Vincent Baestaens (Group Hens - Maes containers) took his first win of the season in Rochester at the C1 cyclo-cross opener of the US season.
The Belgian soloed in well ahead of compatriot Diether Sweeck, with US champion Stephen Hyde rounding out the podium.
Forty-seven men took the start line for eight laps of racing, led out by Gage Hecht (Donnelly Aevolo) from the holeshot. Taking turns hammering at the front would be Curtis White (Delanson, N.Y./Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld.com), Kerry Werner (Birdsboro, Penn./Kona Maxxis Shimano), Baestaens, Diether Sweeck (Belgium/Pauwels Sauces-Prediction) and Timon Ruegg (Switzerland/SwissRacingAcademy / VC Steinma). After a slow start, U.S. Cyclocross Elite Men's national champion Stephen Hyde (Easthampton, Mass./Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld.com) chased back on the lead group after two laps of racing.
"I ended up spinning the tire, missing my pedal and just getting pushed back. I've been there before, I've also stated back there before and just got to be patient. You can't fix it with immediate power, you just have to be patient, you have to pick a few people off at a time, and make your moves where you can," Hyde said. "I think it was about 20 seconds at some point. I just had to be patient, and fit in certain places and not get too antsy and put the power down when I can. Luckily, I think to get back on. It just proved that I had some good form anyways. Some energy was wasted there but that's racing, that's how it goes."
Hecht and a few other riders fell off the pace of the very fast front group in the next laps. He stated, "There were a few mishaps and mistakes, along with just losing time on some power sections when Curtis and Stephen were really going at it with the Belgians. I just drifted back in the second group and sat behind the Swiss guy for a little bit and then saw the group coming back to us, it was close enough to where I could just go one real good hop and sit back onto the back of that group and try to recover on the back and see what I could do from there."
The technical aspect of the course lead to very tactical race in the first half of the race.
"It's an interesting position to be in, there's a bunch of hitters in that group," Hyde said "That course doesn't lend itself well to sit at the back of it, there were like 15 guys in that group. I knew that I just needed to keep digging for a few more seconds to get to the front of it. Luckily, Curtis was there. Curtis had a really good position when I got in there, you check in. It's a good position to be in, being there with a teammate, and being able to be there in the front, man it's what you really hope for."
"It was hard [to move around in the group] because Stephen and his teammate, they had two guys and they always wanted to be in the front in the technical zone," Sweeck commented. "I tried one time to be at the front but they also give a little bit of a gas. It was a technical race and on the other side of the track, it always came back together, and then it was always a fight."
Not liking the size of the lead group, Baestaens made his first attack of the race. Hyde, Sweeck and White went with him.
In the beginning, I laid back a little bit in the bunch because you never know how strong the other riders are," Baestaens explained. "After a few laps, I noticed that the group is getting too big so I tried to do a big effort already to make the group smaller and that felt pretty good. So I think that was the right move to do at that moment."
With three laps to go, Hyde attacked through the Double Trouble section but the front group was back together at they tackled the Trek Cross Barriers.
Inside of two laps to go, Baestaens made the decisive move.
"It's two laps, I was thinking [it was time go to.] Otherwise when you wait, always longer and longer, it's going to be more difficult because some riders are getting better and better lap after lap. So at two laps [to go], I think it's time to do a move, and it turned out pretty well," Baestaens explained. " I came out of the technical part and I looked back and said 'oh I have a gap' and so I was going full gas to the finish."
The Belgian continued to push the pace on the eighth lap to claim the win in 59 minutes and 54 seconds.
Out of position, Sweeck was not able to cover the attack. "I was a little bit too far in the group, I was maybe fourth or fifth I think," he said. "Stephen was letting a little gap for his teammate but then he had a little problem with the chain. We passed him but then Vincent was gone. I thought a little bit of gambling, 'should I ride for just second or go full on for the win'? It's important, I come here to take UCI points so second was also a good choice."
"I knew that it was going to be decisive but honestly I was pretty bopped. I just didn't have the legs," Hyde said of Baestaens' attack. "So when he did go, I knew that I wasn't going to be able to go with him. I didn't have the acceleration. I knew that Diether was going to try and close me out in the woods and I pushed pretty hard but he got me. He's got some good snap. Curtis was there so he had a good run at it but had a little mishap in the woods unfortunately. At that point, I went from stuffing people in the woods to holding on for dear life, and hoping that I could make that lap happen. Luckily I look back, we had a good gap."
The battle from the podium continued to heat up in the final half lap of racing. Crossing the line 14 seconds behind the winner was Sweeck for second place. Hyde took third place, 21 seconds down. Werner was fourth. Finishing in fifth place Hecht claimed the top step of the U23 podium.
"It's always good to start the season with such a win. Tomorrow is plus. Today was a C1, it's the most important one I think, but I'm going to try to win again tomorrow. We will see how it turns out," Baestaens concluded.
|Pos.||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Vincent Baestaens (Bel) Group Hens - Maes containers||0:59:54|
|2||Diether Sweeck (Bel) Pauwels Sauces-Prediction||0:00:14|
|3||Stephen Hyde (USA) Cannondale P/B Cyclocrossworld.||0:00:22|
|4||Kerry Werner (USA) Kona Maxxis Shimano||0:00:28|
|5||Gage Hecht (USA) Donnelly Aevolo||0:00:30|
|6||Curtis White (USA) Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld||0:00:34|
|7||Timon Rüegg (Swi) SwissRacingAcademy / VC Steinma||0:00:49|
|8||Andrew Dillman (USA) SDG - Muscle Monster|
|9||Brannan Fix (USA) Alpha Bicycle Co.-Groove Subaru||0:01:05|
|10||Kevin Kuhn (Swi) Scott development MTB Team||0:01:21|
|11||Lander Loockx (Bel) Group Hens - Maes containers||0:01:31|
|12||Michael Van den Ham (Can) Easton - Giant p/b Transitions||0:01:40|
|13||Lance Haidet (USA) Donnelly Aevolo||0:01:59|
|14||Tobin Ortenblad (USA) Santa Cruz / Donkey Label Racin||0:02:18|
|15||Travis Livermon (USA)||0:02:28|
|16||Eric Thompson (USA) MSPEEDWAX.COM||0:02:32|
|17||Grant Ellwood (USA) Pivot Maxxis pb Stan's NoTubes||0:02:42|
|18||Cody Kaiser (USA) LangeTwins / Specialized||0:02:52|
|19||Trent Blackburn (USA) JAM / NCC||0:02:55|
|20||James Driscoll (USA) Mavic / DNA Cycling||0:02:57|
|21||Lukas Winterberg (Swi) Focus Bikes||0:03:35|
|22||Alex Ryan (USA) Pactimo/Mock Orange CX Team||0:03:40|
|23||Lane Maher (USA) Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld||0:03:44|
|24||Max Judelson (USA) Voler/Clif/HRS/Rock Lobster||0:04:35|
|25||Benjamin Gomez Villafane (USA) Squid x Eliel||0:04:41|
|26||Ross Ellwood (USA) Alpha Bicycle Co. - Groove Suba||0:04:49|
|27||Andrew Giniat (USA) The Pony Shop p/b KPMG||0:05:45|
|28||Daniel Chabanov (USA) RSCX - House Ind - DWR - HM||0:05:48|
|29||Alex Morton (USA) Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld||0:05:53|
|30||Kevin Bouchard-hall (USA) Velocio Northeast||0:06:02|
|31||Samuel Kieffer (USA) Red Kite Fund||0:06:25|
|32||Christian Sundquist (USA) Twin Six Metal||0:06:35|
|33||Robert Cummings Iii (USA) Team S&M CX||0:07:20|
|34||Christopher Niesen (USA) JAM / NCC|
|35||Thierry Laliberte (Can) Ypc Lab|
|36||Finnegan O'Connor (USA) Comp Edge Racing|
|37||Michael Owens (USA) RSCX - House Ind - DWR - HM|
|38||Cameron Jette (Can)|
|39||Jacob Leblanc (USA) Competitive Edge Racing|
|40||Calvin Loney (Can) The NorthHub p/b Bolton Tire|
|41||Andreas Lund Andresen (Den) Team Giant-ASSOS CX|
|42||Andrew Wulfkuhle (USA) Voler/Easton/HRS/Rock Lobster p|
|43||Stephen Kirby (Can) Midweek Cycling Club|
|44||Connor Gregory (Can) VeloCOLOUR Ascent|
|45||Gregory Gunsalus (USA) RSCX - House Ind - DWR - HM|
|46||Justin Minicola (Can) Lakeside Storage/Bicycles Plus|
|DNF||Jonathan Anderson (USA)|
|DNS||William Wang (Can)|
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