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Luna’s Georgia Gould and Davide Frattini (Colavita) were the big winners in the Verge Mid-Atlantic Cyclo-cross series event in Bridgeton, New Jersey on Saturday.
A former Verge MAC champion, Gould returned to the series in spectacular fashion, starting her day by “warming up” in the men’s category 2/3/4 race. Starting near the back of the field of 55 riders, Gould steadily improved her position until she caught the leading pack of Jeremy Dunn (Cambridge), Patrick Bradley (Beacon), Kevin Kralik (Guys Cycles), John Brewer (Squadra Coppin/IM SAAB) and Verge MAC points leader Eric Linder (Hunt Valley Cycles), passing husband Dusty Labarr along the way. After battling with the leaders for a lap and a half, she dropped the hammer to win by a comfortable seven-second margin.
Properly prepped, Gould got serious for the elite women’s race. By the end of the first lap, Gould had a 26 second lead over the chase group of Rebecca Wellons (Ridley Factory Team), Mo Bruno-Roy (Independent Fabrications) and a resurgent Melanie Swartz (Velo Bella/Kona).
Of all the entire field, only Gould and Bruno-Roy didn’t appear to struggle on the course’s biggest obstacle: the climb up the (very) tall steps of the “Amphitheatre of Pain.”
On the second lap, Bruno-Roy attacked the chase group and chased after Gould, but Gould was too strong and won by more than two minutes. Behind Gould and Bruno-Roy, Anna Milkowski passed her Velo Bella/Kona teammate Swatrz and battled to the wire, losing third place to Rebecca Wellons in the closest sprint of the day.
The men’s race was much closer, with tight competition and dramatic twists. The unique Bridgeton course is a racer favorite with fast hard-pack service roads swooping through the woods, interspersed with two monster obstacles: the Amphitheatre and a soft, sandy beach run that measures right at the UCI maximum of 80 meters.
Taking advantage of the course configuration, series officials decided to use the top of the Amphitheatre for the first-lap Aqua Fina preme instead of the usual location after the barriers, and the result was a spectacular side-by-side sprint up the amphitheatre run-up between Frattini and New England ‘cross star Adam Myerson.
Myerson won the prime, then kept the pressure on by leading part, or all, of many of the race’s early laps. Eventually, the lead group was whittled down to Myerson, Frattini and Justin Spinelli of RGM Watches/Richard Sachs — with Spinelli’s teammate Matt Krause putting in a hard chase.
Though positions changed frequently, the three riders stayed together, with Frattini and Spinelli respecting Myerson’s sprinting ability.
“I was attacking often because I knew if I brought him (Myerson) to the (finish) line, I would finish second,” Frattini said.
It seemed, however, that the diesel duo of Frattini and Spinelli cancelled each other out, keeping Myerson in the mix despite the high speeds, but then Myerson had a stroke of bad luck.
Coming out of the beach run were two small concrete steps. With one-and-a-half laps to go, Myerson put his bike down too soon after the steps and banged the rear wheel, causing a pinch flat. With the pits just 50 yards down the road, a bike switch would have been easy. But the leak was not immediately noticeable and neither Myerson nor anybody else realized there was a problem until it was too late.
“I looked back and Myerson wasn’t there,” said Frattini.
With Myerson out of the mix, Frattini attacked with less than a lap to go; gapping Spinelli, who almost crashed on the fast downhill leading to the beach run in an aggressive effort to close the gap. But the damage was done and Frattini went on to take his second win of the year (first UCI win) ahead of Spinelli and Krause, whose race-long chase finally paid off when Myerson flatted.
1. Davide Frattini, Colavita/Sutter Home, 57:55:00
2. Justin Spinelli, RGM Watches – Richard Sachs, 58:03:00
3. Matt Kraus, RGM Watches – Richard Sachs, 58:29:00
4. Adam Myerson, Nerac Pro, 58:55:00
5. Jonny Sundt, Kelly Benefit Strategies/Medifast, 59:07:00
6. Jon Hamblen, RGM Watches – Richard Sachs, 59:13:00
7. Greg Wittwer, Fort Factory, 59:24:00
8. Adam McGrath, Maxxis/Litespeed, 59:28:00
9. Weston P. Shempf, 59:53:00
10. Charles Pendry, Inland Construction – Btd, 1:00:13
11. Ryan Leach, GPOA-Cannondale, 1:00:21
12. Travis Livermon, Spoken Here, 1:00:26
13. Michael Yozell, Fort Factory Cyclocross, 1:01:08
14. Bobby Lea, Toyota-United, 1:01:17
15. Peter Rubijono, Cambridge, 1:01:23
16. Stephen Cummings, Indiana Regional Medical Center / Ekr Racing,1:01:53
17. Daniel Neyens, Hagens-Berman, 1:02:07
18. Nathan Wyatt, Carolina Fatz/Sram/Santa Cruz, 1:02:34
19. J Gabriel Lloyd, Crca – Remax, 1:03:31
20. Franklin Mcconnell, Middlebury College, 1:03:33
21. Aaron Oakes, Van Dessel, 1:03:49
22. Ryan Dewald, Rite Aid Pro, 1:03:57
23. Matthew Ferrari, Mt Nittany Wheelworks, 1:04:36
24. Joseph Reynolds, Wissahickon, 1:05:16
25. Russ Langley, Battley Harley-Davidson/Hudson Trail, 1:05:24
26. Gregory Lindstrom, Hunt Valley Bicycles/Marathon Roofing, 1:05:26
27. John Burns, Bikeman.Com, Lap-1
28. Chris McGill, Fort Factory, Lap-1
29. Stephan Kincaid, Ekracing/Rite Aid Pro Dns
30. Nicholas Shaffer, Human Zoom/ Pabst Blue Ribbon, Dns
1. Georgia Gould, Luna Women’s MTB , 39:51
2. Maureen Bruno Roy, If/Wheelworks/SRAM , 41:56
3. Rebecca Wellons, Ridley Factory , 42:12
4. Anna Milkowski, Velo Bella-Kona, 42:12
5. Melanie Swartz, Velo Bella – Kona, 42:31
6. Carolyn Popovic, Cicle, 43:06
7. Jennifer Maxwell, Kenda Tire, 43:23
8. Betsy Shogren, Fort Factory , 43:51
9. Marci Titus Hall, Desalvo Custom Cycles, 43:59
10. Amy Wallace, RGM Watches-Richard Sachs, 44:11
11. Kristen Kelsey, Evolution Racing, 44:23
12. Alexandra Kenzer, Richard Sachs, 45:17
13. Amy Breyla, Fort Factory , 46:15
14. Kristine Church, Human Zoom/ Pabst Blue Ribbon, 46:23
15. Mandy Lozano, Vanderkitten Women’s Professional Cycling , 46:33
16. Cheryl Sornson, Trek Vw East Coast, 46:43
17. Heidi Von Teitenberg, C3-Sollay.Com, 46:48
18. Lisa Vible, C3-Sollay.Com, 47:01
19. Brenda Bahnson, Independent Fabrication, 47:15
20. Arley Kemmerer, Hub Racing, 47:32
21. Beth Mason, C3-Sollay.Com, 48:17
22. Tammy Ebersole, Evolution Racing, 48:43
23. Diane Grim, C3-Sollay.Com, 49:01
24. Nina Santiago, High Gear, Lap-1
25. Erica Yozell, Fort Factory , DNS
Jessica Singerman, Wissahickon/Twin 6, DNS