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By Matt Ringgenberg
Following Friday’s rain soaked criterium championship in downtown Madison, Wisconsin the 2004 collegiate national championship continued Saturday when students from around the country participated in a brutal road race through the blossoming countryside of Black Earth, WI.
In the first event of the day, the Division 1 women’s road race, a daring breakaway went clear of the main field on the first lap of the 60 mile, four lap race.
At its peak, the break would enjoy a lead of almost two minutes, but the early success would not come without a price, as the course’s two brutal climbs would cut the break in half before the riders finally glimpsed the finishing stretch.
“The last climb really hurt,” said Berkley’s Stephanie Graeter of the famed Sutcliffe road climb, which tips upward at a gradient of 19 degrees at its steepest point. “I have trouble on such steep climbs, but I gave it my all.”
But despite the climb’s brutality, Graeter still managed to lead-out a long sprint, holding on to take victory ahead of Virginia’s Andrea Dvorak.
“I’m not, per se, a sprinter, but I like out sprinting other climbers,” exclaimed a triumphant Graeter.
Twenty minutes later, the women’s Division 2 race finished in a thrilling, all be it unconventional, fashion.
A group of two riders, New Mexico State’s Merrill Sapp and Whitman College’s Laura Matsen, broke away from the lead group with less than a mile to go. As the pair approached the finish line, they began the sprint while riding shoulder to shoulder. As the enthusiastic crowd cheered them on, the two women found themselves sprinting side by side for the last quarter mile. In the end, it was Sapp’s infallible resolve that allowed her to hold on for the narrow victory. “I’m glad it turned out that way,” commented Sapp on the sprint to the finish, “because I hate when you’re playing cat and mouse at the end. I didn’t want to just sit on her and then jump.”
Four hours later, when the men’s Division 1 race was wrapping up its 75 mile journey around the Black Earth countryside, a similar finale was shaping up.
Taking a lesson from the women’s races earlier in the day, the men’s Division 1 pack seemed unwilling to let any breaks go clear. However, despite the group’s best effort at keeping the race together, Stanford’s Chris Montague-Breakwell managed to slip away on the penultimate climb. Soon after, he would be joined by Marc Collard of the University of California-Davis, and the two would see their lead grow to over a minute. However, as the pair approached the last corner, their once comfortable lead had shrunk to a mere two seconds. “I was away all by myself for almost the whole first lap and my legs weren’t feeling that good,” exclaimed Collard of his late race move with Montague-Breakwell.
But despite the fatigue from his early move, Collard and Montague-Breakwell would stay clear, barely, with Collard taking the title in a two man sprint.
“Marc was just killing me,” remarked Montague-Breakwell of Collard’s strength over the last few miles. “Marc was the best rider today.”
In the final event of the day, Dartmouth’s Michael Barton once again showed why Dartmouth was the defending national team champion. Only one day removed from his victory in the criterium, Barton and teammate Todd Yezefski dominated the men’s Division 2 event, taking the top two positions while controlling the race all day long.
“The plan was actually for me to lead Todd out today,” said Barton after taking his second title in as many days. “But, we were the only ones who were actually willing to do some work today, and it paid off.”
The racing concluded Sunday, when the riders took to the streets outside of Trek Bicycle’s Waterloo factory to compete in the team time trial.
Division 1 Road Race – Men
1. Marc Collard, California – Davis, 3:10:11
2. Chris Montague-Breakwe, Stanford, same time
3. Rahsaan Bahat, Indiana, same time
4. Todd Henriksen, U of Georgia, same time
5. Bryan Smith, Wisconsin – Madison, same time
6. Nicholas Reistad, Wisconsin – Madison, same time
7. Dan Bowma,n Fort Lewis, same time
8. Geoffrey Rosebroek, NC State, same time
9. Andrew Touchstone, California – Santa Cruz, same time
10. Ken Hanson, Cal Poly SLO, same time
11. Galen Erickson, Washington, same time
12. Christoph Herby, Virginia, same time
13. Benjamin Haldeman, California – Berkely, same time
14. Cody Peterson, Fort Lewi,s same time
15. Jason Wood,s Purdue, same time
16. John Delong, Virginia Tech, same time
17. Anthony Colby, Fort Lewis, same time
18. Rob Bescheinen, Colorado State, same time
19. Kyle Colavito, Arizona, same time
20. Dan Cassidy, Vermont, same time
Division 1 Road Race Women
1. Stefanie Graeter Wyrick California – Berkely, 2:53:20
2. Andrea Dvorak, Virginia, same time
3. Sarah Bickerstaff, Penn State, same time
4. Marrisa Asplund, Fort Lewis, same time
5. Megan Winnenberg, Ohio State, 2:11:00
6. Darcie K. Murphy Utah State, 2:39:00
7. Kopernile Carrieann, Wisconsin – Milwaukee, 2:50:00
8. Jenn Wangerin, Indiana, same time
9. Jennifer Purcell, Midwestern State, same time
10. Margot Herman, Cornell University, same time
11. Eszter Horanyi, Colorado – Boulder, same time
12. Nicole Vincent, Indiana, same time
13. Caroline Soong, Purdue, same time
14. Rosemary Garlapow, New York – Buffalo, same time
15. Gretchen Czaja, New Hampshire, same time
16. Kristen Wentworth, Wisconsin – Madison, same time
17. Jessica Lindemann, Indiana, same time
18. Irene Mercer, Fort Lewis, same time
19. Briana Kovac, Indiana, 3:48:00
20. Sarah Germundson, Colorado State, 8:50:00