Women’s A/B: Filiberti the Home-town Hero
Dartmouth’s Arielle Filiberti made sure to make the most of her home field advantage, taking out the Dartmouth Fraternity Row Criterium, the second event in the Eastern Collegiate Cycling Conference Championships weekend. Filiberti bested Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Laura Ralston and Yale’s Laura Kroepsch in a chaotic sprint to the line. MIT’s Martha Buckley finished the day in fifth place to move one step closer to the ECCC overall and sprinter’s jersey.
A record field was on hand for the final Saturday of the 2010 season, with numbers in both divisions never before seen in ECCC women’s racing. In a fitting end to a hard-fought year of criterium racing, the women’s A and B fields were looking at 19 laps around possibly the most technically challenging courses on the calendar. It did not take long for the ECCC’s elite to make their decisive move, and on the second lap, the favorites had created the group that would decide the race.
For the rest of the day, a group containing Filiberti, Ralston, Kroepsch, McLoon, Buckley, Dartmouth’s Claire McKenna and Elle Anderson, Pennsylvania State’s Jessica Kutz and Harvard’s Eun Young Choi would dictate the Women’s A race. After three laps, it was time for the race’s first intermediate sprint. Buckley took her first sprint victory of the day, further extending both her overall and sprint lead in the process of beating Anderson and Kroepsch to the line.
Not far behind the leading A group, The University of New Hampshire’s Isabella Olesky was steadily amassing a lead over a select group of chasing B women. The group contained New England Conservatory’s Alexandra Berndt, Yale University’s Amelia
Siani and Cornell University’s Cynthia Nijenhuis. With the help of A riders, Olesky was able to extend her lead to the ten second mark after five laps.
For the next three laps, the situation on the road changed very little. Behind the leading group of A riders, the University of Connecticut’s Jena Greaser set off to get across the gap to the leaders. On the seventh lap, it was time for the day’s second intermediate sprint, which was again taken by Buckley, ahead of Anderson and Kroepsch.
The began A group continued to surge and regroup, while the chasing group in the B race continued to lose time to Olesky. On lap ten, McLoon, Buckley and Kroepsch made the first move of the day that showed real promise, but before long, the three had been brought back into the fold. Their accelerations had managed to dislodge riders from the front group, however, and the pool of contenders was shrinking steadily.
On lap eleven it was time for the third intermediate sprint. Buckley led the field out of the final turn and onto the finish straight, and neither Kroepsch nor McLoon, who finished second and third in the sprint, respectively, could overhaul the fast finishing MIT rider. The fourth and final sprint, which occurred two laps later showed little resemblance to the three previous sprints. No one seemed interested in sprinting for the points, until Buckley came around to take top points in the final twenty meters. Second place went to MIT’s Laura Ralston, while third went to McLoon.
Following the final sprint, the pace had dropped considerably, and more riders were able to rejoin the leading group. Not happy with the pedestrian pace, McLoon took a chance to up the tempo at the front, hoping to both slim the front group further, and escape the group’s clutches on her own. McLoon’s attack lasted three laps and managed to drop the group to a total of seven riders, but the Harvard rider could not manage to gain any significant advantage.
With one lap to go, Buckley rolled the dice and went on the attack. Despite holding a small gap as the field disappeared onto the back half of the course, the rest of the leading group managed to haul her back before the final charge to the line. As the leading group opened up their sprint, it was the Filiberti who crossed the line first in what was a chaotic finale. Kroepsch brought home second while McLoon crossed the line for the final podium position. Fourth place went to Ralston while fifth place went to Anderson, while Buckley faded to sixth following her unsuccessful attack.
The chasing group of B riders was never able to bring back Olesky’s advantage, and the UNH rider easily cruised across the line for the win. Behind, Berndt won a confusing sprint for second over Siani and Nijenhuis, who finished third and fourth respectively.