Men’s A: Korus Bounces Back With Solo Victory
By Jake Sisson – Cornell University
While skipping the previous weekend of racing may have led to a change in the Eastern Collegiate Cycling Conference overall classification, it did little to mute the reputation of the University of Pennsylvania’s Max Korus as one of the most dominating riders in the conference. Korus and the rest of the Men’s A field were back in action at the 27th annual Army Spring Classic Road Race where Korus turned in one of the most dominating displays the ECCC has seen this season. The field faced 14 laps of the 2.1 mile circuit around the United States Military Academy’s Camp Buckner which featured a short, but steep uphill section that would be the race’s final obstacle. Many riders were looking to avoid a mass uphill finish, and one rider made sure there would be no one around to challenge his authority.
It did not take long for Korus to set the tone of the day’s race, as early as the end of lap one, he was seen ahead of the field, leading a small group of riders clear of the peloton as they finished the day’s first circuit. On a course that featured many twists and turns, as well as strong headwinds and elevation gain, a breakaway would have a good chance of surviving to the finish, and the attacks came early and often. On lap one, Korus was joined by the University of Connecticut’s Ryan O’Hara, overall leader Lee Peters of the University of Vermont, Bucknell University’s Aaron Meyers, and the United States Military Academy’s Gregory Keith. The day’s first attack proved to be a simple testing of the waters, and before long, the group was reabsorbed by the peloton and further attacks could go out. The next move was made by Pennsylvania State University’s Wyatt Stoup as he approached the base of the climb on lap four, and few were surprised when the ultimate reaction from the peloton came from Korus.
Korus was again the man in charge when he went on the attack two laps later with Bucknell’s Jeffrey Salvitti. Salvitti and Korus survived for one lap together, when Korus decided that he’d rather take things into his own hands, splitting from Salvitti at the end of the seventh lap. There may have been over half the race left to run, but Korus was determined to make his gap stick, as his advantage went from under five seconds at the end of lap seven, to 23 seconds at the end of lap eight. After getting his gap out to 32 seconds on lap nine, the field seemed to come to life, as if realizing that their shots of victory were escaping up the road. Under increased chasing pressure at the front of the peloton, Korus’ gap slipped to 27 seconds as the chasing peloton began to fracture coming up the climb.
The chase seemed to become disorganized after a short time, and soon, Korus was again enjoying a 34 second gap after lap eleven. Korus added a further 19 seconds to his advantage on lap twelve to increase his gap to 53 seconds, and another 32 seconds on lap thirteen to get his advantage to its maximum for the day, at 1:25. Korus could do what seemed like a parade lap on the fourteenth and final lap of the race, safe in the knowledge that, barring disaster, the victory was his. Behind, the peloton began to race for the minor placings, and as the field made their final descent, the attacks came with increased regularity. It took much of the two-plus mile circuit to set up the final sprint up the hill, but when the dust settled, Jeremy Durrin of the University of Massachusetts-Ameherst had emerged with second place, ahead of UVM’s Jacob Bobrow and Bucknell’s Salvitti. Yale University’s Douglass Endrizzi rounded out the top five. Importantly, overall leader Lee Peters could only muster an eleventh place finish, cutting the overall points lead to 22 points.
Korus lost a handful of second on his final lap to finish the day with a winning gap of 1:13, an impressive margin considering the talent in the peloton. Korus had also made up for the points he had missed by skipping the Yale weekend and had reignited the fierce rivalry that is shaping up at the top of the ECCC overall leaderboard. With Korus riding at this level, every point that is left to be awarded will be vital in the chase for the yellow jersey.