Keough sails in to victory after sprinting McNicholas at CSI Day 1. Cyclocross Magazine
by Molly Hurford
NORTHAMPTON, MASSACHUSETTS — Luke Keough (Keough Cyclocross p/b Champion Systems) has started a new winning tradition at Cycle-Smart International, winning for the second year in a row, this year in a sprint against Dylan McNicholas (Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com) and Lukas Winterberg (Philadelphia Cyclocross School). The three made an early break and held it for the entirety of the race. McNicholas and Keough sprinted for the finish ahead of Winterberg, but Keough’s sprinting abilities outmatched McNicholas’. They were followed by Jeremy Durrin (JAM Fund), who has been on the verge of a breakout performance all season and clearly delivered today, after manning a sausage stand in order to earn money for his upcoming trip to Belgium.
The day, unlike the last few weeks on the East Coast, was bright and sunny, albeit chilly. But racers were thrilled to not be spending hours cleaning bikes, and the course seemed unmarred despite the heavy rains and early season snow of the weekend before. The race, part of the Shimano New England Professional Cyclocross Series, took place in Look Park in Northampton, Massachusetts. According to promoter Jeffrey Bramhall, it “has a reputation for rewarding racers willing to lean hard on the gas and trust their bikes through long series of fast and tight corners.”
McNicholas took the holeshot, just ahead of race promoter Adam Myerson (SmartStop-MOB-Ridley). There was, as seems to be a tradition of the course, an early crash, and the run-up in the first minute of the race caused a massive backup for racers who started in the back.
Early on, a lead group formed, consisting of McNicholas, Myerson, Luke Keough and Winterberg and Eric Brungger (both from Philadelphia Cyclocross School). Behind the lead group, the racers continued to go back and forth to establish small clumps. Shimano Series leader Justin Lindine (bikereg.com-Joe’s Garage) drove the pace, and struggled throughout the race to catch on to the leaders, to no avail.
With five laps to go, the group was whittled down to three racers: Winterberg, Keough and McNicholas, with the latter doing the lion’s share of the pacemaking. “I was fine being at the front. I saw how big the group behind was and I don’t like racing with a large group,” said McNicholas after the race.
From behind, the attacks were coming, alternating between Lindine, Jerome Townsend (SmartStop-MOB-Ridley) and Jeremy Durrin (JAM Fund-NCC), after Myerson had dropped off the group. Durrin surprised and delighted the crowd by attacking with three laps to go, and he gained a gap on the other two.
At the front, the trio battled hard for position as they went into the final lap. Winterberg, knowing that a sprint was coming, put in a hard attack with about 500 meters to go. He later told Cyclocross Magazine that he doesn’t consider himself a sprinter, which worked against him, as Luke Keough is renowned for his sprinting abilities. Winterberg’s attack didn’t work as planned, and Keough hit the pavement first, holding off McNicholas for his third career victory at the Cycle-Smart International. “I’m never nervous coming into the finish with a group,” said Keough after the race, “I don’t like riding alone at the front, but I’m always confident when it comes to a sprint.”