Men’s A: Driscoll Does the Stripes Proud
On a balmy April day in Thetford, New Hampshire, the University of Vermont’s Jamey Driscoll showed the Eastern Collegiate Cycling Conference why he was worthy of wearing the red, white and blue of the United States Collegiate Road Race Champion. In the final race of the season, Driscoll stamped his authority on the men’s A road race in the day’s early stages and never looked back, comfortably riding to a nearly four-minute victory over the University of Pennsylvania’s Sean Whiteman and New York University’s Pavel Gonda. In possibly the most intriguing battle that the ECCC has seen in recent years, UPenn’s Max Korus, who entered the day with the ECCC overall leader’s jersey and only a six point advantage, managed to hold off UVM’s Lee Peters to lock up the 2010 ECCC overall victory.
With lots of vertical ascent on the agenda, the ECCC’s climbers were licking their chops for what seemed like the first time this season. UVM seemed intent on wearing the overall leader thin in support of Peters, and as the race passed the feed zone for the first of five times, it was UVM’s Vincent Scalia who had made the first move up the road. With the race in its very early stages, the peloton was fine with granting Scalia plenty of space. A far more dangerous move, however, was just over the horizon, and when the race hit the main circuit’s climb for the first time, the gauntlet would be thrown down in full.
Driscoll used the first climb out of Norwich as the launch pad for his decisive move. Driscoll punched the accelerator and, when no one could hang on, pressed his advantage, holding 1:45 over any chasing riders as he hit the feed zone for the second time. Attacks would come and go, and all the while, the peloton could do nothing to bring back the reigning National Champion. Driscoll continued to tick away at the front, increasing his advantage over the peloton up over the six-minute mark at its highest point. Driscoll could afford to take something of a victory lap on the final circuit of the course’s main loop, and his victory margin dipped to 3:49 as he finally crossed the finish line, a gap that he would hardly need to worry about.
Behind, the race finally began to heat up in earnest as the peloton entered its final laps. A dangerous move left the pack that contained such dangerous riders as Gonda, Whiteman, Pennsylvania State University’s Kyle Gheres and the University of Montreal’s Nicolas Therrien. The had to work to hold off a larger chasing group that held a handful of seconds over the peloton as they exited the feed zone for the final time. Out of that group, McGill University’s Mattieu Boudier-Revert, Kutztown U niversity’s Ryan Smolko and Wacek Godycki would be able to hold off the peloton coming up the final climb to the finish.
With no hope of catching Driscoll, Whiteman, Gonda and Gheres were able to rid themselves of Therrien on the final climb up to the finish line. From there, a late Whiteman attack was able to shed first Gheres and finally a battered Gonda, who had fallen hard in the previous day’s criterium, and the UPenn rider was able to grab a strong second place finish. Gonda rolled in for third, while Gheres finished up another 14 seconds later for fourth. Not far behind was the second chase group, which was just able to catch the fading Therrien by the line, with Boudier-Reveret sprinting past the University of Montreal rider to take fifth place, with Therrien finishing up in sixth. Smolko edged away from Godycki on the final climb.
At this point, there was still no sign of either the ECCC overall leader Max Korus, or his nearest challenger, Lee Peters. 33 seconds behind Godycki was the University of Pittsburgh’s Andrew Seitz, who led home the peloton 6:09 behind Driscoll. Second in that sprint to the line was Korus, who managed to get the better of Peters to sew up his ECCC overall title. Peters rode a strong race, despite still fighting the effects of his crash in the final meters of Saturday’s criterium, to finish the day in 18th, only 21 seconds behind Korus.
For Driscoll, it had been his first chance this season, thanks to a busy professional racing and school schedule, that the National Champion was able to show off his custom National Champion kit. Driscoll made good use of his time, showing that he is, by and large, the class of the ECCC and worthy of the jersey that he wears until next weekend.
An historically close overall competition drew to a close as Max Korus crossed the line for 10th on the day. Korus’ finish was enough to give him a buffer of 52 points after twenty races. Lee Peters hung on to his second place, with a strong 18th place on Sunday, while Nathan Kupperstock finished off what has been one of the most inspiring seasons in the ECCC with a third place overall finish. Fourth place went to Pavel Gonda, who didn’t race many times, but made what races he did attend count. Sean Whiteman’s second place on Sunday bumped him up to fifth overall. First overall in division two went to Dartmouth’s College’s Trevor Eide, which was good enough for sixth overall, while Bucknell University’s Jeffrey Salvitti was seventh overall and second in division two competition.