We really slowed down, and two times so he could come back - so it was not so easy. That was the hard part about it," Vervecken said of trying to foil the team tactics.
With Wicks sitting on, Trebon was putting in a furious chase, and made the crowds gasp with amazement as he picked up first Johnson, who had lost contact with the leaders, and then fought his way back to the wheel of Wicks with three to go. However, the effort had cost him, and Trebon resigned himself to working for the man who had helped him to numerous victories.
"With two and a half [laps] to go, after I got back up - I was just trying to keep Johnson off our group so that Barry could have a chance - because it seemed like he was going really well today," Trebon explained. "I wanted to make it easy on him so he could try and stay with Erwin for the sprint."
Trebon led the trio across the line as they began the penultimate lap, but once again, the rocky ditch would spell disaster for the US Champion. "I hit the section with the rocks there," he said. "I hit it hard. I was lucky I didn't flat - but I put a little crack in the wheel." With a dodgy rear wheel, Trebon quickly sat up to avoid further problems and possibly give up his third place position. "It's kind of annoying - riding over rocks on 'cross bikes just isn't ideal," Trebon lamented.
With Trebon gone, Wicks was on his own against the man in the rainbow stripes - something that understandably made him a bit nervous. "It was pretty cool," said Wicks of the experience. "I actually kind of gapped him on the ride/run up - we went into it side by side and I got by him, and then he made a little bobble. I saw I had a 20 metre gap and I just killed myself to try and stay away. But I got to the hill, and I could tell I wasn't going to be able to hold it - it was also kind of a headwind section, so I backed off to save some energy."
The world champion was back on the American's wheel as they came into the first of two sections of barriers, and the pair came out of the woods and into the finishing straight with Wicks on the front. "I got too excited and started sprinting from like 500m out. I'm not usually in that position because I'm usually working for Ryan - he was pretty tired and he set me up and I kind of blew it. But it's Vervecken and he's the world champ so you can't really complain that much," said Wicks.
Vervecken waited until the last moment to start his sprint, coming tight on the inside of a turn from the grass onto the pavement 100 metres before the line. "Luckily I was in second position and I could win the sprint," Vervecken explained. "Barry started the sprint very early, so I thought I just stay on the wheel for the last 100m and then I could come over."
The win was a bit of a relief for the Belgian, who was under pressure to live up to his third world title. "Normally they expect me to win so the only thing I could do is lose - because if I win it's normal, and if I lose then they could say hey, 'we beat him'," Vervecken said.
Compton seizes on Bessette's misfortune
The women's race looked to be a two woman affair, but after Lyne Bessette (Cyclocrossworld) suffered a first lap mechanical, the race was a one woman show from the reigning US Champion Katie Compton (Spike), who quickly distanced the rest of the field and soloed to victory with apparent ease.
Bessette took the hole-shot, and had the peloton single file before turning the screws on the grass where she pulled away a select group. "Lyne had the better start," Compton recalled. "I missed my pedal on the first stroke - I jumped on [Bessette's] wheel and she just kept it strong, so I sat on her wheel."
At the first long hill, Compton shot past, further whittling the group down to Bessette, Rebecca Wellons (Ridley Factory Team), Velo-Bella's Anna Milkowski, and Maureen Bruno-Roy, and then continuing to pour on the pressure through the barriers until it was just her and Bessette. "That run-up was pretty hard. It was easy to get a gap because it's hard to find your footing."
But the duel wouldn't last long as Bessette suffered a broken chain before the end of the first lap, losing 30 seconds to the US Champion. "I don't know what I did but it just popped," Bessette said. "At the entrance to the woods, my chain broke and Katie got a gap." The mechanical could have been worse, as her chain did not break completely, but the crack caused Bessette's chain to skip repeatedly, forcing her to limit her losses before making it to the pits for a bike change.
"I could ride because there were a few whoops in there and I was trying to get the momentum going, but when I got on the flat - it was one pedal stroke then slip, then one pedal stroke and then slip," Bessette explained. Compton held the same gap that she enjoyed at the end of the first lap for the rest of the race - credit to Compton's prowess, but also a sign that Bessette would have put in a gripping battle had she not suffered from bad luck. "She's as fast as me, so if she gets an inch in front of me I have to go faster than she does to catch her and I can't," Bessette said.
For Compton, the fact that the gap was because of a mechanical came as no surprise. "She never drops like that," Compton said of her close competitor. But she acknowledged Bessette's unfortunate situation. "It's hard to close the gap once it's there," she said, but also knew that she couldn't let up for a moment. "I kept the pressure on and tried not to make too many mistakes. I did have a few dabs, but otherwise it was a clean race for me."
With the leading pair riding away at a quick clip, the real racing was going on for third place. In the early laps, Milkowski looked to be the strongest, but midway through the race began to fade on the hilly section, and was caught and then passed by her teammate Barb Howe. Howe and Milkowski worked together to distance Bruno-Roy, and then Howe rode off solo to take the final podium spot.
Howe, without any UCI points to her name, had a poor starting position, and had a couple minor mishaps before setting off in pursuit of the leaders. "I started like third row, and then I hooked bars with someone, and then I swerved into someone - I felt really bad about it." Steadily working her way past the faster starters, Howe finally found daylight and cruised to third, but it wasn't an easy effort. "I moved up on the power parts of the course. It was really fast, but it seemed like we did an awful lot of laps. We could have done a lap or so less. It was awfully long."
Bessette took the bad luck in stride, hoping to get her chance in Sunday's race. "I usually do better the second day, but I felt good today on the first lap," she revealed. But her mechanical misfortune was something that didn't settle well. "It was just bad luck, and that sucks - I hate having bad luck like that because it's not your fault - it's the technical part - but that's part of racing."
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Laura Weislo/Cyclingnews.com
Elite Men 1 Erwin Vervecken (Bel) Fidea 1.00.11 2 Barry Wicks (USA) Kona 3 Ryan Trebon (USA) Kona 0.25 4 Timothy Johnson (USA) Team Leer/Cannondale/Cyclocrossworld.com 0.38 5 Jeremy Powers (USA) Cyclocrossworld.com 1.39 6 Malte Urban (Ger) 2.12 7 Matt White (USA) FiordiFrutta Elite Cycling Team 2.28 8 Greg Reain (Can) RWR/Colnago/Time 2.47 9 Ryan Leech (USA) GPOA-Cannondale 3.13 10 Mathieu Toulouse (Can) Maxxis 11 Troy Wells (USA) Team CLIF BAR Cyclocross 3.43 12 Jamey Driscoll (USA) FiordiFrutta Elite Cycling Team 3.52 13 Matt Shriver (USA) Jittery Joe's/Sonic Cyclocross 3.59 14 Tyler Johnson (USA) Alan North American Cycling Team 4.29 15 Jonathan Hamblin (USA) Richard Sachs/RGM 16 Jonathan Baker (USA) Primus Mootry 5.18 17 Weston Schempf (USA) C3-Sollay.com 6.04 One lap behind 18 Alec Donahue (USA) Joe's Garage 19 Matt Kraus (USA) RGM Watches / Richard Sachs 20 Dan Neyens (USA) Hagens-Berman Cycling Team 21 Josh Dillon (USA) Fiordifrutta 22 Toby Marzot (USA) Fiordifrutta 23 Kevin Wolfson (USA) CL Noonan/Coast to Coast/KAM 24 Kyle Douglas (Can) 3 Rox Racing 25 Derrick St John (Can) The Cyclery 26 Andrew Wulfkuhle (USA) C3/Sollay.com 27 Mark Batty (Can) TeamRace.com Elite Women 1 Katie Compton (USA) Spike Shooter 40.07 2 Lyne Bessette (Can) Cyclocrossworld.com 2.30 3 Barbara Howe (USA) Velo Bella Kona 4.41 4 Anna Milkowski (USA) Velo Bella-Kona 4.36 5 Maureen Bruno-Roy (USA) IF/Wheelworks 5.05 6 Megan Elliott (USA) 5.34 7 Rebecca Wellons (USA) Ridley Factory Team 5.37 8 Natasha Elliott (Can) Stevens Cross 5.49 9 Amanda Sin (Can) 3 Rox Racing 6.21 10 Erica Yozell (USA) FORT Factory Team 6.44 One lap behind 11 Amy Wallace (USA) RGM Watches / Richard Sachs 12 Marci Titus Hall (USA) DeSalvo Custom Cycles 13 Cris Rothfuss (USA) NEBC/Cycle Loft/Devonshire Dental 14 Jennifer Maxwell Team Kenda Tire 15 Pauline Frascone (USA) Independent Fabrication/Kempner 16 Arley Kemmerer (USA) Human Zoom/Pabst Blue Ribbon 17 Perri Mertens (Aus) Cambridge Bicycle/Igleheart Frames 18 Melanie Swartz (USA) Velo Bella - Kona 19 Stephanie White (USA) Velo Bella/Kona 20 Alie Kenzer (USA) RGM Watches / Richard Sachs 21 Megan Bilodeau (USA) Hup United 22 Rebecca Much (USA) Ridley Factory Team 23 Heidi Von Teitenberg (USA) C3-Sollay.com 24 Jennifer Stebbins (USA) Worker's Comp Solutions/Everactive 25 Brenda Bahnson (USA) Independent Fabrication 26 Kim Blodgett (USA) Ridley Factory Team 27 Beth Mason (USA) C3-Sollay.com Category 2/3 Men 1 John Brewer (Squadra Coppi/IM SAAB) 47.25 2 Don Snoop (Verge Sport/Test Pilot) 0.13 3 Brian Wolff (GBSC/Carl Hart Bicycles) 0.22 4 Gregory Lindstrom (Hunt Valley Bicycles/Marathon Roofing) 0.48 5 J Gabriel Lloyd (CRCA/ReMax) 0.59 6 Colin Sandberg (Meredith Group/GPOA Cannondale) 1.10 7 Jeremy Dunn (Cambridge Bicycle) 1.43 8 Charlie Rey (East End/Kreb Cycle) 2.04 9 Peter Bradshaw (Cambridge Bicycle / Igleheart Frames) 2.09 10 Mark Bavineau (Essex County Velo) 2.49 11 Tom Buttner (Verge Sport/Test Pilot) 4.14 12 Wade Summers (Horst-Benidorm-Property Research Corp) 13 Kansas Waugh (CRCA/Jonathan Adler Racing) 4.42 14 Frank Zgoda (Skylands Cycling) 5.51 15 Jason Parkin (CRCA/Blue Ribbon-Translations.com) 6.18 One lap behind 16 Robert Wolff (GBSC/Carl Hart Bicycles) 17 David Chiu (NEBC/Cycle Loft/Devonshire Dental) Masters 35+ 1 Roger Aspholm (Westwood Velo) 45.11 2 Todd Cassan (Westwood Velo) 1.34 3 Matthew Howard (GS Gotham) 2.22 4 Keith Gauvin (cyclonaut racers) 3.04 5 Christopher Long (Independent Fabrication/Gotham) 3.33 6 Reuben Kline (wildthyme/IF) 3.54 7 Aaron Richer (Claremont Cycle Depot/Team Pinnacle) 5.30 8 Basil Moutsopoulos (CRCA/Sakonnet Technology) 5.53 9 Paul Nyberg (Horst-Benidorm-Property Research Corp.) 10 Glenn Turner (Human Zoom / Pabst Blue Ribbon) 6.39 One lap behind 11 Eric Ragot (Kissena Cycling Club) 12 Steven Kane (Byron Lake/East End Cycling Team) 13 Eric Marro (BOB/Shift-Stonyfield Farm-Ariza-Goodales) 14 Timothy Shea (BOB/Shift-Stonyfield Farm-Ariza-Goodales) 15 Gary Giacchetto (East End/Kreb Cycle) 16 David Sanossian 17 Douglas Dicks (Bennett's Bikes) 18 Donald Catlin (Tokeneke Road Club) 19 Oscar Rosales (GS Gotham/Toga) 20 Perce Zahl (SBRA) 21 Richard Sachs (RGM Watches / Richard Sachs) 22 Charles La Punzina (Kissena Cycling Club) 23 Eben Weiss (GS Gotham) 24 Phil Pile (East End Cycling Team) 25 Neil Ross (Kissena) Juniors 15-18 1 Matthew Spinks (Skylands Cycling) 49.07 One lap behind 2 Joseph Favara (Hampton Velo) Category 3/4 Men 1 Eric Marro (BOB/Shift-Stonyfield Farm-Ariza-Goodales) 38.25 2 Ben Miller (Penn State) 0.05 3 Kim Riseth (CRCA / Jonathan Adler Racing) 0.34 4 George Milinkovic (Squadra Coppi/IM Saab) 0.58 5 Brian Lawney (Cornell Nordic) 1.27 6 Mark Pohndorf (Colavita Racing) 1.43 7 Jacob Sisson (Hampton Velo) 2.26 8 Kevin Horan (Colavita) 2.32 9 Dylan Schlott (BikeHampton) 10 Jonathan Sebat () 2.53 11 Nicholas Mashburn (Cambridge Bicycle/ Igleheart Frames) 3.29 12 Rob Spillman (Deno's Wonder Wheel) 13 Erik Peterson (Cambridge/Igleheart) 4.18 14 Joseph Tramontano (Connecticut Coast Cycling) 5.12 15 Chad Casselman (NY Velocity/CRCA) 5.41 16 Christophe Jammet (CRCA/ NYVELOCITY) 6.11 17 Saverio Fiorino (DC Racing/Danny's Cycles) 7.03 18 Todd Mcloughlin (Kissena) One lap behind 19 Joshua Storck (Brooklyn Velo Force) 20 Jay Mongillo (Keltic Construction / Zanes Cycles) 21 Todd Silski 22 Jason Gay (CRCA/Brooklyn Velo Force) 23 Eric Gottesman (www.ergottwheels.com) 24 Frank Dionisio (Kissena Cycling Club) 25 Richard Bravo (CRCA/NYVelocity) 26 Harry Skene (Sickler's) 27 Matthew Snow (BREAKING AWAY BICYCLES) 28 John Parbst (East End/Kreb Cycle) 29 Dwight Merriman (Hampton Velo) 30 Todd Seplavy (Iron Horse Bikes) Category 3/4 Women 1 Martha Bush (CRCA/Sanchez-Metro) 30.24 2 Cecelia Pleva (CRCA/Radical Media) 0.33 3 Liz Seward (CRCA/Third Nature) 2.37 4 Jessica Brewer () 2.50 5 Kathleen Wulfkuhle (C3-Sollay.com) 5.31 One lap behind 6 Kyra Kenwood (Carl Hart/GSBC) 7 Leah Pappas-Barnes (Independent Fabrication/Kittenpants!) 8 Cathy Wilson (GBSC/Carl Hart Bicycles) Cub Juniors 1 Tommy Goguen (Minuteman Road Club) 14.13 2 Peter Goguen (Minuteman Road Club) 0.59 3 Elizabeth White (NEBC) 1.27 4 Zach Bender (GS Park Ridge / Team Cyclesport) 1.39
2006 Ryan Trebon (USA) Kona Lyne Bessette (Can) Cyclocrossworld.com 2005 Mark McCormack (USA) Clif Bar Barbara Howe (USA) Velo Bella 2004 Mark McCormack (USA) Christine Vardaros (USA)