Women’s A/B: Circuit Race Report
With 31 racers taking the start of the Busch Campus Circuit at Rutgers the A/B race promised to be an exciting affair. The race was contested over a three-mile circuit that wrapped around the roads of this picturesque Rutgers Campus. The course featured mostly wide roads with sweeping turns. While the course lends itself to easy movement within the pack, the strong winds and gradual climbs make major separations a challenging affair.
For the early laps the entire pack was content to ride with each other. Each time the field came through the start/finish, they were bunched five wide across the course. The tranquil group ride was not to last. As the field came up with four laps to go, the pedals began to turn ferociously. The pack was strung out, single file, with periodic minuscule gaps between the riders. In the ensuing trip around the course the string of riders would break and the winning move of the race had been made.
With three laps to go, the group positions had been mostly solidified. At the front there was group of 5 women, Anna McLoon (Harvard), Martha Buckley (MIT), Elle Anderson (Dartmouth), Anna Olivier (Yale) and Audrey Sarrazin (University of Montreal (also a B racer)). These girls had sheared free of the field with a 10 second advantage.
With two laps to go, the front of the race remained unchanged with the five racers powering away and increasing their advantage. A group of five riders had detached themselves from what remained of the field and were in the hunt for the 5th A placing and the 2nd B placing. They trailed the leaders by 20 seconds.
With 1 lap to go the situation remained the same, but the gap had extended to over 30 seconds between the first two groups. At this point it was clear that someone from the first group on the road would be going home with the win. The finish of the circuit race is a gradual climb that crests onto a long downhill straightaway to the finish. History has shown that this stretch almost always has a massive headwind to impede the hard charging riders.
Despite this daunting headwind the ladies opted for an incredibly long and brutal sprint for the line. The main protagonists from the previous day’s crit were again at the head of the field. This time Anna McLoon was able to reverse the result and take the top spot. In doing so she secured the first Yellow and Green Jerseys of the women’s Omnium. Behind these two Anna Olivier and Elle Anderson were duking it out for the third spot. In the final 15-20 meters Anderson was able to pull clear. Sarrazin of the University of Montreal was able to hold onto the group for 5th place on the road, but the top B racer spot.