Ellen Noble (Trek Factory Racing CX) took the Charm City crown Saturday in Baltimore, Maryland. Noble also claimed early leads for the Parkway CX Trophy presented by Union Craft Brewery. Saturday’s ProCX races were the first of four events in the new series.
Racing started at Druid Hill Park in Baltimore under cloudy skies and mild temperatures. Rain from Thursday and Friday had created muddy conditions for the early events, with hundreds of juniors and masters riders packing down some of the areas.
After two turns on the circuit, the Elite Women’s field saw a battle at the front between the top two women in the ProCX standings, Noble, who is now ranked second overall, and points leader Maghalie Rochette (CXFever p/b Specialized). Trailing a few seconds behind in third was Kaitie Keough (/Cannondale p/b CyclocrossWorld). Another 10 to 15 seconds in full chase mode was Rebecca Fahringer (Kona Maxxis Shimano).
Rochette, who took the holeshot, did most of the work out front for the first half of the 5-lap contest. With two to go, Noble attacked on the back side of the course and tried to open a gap on her nemesis. The move extended the lead of the duo over Keough to 20 seconds, but the two continued to battle until the final lap.
“It was definitely a super tactical race, which is something that I’m not really used to. Maghalie is specifically such a hard racer to race against,” said Noble, who finished third in the 2017 Charm City C1 race. “We’re both pretty punchy and pretty good technically. So figuring out how to beat her has been an ongoing process. What it took today was finding out where she was making mistakes and capitalizing on that. I knew she was struggling on the 180 going along Club Row. I didn’t know if she was bluffing a little bit or if she was starting to ‘take on water,' but I figured I would put in one more dig. Otherwise, I was saving a little bit for the sprint.”
Noble attacked after the final climb up the staircase and took a gap into the final turns. She did not need to use energy for a sprint, as she went solo across the finish in 45 minutes, 37 seconds. Rochette would follow in second place 28 seconds later. Keough took third place, 58 seconds back.
“I’m actually happy with [the race], because I really gave it everything I had today. Ellen was just stronger today, and there’s nothing I can do about that,” said Rochette, who was 11th in this same race last year. “I think we are very similar. She’s really strong and super powerful, but she’s also a great technical rider. There’s nothing that she doesn’t do well. I feel like that’s great, because you have to be technically ‘on it’ to get the best of her. It’s great battles. It makes me better.”
The two will not face off on Sunday for the C2 title, as Rochette will be going home to Canada to prepare for a World Cup race in Europe. “I’m going back home, because I haven’t been home for a month. I’ll be home for a week and then go to Switzerland. I made a last-minute decision to go to the World Cup in Switzerland in a couple of weeks.”
All the women in the Top 5 of the Saturday contest are currently ranked in the Top 10 of ProCX. Baltimore-native and five-time U.S. mountain bike national champion Georgia Gould (Boulder, Colo.) made her way through the 31-rider field, moving from 26th to finish seventh.
“Right now there’s a lot of really strong women in North America,” Rochette added. “And every time we get to race each other, one of us has a better day. It’s never the same person winning, but it’s always great battles. I feel like that is really making all of us better. I’m really enjoying the state of the women’s field right now.”
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Ellen Noble (Trek Factory Racing)||0:45:37|
|2||Maghalie Rochette (CXFever p/b Specialized)||0:00:28|
|3||Kaitlin Keough (Cannondale/Cyclocrossworld.com)||0:00:58|
|4||Rebecca Fahringer (Kona Maxxis Shimano)||0:01:44|
|5||Sunny Gilbert (Van Dessel Factory Team)||0:01:59|
|6||Caroline Mani (Van Dessel Factory Team)||0:02:41|
|8||Kathryn Cumming (Jalapeno Cycling)||0:03:50|
|9||Lily Williams (The Pony Shop p/b KPMG)||0:04:00|
|10||Emily Werner (Amy D. Foundation)||0:04:07|
|11||Rachel Rubino (Fearless Femme Racing)||0:04:28|
|12||Arley Kemmerer (Fearless Femme Racing)||0:04:39|
|13||Laura Van Gilder (Mellow Mushroom)||0:05:35|
|14||Taylor Kuyk-White (Philly Bike Expo)||0:05:42|
|15||Stacey Barbossa (Colavita-Whole Foods Market)||0:05:53|
|16||Bridget Tooley (Garneau-Easton p/b Transitions)||0:06:07|
|17||Avanell Scales (Deschutes Brewery)||0:06:22|
|18||Kristen Legan (Tenspeed Hero p/b Bitchstix)||0:06:27|
|19||Elizabeth Sheldon (CXHAIRS Devo)||0:06:31|
|20||Brittlee Bowman (RSCX - House Ind - DWR - HM)||0:07:44|
|21||Ellie Mitchell (NWCX Project)||0:08:06|
|22||Julie Hunter (Mapleworks Coaching)||0:08:33|
|23||Philicia Marion (CarpeDiem Racing)||0:09:49|
|24||Karen Talleymead (SEAVS/Haymarket)||0:10:17|
|25||Kelly Paduch (Rocktown Bicycles)||0:11:08|
|26||Elisabeth Reinkordt (Team Laser Cats)||0:11:35|
|27||Alixanna Norris||-3 laps|
|DNF||Jennifer Malik (Cowbell Racing p/b World Bicycl)|
|DNF||Natalie Tapias (JAM / NCC)|
|DNF||Alexandra Campbellforte (Vanderkitten Entourage Racing/V)|