McConneloug and Lindine Take Impressive Wins in Providence

October 13, 2011No Comments

The second day of the Providence Cyclocross Festival presented by Interbike saw another spectacular day of racing complete with sprint finishes, dominant victories and surprise winners. The fourth round of the Shimano New England Professional Cyclocross Series showed why New England’s racing is among the highest caliber in the nation. Temperatures were well into the 80s by the time the Elite Men and Women took the line at Roger Williams Park in Providence, Rhode Island. The heat combined with another day of absolutely clear sky meant that the Tom Stevens designed course would be even faster than its been in years past. Sunday’s course was less technical than Saturday’s and featured an extended pavement stretch through the start/finish – this was a course that promoted larger groups on the road and would lend itself to road racing tactics.

Elite Women

For the second day, an extremely strong field of Elite Women took to the course. From the outset, it seemed like the course would provide an ideal platform for Laura Van Gilder (C3 p/b Mellow Mushroom). With over 400 career victories, Van Gilder specializes in the sprint and can take advantage of a course where she is able to sit in a draft. The group at the front numbered ten racers through the first couple laps. As the group began to pare itself down through the ensuing laps, the group at the front was down to six. Van Gilder and Mary McConneloug (Kenda/Seven/NoTubes) largely set the initial pace while Sally Annis ( p/b JRA Cycles), Andrea Smith (LadiesFirst Racing), Arley Kemmerer (C3/Athletes Serving Athletes) and Crystal Anthony (LadiesFirst Racing) came into play as the laps pressed on. The hard driving of McConneloug and Smith brought the group down to four elite racers – McConneloug, Van Gilder, Smith and Annis. On the final lap, these four were tightly bunched, Van Gilder attacked on the pavement and only McConneloug could cover the move. While Smith and Annis drove to make contact, their form began to loosen with Smith overcooking a corner shortly before the finish. Caught behind Smith’s crash, Annis could not make up the ground and the stage was set. Van Gilder led McConneloug heading into the barriers, only a few hundred meters from the finish, but when the C3 racer’s chain slipped on the remount, McConneloug took advantage. “I only picked up a couple bike lengths,” said McConneloug after, “but what people don’t know is that I have a secret sprint.” McConneloug harnessed her sprint and held off the challenge from Van Gilder, whose second place cements her control of the Shimano Series. Gracious in defeat, Van Gilder said of McConneloug, “the ideal cross racer is a mix of mountain biker and roadie. Mary has those both, she’s incredible.” Annis came across the line third for a second very strong showing on the weekend. Smith, despite hitting the ground so close to the finish, held on for fourth.

Elite Men

Perusing the registrants for the Elite Men’s race, it was clear that, with a course like today’s that biased towards racers with strength as road racers, it would be a dogfight. USA Crits Champion Luke Keough (Champion Systems p/b Keough Cyclocross) and several of his road teammates from the Team Mountain Khakis squad toed the line. Former National Criterium Champion Shawn Milne (ECV/Mazda) came to play. Hard riding Canadians Evan McNeely (EMD Serono/Specialized), Derrick St John (Stevens p/b The Cyclery) and Mike Garrigan (Lapierre Canada) were there to animate as well.

With so many road racers of such prestige, it was no surprise that the group at the front numbered nearly twenty for the first three laps. As the group passed the finish line heading into the third lap, Saturday’s victor, Justin Lindine (’s Garage), blasted up the inside in an effort to trim down the group, this new pace was matched by St John, Josh Dillon (Richard Sachs/RGM Watches), Tyler Wren (Boo Bikes), SmartStop/MOB p/b Ridley teammates Adam Myerson, Travis Livermon and Jerome Townsend and St John. Lindine continued to drive the pace and Wren hit the deck and fell out of contention. The group eventually whittled itself down to Lindine, Myerson, St John, Dillon and Keough.

Lindine, in a repeat of yesterday, made his attack about halfway through the fifth lap, and immediately pulled himself free. The chase reshuffled and a chase group of five emerged – St John, Milne, Keough, Joachim Parbo (Challenge Tires) and Jeremy Durrin (JAM Fund/NCC). For Parbo, it was a return to the front group, where the many-times Danish champ is accustomed to be while for Durrin, this was a dream come true, he was positioned for the best result of his career.

As racers approached the final lap, Lindine’s gap was virtually untouchable 25 seconds and, while St John was driving hard, Lindine kept composure. His second victory of the weekend proved that he has his sights set on the Shimano Series title. To round out the podium, Luke Keough blasted up the pavement for second and victory in the U23 race. St John crossed the line third ahead of Milne and Durrin. Parbo crossed the line sixth to close out his New England campaign for the season.

The Shimano Series heads into the off week led by Laura Van Gilder in the Elite Women, Justin Lindine in the Elite Men and Luke Keough in the U23.

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