Results have gone up but reports will be slow to follow. Please email me if you have any reports and such.
It’s hard to come up with accolades week after week, year after year, but Ann Marie Miller (CRCA/ Houlihan Lokey Sanchez) once again dominated the women’s race. She launched attack after attack, chased the primes, and controlled any rider brash enough to attack. At the end she won the race clear of the field, getting a big gap in the sprint. Behind her Amanda Braverman (Stage 1/fusionTHINK) once again took second. Raquel Miller (CRCA) finished third, with a recently-returned-to-cycling Darcey Ramsey (Team Danbury Audi/Pedal and Pump) taking fourth. Her teammate Nancy Ford finished fifth, and Rebecca Hicks (CRCA/Comedy Central) rounded out the top six.
Danbury Audi/Pedal and Pump showed their strength today. Even with overall leader (and three in a row winner) Carle Reglar missing from the line up, they still attacked like mad. The tall and powerful Matt Armstrong ended up in a three man break with the eternal John Funk (Cycle Fitness) and another long time Series racer Stephen Gray (Berlin Bikes/Best Cleaners).
With three strong riders, all capable of winning the race solo (and I think all have in the past), the field had no chance. In the end an inspired Funk took the win, with Gray taking second in his first race here this year. Armstrong finished third as he eased in the sprint.
Behind a wild and wooly field sprint saw a very unusual sight – a crash. To the left of the crash and unaffected by it, Joe Regan (Berlin Bikes/Best Cleaners) took the field sprint, with Morgan Stebbins (Bethel Cycle) a touch off in fifth. A resurgent Brian Wolf (Team Rockstar Games/Signature Cycles) took the last points place in sixth.
It seemed that two teams showed up intent on keeping the race together for a field sprint. With a few riders on each squad, both Berlin Bikes/Best Cleaners and Expo/Superior Energy had the numbers to mark all the moves. Berlin Bikes obviously had an interest in keeping it together for overall leader Bryan Haas – he’s been undefeated in field sprints this year.
With that kind of suffocation, the field had no chance. Particularly active in trying to break the field were Bethel Cycle, their strong man Johan Koserius once again escaping the field and gaining substantial time. But with no one for company this week, the other teams had no reason to hold back, so after a tough chase led by Berlin Bike’s Jeff Murray, the field came back together.
Expo showed their hand with about three to go, lining up their a three man train at the front. After two laps of pulling though the riders faded. As everyone swarmed the front, Berlin Bike’s Joe Regan to drill it, with the absolutely dominant Haas on his wheel.
With a superb half lap leadout, Haas had no problem dominating the sprint, winning by a couple bike lengths. Bill Muzzio (Bethel Cycle) took an excellent second, with Ian Farrar (Vibrant Health) taking a mechanical-marked third place. Pawling Cycle’s Reid Evans took fourth, with the ageless John Morales (Cafeteros) taking fifth in probably his 15th or so year of the Series. Sam Dodge (Stage 1/fusionTHINK) rounded out the top six in an admittedly tightly bunched field sprint.
Although the temperatures were low, the P123 race was an absolute scorcher. With a big field and a lot of inspired riders, the race promised fireworks.
Bobby Sweeting (Kenda Pro Cycling) has been the marked man every week so far. When conditions forced the strongest riders to the top, he’s won. When conditions allowed others to sit in, he’d been neutralized. His obvious strength put a big bullseye on his back, and for this race he had a plan.
For 15 laps no one saw him unless they looked 10 feet past the back of the field. He rode there for about that long, patiently biding his time. A strong break actually got away, with Kyle Wolfe (unattached) attacking from the gun. Brett Cleaver (CRCA/Rapha Racing) also made the effort, along with teammate Chad Butts (riding borrowed shoes and pedals). Luciano Bezerra (Navone Studios) made a good move to go with them.
Benjamin George (CVC/Subaru of New England), went with, a Cat 3 in pretty statospheric company. But as the field closed in, he eased, thinking the break was finished. But with a minor gap, the front men drilled it, and suddenly the break started moving away again. Overall Leader Gabriel Acaba (Michelob Ultra Cycling) also made the junction, and the break looked to turn the overall upside down.
As Sweeting sat at the back, TargeTraining sent a few of their riders to the front to chase. ZCC-Zane’s Cycle also hit the front, riding for their overall contender Eric Merrill, and inspired by the thought of racing well for their teammate (unable to race today) Ron Fantano.
Then the sleeping Kenda woke up. His first attack, from the back, inadvertently aborted by a rider swinging off the front, Sweeting launched from the front the following lap. Against every rule in the tactical book he drilled it from the very front of the field, basically announcing his move to everyone in the field for a full lap. Warned for literally two minutes, racers went after him, scrambling desperately up the hill. With everyone going all out, Sweeting had only a few feet of daylight at the start/finish line.
But that’s when he did some of that pro stuff. He kept the needle in the red, drilling it around the first corner and down the main straight. With the field in full cry behind him, Sweeing stretched the gap to 50 meters, holding what had to be a high 30s mph pace, and by the headwind-pounded back stretch, he was out of sight, clearing the straight before the field even got there.
A little over two laps later he bridged the 30 or so second gap, and then proceeded to drag the break around to the back of the field.
Sweeting, Bezerra, and Merrill caught the field at the bottom of the hill, about 200 meters before the start/finish line, but they were at the front when they hit that line. Incredibly Sweeting launched straight away with Bezerra on his wheel, and although Merrill tried to stay with them, it was game over.
Shortly after the remnants of the break lapped the field. Up ahead, Sweeting and Bezerra stayed away to the finish. Although Bezerra launched a strong move at the bell, Sweeting handled it with the aplomb of the pro he is, rolling in well ahead of a totally spent Bezerra.
Behind, Merrill had managed to sneak away from the field (and the other racers who were a lap up) with three lapped riders. He sat up and let them sprint it out, but being a lap up, he took third.
Unbeknowst to some of the break members, a chase group had formed and actually lapped the field too. Ed Angeli (TargeTraining) got in there, and when the laps wound down, he launched with an irrepressible George, the Cat 3 from the first move. Angeli finished fourth, riding in just ahead of the lapped George.
Overall leader Acaba beat the rest of the leading lap racers for fifth, and Wolfe, one of the original protagonists, capped off a long day in sixth.