Men’s A: Circuit Race Report
It isn’t easy being a UVM A racer, despite placing 3 riders in the top 15 in Saturday’s Criterium, they were greeted by tough questions by their own teammates when they rolled back to the vans. Everyone wanted to know why they couldn’t win with 1/6 of the field being teammates, why they didn’t attack here or there. The criticism was relentless.
Perhaps unwilling to bear this sort of interrogation again, the men of UVM Cycling sought to make the circuit race an unrelenting series of attacks. From the starting whistle Derek Harden (UVM) went on a 2 lap solo attack. He gained a maximum advantage of 30 seconds over the field.
As Harden was brought back into the pack at the beginning of the third lap, Matt Mainer (UVM) shot from the pack. While the freshman rider was able to accelerate well out of the pack, he was only able to remain clear for about a lap.
After Mainer was reeled back into the pack, Alex Cox (UVM) counter attacked. On the following lap Aarorn Meyers (Bucknell) decided that UVM wasn’t the only team that could send riders off of the front. He bridged up to Cox to add some more horsepower to the escape. Their effort was also doomed to be brought back by the 58 person strong field.
From this point the attacks off of the front began to gain much more purchase and staying power. On the 6th lap at the slight incline on the far side of the stadium, Martin Kell (Penn State) attacked. This attack shook two groups of three riders out of the bunch in pursuit of Kell.
On the next lap (7th) Kell was joined by the previous day’s Criterium winner, Pavel Gonda (NYU) and the attack hungry Harden. On this lap, members of field began to take notice of the seriousness of this group, and their potential to stay away.
When the riders came around again, it was clear that the hungriest racers in the field were desperate to get clear, and get up the road. The lead group was joined by Nathan Kupperstock (BU). There were two groups at 15 and 25 seconds behind the leaders. Though these groups were strung out hard in an attempt to reform into a large pack. The first four riders were doggedly resistant to these efforts.
With 4 laps to go Lee Peters (President UVM Cycling) and Jeremy Durrin (Co-President UMASS Cycling) bridged up to the leading group. Now 6 strong, the group had a 10 second advantage over a group of 7 riders containing the likes of Nick Bennette (Princeton), Max Korus (Penn), Sean Whiteman (Penn) and Chris Hamlin (UVM). The lead was tentative at this point, hovering around 10 seconds.
With 3 laps to go the group ditched the initiator of the move, Kell and Harden. These two drifted back into the second group on the road. The faster riding of the fours riders (Peters, Kupperstock, Gonda and Durrin) was able to increase their lead to its maximum of 30 seconds.
As the four leaders became more assured that the winner would be selected from amongst the four of them, they began to jockey for position. Searching for an ideal spot to allow them to cross the line first. This action did slow their pace and allow the group of 7 behind them to bring the lead down to twenty seconds with a lap to go.
About 3/4 of a mile out from the finish, on the last gradual inclines, Chris Hamlin attacked his group (2nd group on the road). As the crest of the hill leading down to the finish, he came within 15 meters of catching on to the lead group of four. At this point Durrin looked back and saw Hamlin charging up on them. Not wanting to have a 2nd UVM racer to contend with in the sprint, Durrin made an early jump for the line. His other escapees were all able to jump on his wheel, Hamlin would not be able to make contact and was left to coast in for 5th place.
Durrin ran out of top speed shy of the line. Once he pulled off it became a drag race between Gonda, Kupperstock and Peters. 40 meters out Peters came around Gonda on the left while Kupperstock swung around to the right. Until 15 meters from the line Peters was in front. In the last closing meters it was clear that Kupperstock would be able to overall him just in time.
Lee Peters does currently sit atop the Sprint and overall classification, affording him both jerseys. Although, it is unlikely he will be able to wear them as picture in an actual race.