McHuch Smashes Men’s A Points Race
By Benjamin Civiletti And Ian Sullivan
The rain on Sunday did nothing to hinder the intensity of racing in the Men’s A point race. Though the road was quite wet and the rain fell steadily, the course was safe and very fast. The point raceis something of an anomaly in collegiate cycling, falling somewhere between a crit and a circuit race. The points scored at each intermediate sprint are what determine the final placing, not the final sprint. In otherwords, if you score no points in the “primes” but finish first in the final sprint, you can still lose the race. This scoring format led to furious racing from the gun. Matt Buckley (UVM) found himself offthe front in the first lap, and held a gap for the next two circuits. He was swallowed by a charging packas they came into their first sprint lap. Charles Zamastil (Temple), better known as a climber than a sprinter, made some strong moves and was able to mix it up in several of the sprints.
The sprints were eclectic and no one rider showed dominance. A group of three to five seemed to always be off the front in the laps leading up to sprints, only to be caughtby the field as the speed increased. Tristan Baldwin, another UVM rider, also tried his luck alone off the front. He held a strong advantage for two laps but was eaten up like all of the other breaks.
In the final 12 laps Sampson McHugh (Pitt) managed to win the last three sprints. While others were able to unpredictably peck up the scraps from the table, it was clear that McHugh was at the head of the table and was entitled to the largest portion of the points. To those watching the race it was clear that the race was really for second place and the points break down reflects this. Samson McHugh (University ofPittsburgh) came out ahead with 20 points. Brad Warren (UMass-Lowell) came second with 9 points, and Jeffrey Salvitti (Bucknell) ended up third, also with 9 points.
While some riders voiced discontent with the format of the race, it may be do simply to their ignorance of the race format. The course was largely unremarkable with a slight incline, mirror smooth pavement and no corners to speek of. By having the sprint point available half way up the climb the tenor of the race was very different than what the ECCC is used to seeing early on in March. Climbers like Zamastil of Temple and Salvitti of Bucknell were able to feature prominently in the race, where in the course of a normal circuit race that would most likely sit in anonymously. Even if the same course had been run as a circuit race it most likely would have produced very different races. By having the entirety of the placing hanging on the final result, there is huge impetus to wait and sprint. In the Points race format every sprint is worth the same, incentivizing aggressive racing throughout the entirety.