Canadian Natasha Elliott (Garneau Club Chaussure Ogilvy) triumphed after her second consecutive victory at the Gran Prix of Gloucester ahead of runner up, Laura van Gilder (C3 Athletes Serving Athletes) who lost the opportunity to sprint for the win after a flat tire on the way to the finish line. Maureen Bruno Roy (MM Racing/Seven Cycles) slid into third place after a strong early lead.
"It was just Laura and I rode around with her for a while and I knew I had to stay in front of her," Elliott said. "The last thing I wanted was for her to get in front of me in the last two minutes of the race. I kept trying to attack from the front instead of off the back and it worked. I put the pressure on coming into the barriers and got a gap, she bobbled and I got the win."
Elliott has moved closer to her goal of winning the Verge New England Cyclo-Cross series this season after winning the first four races in a row. "I want to just focus on one," Elliott said following her victory the previous day. "I chose the Verge series because a lot of the races are close to home and it's good competition."
Some 40 women lined up under very different conditions compared to the previous day's wet and muddy course. The sun dried up the course which made for a much faster race where tactics were key in the resulting outcome.
Bruno Roy started the day off right with a fast first lap and opened up a 10-second solo lead on a chase group of four riders. The chasers included van Gilder, Elliott, Rad Racing winner, Sue Butler (Monavie-Cannondale) and U23 National Champion, Amy Dombroski (Richard Sachs).
"I had a good start and I was feeling pretty strong and Natasha took the lead," Bruno Roy said. "She's pretty aggressive off the start and she's good technically so I enjoy sitting on her wheel and following her. I took the lead and feeling good."
A second chase group formed to include Lyne Bessette (October Factory Racing), Arley Kemmerer (Hub Racing), Rebecca Wellons (Team Plan C) and Kristin Gavin (Human Zoom). The three riders moved in closer to the lead group by the end of the race but never fully caught back on.
Bruno Roy is typically known for having good mud skills and a strong running background. Her efforts in this race displayed her all round ability to take control of a race under dry and fast conditions as well.
The five leaders, Bruno Roy, Elliott, Van Gilder, Butler and Dombriski reunited on the second lap and each took a turn leading the way. Butler suffered a mechanical that resulted from a crash and was not able to work her way back in with the leaders.
With two laps to go Elliott, Bruno-Roy and Van Gilder solidified a strong lead over chasers Butler and Dombroski. Elliott and Bruno-Roy worked well together to keep the speeds high enough to try and shed Van Gilder, the strongest sprinter of the three.
"I thought if we could work together and push the pace then maybe we could pop Laura," Bruno Roy said.
"Laura is so strong that she could sit on and she kept coming back. Then went through the U-turn onto the pavement and I slid out. I hit the pavement and they attacked really hard. I spent the next laps chasing. Sue caught up but then got a flat tire."
An unfortunate crash took Bruno-Roy out of contention for the win and she was later caught by the chasing Butler. Up ahead, Elliott set the pace as van Gilder remained patient and focussed on holding her opponent's wheel.
Rounding the finale half lap, Elliott gave several strong attacks and gained a slim margin on Van Gilder. The famed sprinter suffered a rear flat tire and could not catch back up with Elliott before the finish line.
"I threw my chain too and it is what it is, that's all part of cross racing," said Van Gilder. "I'm not upset because I had a great opportunity and I rode smart the whole time and those things are out of your control. I'm really happy to show that I'm more than just a sprinter but I'm also a fighter."
|1||Natasha Elliott (Can) Garneau Club Chaussure Ogilvy||0:40:45|
|2||Laura Van Gilder (USA) C3 Athletes Serving Athletes||0:00:15|
|3||Maureen Bruno Roy (USA) MM Racing p/b Seven Cycles||0:00:24|
|4||Susan Butler (USA) Monavie-Cannondale.com||0:00:36|
|5||Rebecca Wellons (USA) Team Plan C||0:00:47|
|6||Amy Dombroski (USA) Richard Sachs/RGM Watches/Radix||0:01:09|
|7||Kristin Gavin (USA) Human Zoom/Pabst Blue Ribbon||0:01:19|
|8||Andrea Smith (USA) Minuteman Road Club||0:01:26|
|9||Amanda Carey (USA) Kenda/Trainwitheric.com||0:01:27|
|10||Nicole Thiemann (USA) Human Zoom Pabst Blue Ribbon||0:01:52|
|11||Gesa Bruechmann (Ger) Stevens Racing Team||0:02:12|
|12||Sara Bresnick-Zocchi (USA) Pedalpowercoaching.com/Landry's Bicycles||0:02:19|
|13||Anna Barensfeld (USA) Minuteman Road Club||0:02:23|
|14||Anna Milkowski (USA) BikeReg.com / Joe's Garage / IF||0:02:49|
|15||Linnea Koons (USA) October Factory Racing||0:03:09|
|16||Arley Kemmerer (USA) Hub Racing||0:03:29|
|17||Sally Annis (USA) Hub Racing||0:03:33|
|18||Cris Rothfuss (USA) Seven Cycles|
|19||Ann D'Ambruoso (USA) Minuteman Road Club||0:03:48|
|20||Katrina (Trina) Baumsteiger (USA) Team Rambuski Law||0:04:05|
|21||Rebecca Blatt (USA) US Army/ Central Wheel||0:04:21|
|22||Crystal Anthony (USA) Minuteman Road Club|
|23||Kate Harris (USA) October Factory Racing||0:04:31|
|24||Perri Mertens (USA) Embrocation Cycling Journal / Mad Alchem||0:04:41|
|25||Christina Tamilio (USA) Minuteman Road Club||0:04:42|
|26||Lauri Webber (USA) Secret Henry's Team||0:04:58|
|27||Anna McLoon (USA) Altarum Women's Cycling Team||0:05:05|
|28||Clara Kelly (USA) NEBC/Cycle Loft/Devonshire Dental||0:05:06|
|29||Sarah Krzysiak (USA) Syracuse Bicycle/Spokepost.com||0:05:20|
|30||Melissa Ross (USA) Landry's Bicycles||0:05:44|
|31||Michelle Kersbergen (USA) Joe's Garage||0:05:58|
|32||Kristine Church (USA) Human Zoom/ Pabst Blue Ribbon||0:06:13|
|33||Sara Cushman (USA) Gear Works/Spin Arts||0:06:51|
|34||Callie Gordon (USA) Cyclocrossworld.com||0:07:37|
|35||Kerry Litka (USA) FxD Coaching||0:08:46|
|36||Natalie Dumont (USA) Gearworks / Spinarts||0:10:11|