Brian Matter (Gear Grinder) proved to be the fastest man at the UCI C2 North Carolina Grand Prix double header when he won his second consecutive bunch sprint in Jackson Park, Hendersonville on Sunday. Italian Davide Frattini (Hudz-Subaru) and Ryan Knapp (Bikereg.com) were forced to settle for second and third place respectively for the second consecutive day.
"I wanted to be ahead of Frattini going into the corner before the hill," said Matter. "Yesterday he led out the sprint and today I thought it was my turn to lead it out. It was the same as yesterday, you never know what is going to happen once you hit the pavement. There's nothing you can do except keep going hard and hope that he doesn't come around you."
Matter left nothing to chance when he moved into first position through the chicane inside the last 500 metres and climbed to the top of the last steep hill with Frattini on his wheel heading into the final corner. The pair opened up a slight advantage ahead the some 15 riders that made up the front group. Matters started his sprint first and held off Frattini all the way to the line. Knapp's finishing kick secured third place.
"I tried to attack at least once today but Brian and Ryan closed the gap with two laps to go," said Frattini. "After that we were five riders but it all came back together with big group on the last lap. I tried to stay close to the front and followed Brian when he took the lead. We came out of the last corner almost at the same time but he had a better punch and won."
The elite men's podium was identical to the previous day's race; despite arriving at the same conclusion, there were several difference to the course design and the tactics, however. Race organisers kept the course fast and fluid with lengthy straightaways and very few technical sections.
However, some course changes included the switching the direction of several corners, a tighter and twisty off-cambre descent that greeted the field as they exited the woods and the finishing shoot was much longer and wider.
Bryan Fawley (Dallas Bike Works/Park Place) opened the 60-minute race with a surprising attack that resulted in a narrow lead for nearly three quarters of the first lap.
A long line of predominantly south-east 'crossers followed in tow that included eventual top ten riders Matter, Frattini, Knapp along with Travis Livermon (Mock Orange Racing), Mark LaLonde (Cal Giant-Specialized), Eric Thompson (Maplelag Resort/Paramount Sports), Scott Frederick (Inland Construction), Brian Sheedy (Lees-McRae College/Hampton Trails), Greg Wittwer (Alan North American Cycling) and the current leader of the North Carolina Cyclo-cross series Will Black (Moots).
"I felt like I rode a smarter race today but had to work for it more," said Knapp, who acknowledged the tactical difference compared to the previous day. "Matter had good legs today and I was pleased to see attacks happening. It was different today and I think the course gave more opportunity for people to stay in the front group."
A combination of higher-paced efforts came from Matter, Frederick, Frattini and Knapp all resulted in minor separations in the front group. However, no riders were willing to put forth a sole effort for more than a lap allowing the dropped riders to reunite several times. The last lap started with a very large 15-rider front group and jockeying for position was key.
"I put in a few attacks and split the group but there were long pedaling sections in the wind and it all came back together," Matter said. "Frattini jumped and got a pretty good gap and I went pretty hard with lap three and two to go and that's why I wasn't quite as confident coming into the sprint because I used a couple matches chasing him down."
Frederick lead the field around the last half lap. Matter worked his way to the front through the wooded section and passed Frederick to take the lead through the technical chicane, up the steep ride-up and through the last corner. He started his sprint as soon as his front wheel hit the pavement with Frattini at his side however, the Italian was unable to come around him at the line.
|1||Brian Matter (USA) Gear Grinder||0:58:18|
|2||Davide Frattini (Ita) Hudz-Subaru||0:00:01|
|3||Ryan Knapp (USA) BikeReg.com||0:00:03|
|4||Travis Livermon (USA) Mock Orange Racing||0:00:04|
|5||Mark Lalonde (USA) Specialized|
|6||Eric Thompson (USA) Maplelag Resort/ Paramount Sports||0:00:05|
|7||Scott Frederick (USA) Inland Construction||0:00:08|
|8||Brian Sheedy (USA) Lees-McRae College/Hampton Trails||0:00:09|
|9||Greg Wittwer (USA) ALAN North America Cycling Team||0:00:13|
|10||Will Black (USA) Moots||0:00:18|
|11||Bryan Fawley (USA) Park Place Dealerships||0:00:20|
|12||Noah Niwinski (USA) Boone Velo||0:00:21|
|13||Mitchell Kersting (USA) Bob's Red Mill p/b Focus Bikes||0:00:28|
|14||Noah Metzler (USA) Globalbike p/b Catoma Adventure Shelters||0:00:33|
|15||Joshua Snead (USA) Bay 101-HRS-Rock Lobster||0:00:35|
|16||Lucas Livermon (USA) Mock Orange Bikes||0:00:36|
|17||Eric Wondergem (USA) Hup United/PF Bikes||0:00:38|
|18||Bradford Perley (USA) Maplelag Resort/ Paramount Sports||0:00:41|
|19||Robert Marion (USA) American Classic||0:00:53|
|20||Tim Mosher (USA) Champion System/Cannondale||0:01:06|
|21||Ryan Leach (USA) Hilton Head Cycling||0:01:17|
|22||Clayton Omer (USA) Papa Johns' Racing Team||0:01:30|
|23||Nathan Wyatt (USA) Carolina Fatz p/b Industry Nine||0:01:33|
|24||Alex Ryan (USA) Champion System/Cannondale||0:01:37|
|25||Charlie Storm (USA) Inland Construction||0:01:41|
|26||Andrew Reardon (USA) Van Dessel / Real Design||0:01:47|
|27||Eric Muehl (USA) Industry Nine Factory||0:02:25|
|28||Tristan Cowie (USA) Sycamore Cycles||0:02:27|
|29||Katriel Statman (USA) Pioneer S&M/Van Dessel/Feedback Sports||0:02:30|
|30||William Fyfe (USA) BBC p/b Wheelworx||0:02:31|
|31||Andy Applegate (USA) Champion System/Cannondale||0:02:34|
|32||Christopher Nevitt (USA) Bob's Red Mill||0:02:36|
|33||Josh Stevens (USA) Garneau Custom p/b Tyler's Tap Room||0:02:43|
|34||Eric Marland (USA) Boone Velo||0:03:15|
|35||Christopher Consorto (USA) Louis Garneau-Team TBB||0:04:21|
|36||Davy Yeater (USA) River City Bicycles-Cannondale||0:04:32|
|37||Mike Kennedy (USA) Bob's Red Mill||0:05:17|
|38||Mike Stewart (USA) Tri Cities Road Club||0:07:09|
|39||David McNeal (USA) Birmingham Bicycle Company||0:08:32|
|40||Robert Jameson (USA) Lees McRae College / Carroll Composites||0:09:26|
|41||Mark Babcock (USA)||0:09:43|
|42||Reid Beloni (USA) Gary Fisher/Subaru|
|43||David Thomas (USA) Team Magnus|