by Marc Bertucco
LONG ISLAND, NEW YORK - From the girl with training wheels and a pink backpack, to the Elites with their Typhoons and fleece-lined skinsuits, the toughest racers were tested by a deceptively demanding course, steady cold rain and howling winds on day two of Supercross. The event had been rescheduled due to Hurricane Sandy, but racers still convened on Long Island for one last weekend of East Coast UCI racing.
UCI Elite Women
Riding a nearly unbroken streak of wins going back as far as October 21 in the MidAtlantic, Laura Van Gilder (Mellow Mushroom) lined up on the front row as the day’s prohibitive favorite. And she did not disappoint the odds-makers, registering her eighth win out of her last 10 races.
On a course that was increasingly treacherous, the Elite women hit the downward sloping, off-camber muddy left-handed button-hook turn intact, but with every passing turn, every long power-draining straight-away, Van Gilder stretched the field until only a major mechanical (far from the pit) would have stopped her from ascending to the top step of the podium. In the end, the Pennsylvania-based pro finished 25 seconds ahead of second place Cassandra Maximenko (Silverbull/Bones/Thule).
The battle for the final step of the podium was a family affair. Playing out a further 23 seconds behind Maximenko, Katherine and Emily Shields (MOB Pro CX Team) battled for bronze. Katherine Shields got the better of her twin sister in the end.
UCI Elite Men
Persistent rain and muddy corners ensured that day two’s field-splitting moves would come early and the gaps between groups would be large. Early aggressors Tyler Wren (Jamis Bicycles) and Nicholas Keough (www.keoughcyclocross.com) were instrumental in shedding most of the field, leaving themselves, Kerry Werner Jr.(BMC U23), Michael Garrigan (Stage Race/Blacksmith cycles), Dan Timmerman (RGM Watches-Richard Sachs), and Anthony Clark (NCC/JAM Fund/Vittoria) to battle for the top prize of 40 UCI points.
While Timmerman appeared to be lacking his normal punch, the rest of the group held nothing back and attacked each other relentlessly. Attack-bridge-regroup. Attack-bridge-regroup. Over and over again. Keough’s legs gave out first, leaving him in no-man’s land and with just five racers at the front.
With one lap to go, BMC’s Werner launched what would be the final attack of the day and held on to take his first ever UCI cyclocross win by four seconds over a hard-chasing Wren. Garrigan claimed the final podium place. After his big win on Saturday, Timmerman held onto fourth. Clark finished what was undoubtedly one of his most aggressive races of the year with a fifth place, and Keough comfortably held onto sixth, a full 39 seconds in front of a terrifying sprint that was full-gas “Tokyo Drift” awesome between Favata (seventh) and Myerson (eighth).
Video from Keith Hower: