by Matt James
Day Two of the 2014 Gateway Cross Cup brought a revamped course and a renewed aggression from both of the opening day’s runners up in the men and women’s races.
The women’s race opened with a storming attack from GE Capitol’s Courtney McFadden, looking to make amends for the disappointment of Saturday’s race. Her fearsome pace off the line split the field to pieces, with only the favorites from day one clustered up five seconds behind her.
After two laps, she was caught by the chase led by Michelob Ultra/Big Shark’s Sunny Gilbert who towed Nicole Duke and Caroline Mani behind her. Notable in her absence in the group was Saturday’s winner, Erica Zaveta, perhaps feeling the efforts of the previous day. Halfway through the race, with McFadden caught, there was a momentary cease-fire before Gilbert launched clear with three laps to go. Initially, her lead was tenuous as her pursuers looked to each other to make chase.
McFadden took the reigns but faded in the end as she was passed by the steady efforts of Caroline Mani who pushed McFadden into third on the day. Nicole Duke secured fourth while Zaveta clawed her way back to the top five.
In the men’s race, the field set an explosive pace from the line, much like Saturday’s race. Again, Cody Kaiser drove the front with Soundpony’s Jacob Lasley to force the opening splits while the top five of the previous day waited in the wings.
Once the initial selection was made, Travis Livermon of Mock Orange Racing took to the front, trading pulls with Troy Wells to pare down the field as Brain Matter, Ben Berden and day one winner Jamey Driscoll sat in, marking moves with the race falling apart behind them. At midpoint, a group of five was clear with Wells on an obvious mission to light up the front at every opportunity. He attacked repeatedly, but was only given a scant five second lead by the break, patrolled primarily by the Raleigh Clement duo.
With three to go, Berden countered Wells after the stairs before Driscoll set off on his own, hoping to replicate his solo win from the day before. As soon as Driscoll jumped, Matter followed and held his wheel into the closing lap. On the final descent and steep climb, Matter made his move and held his advantage to the line with Driscoll coming in second ahead of his teammate Ben Berden, who rounded out the podium. Early aggressors Troy Wells and Travis Livermon took fourth and fifth respectively.