Men’s A: Schildge Completes a Dartmouth Double
Just over and hour after Dartmouth College’s Arielle Filiberti took the victory in the Dartmouth Frat Row Criterium, teammate Eric Schildge took care of business on the men’s end, beating the University of Vermont’s Lee Peters, National Collegiate Road Race Champion and UVM rider Jamey Driscoll and Eastern Collegiate Cycling Conference Overall Leader Max Korus of the University of Pennsylvania to the line in an ugly, crash marred sprint that had many top sprinters licking their wounds. In beating Korus in the sprint, Peters closed the gap in the overall standings to a mere six points with one race left to run in what has become one of, if not the closest overall competition in the conference’s history.
While the overall lead was foremost in everyone’s mind, there was also the outside chance that Korus would be able to unseat the current ECCC sprint leader, Alex Cox of UVM. Should Cox have a bad day in the office, Korus had the opportunity to take back enough points on intermediate sprints to take the lead and control of both jerseys. Since there would be no intermediate sprints in Sunday’s road race, Cox and Korus would settle their score when the criterium drew to a close on Saturday afternoon.
The conference favorites were not keen on letting anyone off the front early in the race, and the field was lined out in single file for the first four laps. When the pace finally let up enough for the group of coalesce, a move by UVM’s Vincent Scalia was immediately shut down by Korus, who was well aware that the UVM team would be helping out Peters and Cox, get as many points as possible, while taking as many points from Korus as they could. At lap six, the bell rang for the day’s first intermediate sprint, and it was New York University’s Pavel Gonda who reminded the conference that he, too, was a man to be reckoned with, taking the day’s first points. Second place went to Driscoll, who made it his day’s goal to shadow Korus wherever he went, and take as many sprint points from him as possible. Korus managed to finish the sprint in third, while Cox and Peters could not manage any points from the first sprint.
Immediately following the sprint, Cornell University’s Wacek Godycki used the momentary lapse in effort to spring from the front and create the day’s first major gap. Godycki was alone at the front for a lap, when he realized that no one would be joining him, and returned to the field. The pace went back up following the catch, and on lap ten, it was time for the day’s second intermediate sprint. Driscoll hit the final turn at the front of the race, and gave Peters a picture perfect lead out, as the later took the top spot in the sprint ahead of Korus and Driscoll.
On lap thirteen, Pennsylvania State University’s Wyatt Stoup went on the attack, and started the first move of the day with any substance. One lap after Stoup left the field, the bell was ringing for the third intermediate sprint. Stoup managed to hold on to his gap long enough to take the top spot in the sprint, which saw Driscoll steal more points from Korus, as they finished second and third respectively. After the sprint, the field managed to haul back Stoup and spent the next two laps attacking and covering moves. On lap sixteen, UVM’s Chris Hamlin managed to build the day’s second major move, as he picked up nineteen seconds in the four laps he spent ahead of the peloton.
Two laps after Hamlin’s bid for freedom started was the day’s fourth intermediate sprint, and Hamlin held a comfortable margin that allowed him to take the top points. Driscoll again bested Korus to the line to narrow Korus’ fleeting hopes of picking up the sprinter’s jersey at the end of the day. There still were, however, enough points left in the final two intermediate sprints that if Korus were to win both, he would depose Cox, who had called it an early day about half way through.
Boston University’s Nathan Kupperstock went on the offensive on lap twenty-one of the thirty-two lap affair and had the crowd the most excited it had been all day, as it looked as if his solo move might be able to go the distane. Kupperstock spent five laps growing his lead to a maximum of nineteen seconds on lap twenty seven, before it became to come back down under the pressure of the sprinters. Kupperstock was able to win the final two intermediate sprints, however, on laps twenty-two and twenty-five, and end Korus’ hopes of a double jersey victory for good. For the fifth intermediate sprint, Korus was able to finally get the better of Driscoll and finish in second ahead of Yale University’s Douglass Endrizzi. On lap twenty-five, Driscoll had rebounded to beat Korus to the line for second.
Kupperstock’s move was not to be, and just as he got the bell for one to go, the group caught up to the valiant Boston University rider. It was all hands on deck from that point forward, as the big guns of the ECCC took control. All eyes were on the battle between Peters and Korus, as the fight for the overall jersey was tipping in Korus’ favor. As the group rounded the final turn, a huge chain reaction started well forward in the field, and only four riders made it out of turn six unimpeded. Those four were Dartmouth’s Schildge, Peters, Driscoll and Korus. The four came to the line in that order, and the gaps expanded as they covered more group, and Schildge was able to comfortably sprint across the line for Dartmouth’s second victory in as many races. Peters gave the crowd a scare as he inadvertently lost his footing as he crossed the line, vaulting his bike and body in the direction of the gathered crowd. After one of the more acrobatic crashes the conference has seen this season, Peters was back up, and except for some road race, looking none the worse for wear.
Driscoll did his job once again and beat Korus to the line for third, slimming the gap from Korus’ first to Peters’ second in the overall standings to a hair thin six points. The first man to make it out of the turn six carnage was Cornell’s Godycki, who rolled in for fifth. Most notable of those who were brought down was Gonda, who would have felt hard done by crashing so late in a criterium that he could have been a factor in.
When the dust settled, however, it was Dartmouth who had emerged from the Frat Row Criterium as the big winners, taking both the men’s and women’s A events. Both Schildge and Filiberti showed unrivaled sprinting sense and power, and validated the hard work their teams had done in both racing in and putting on the weekend’s festivities.