After her dominant win in Saturday’s C1 in Rochester, Maghalie Rochette (Specialized / Feedback Sports) would have been forgiven for sitting in on Sunday and letting the race play out in front of her.
However, with the Jingle Cross World Cup six days away, Rochette had one thought on her mind—going full gas.
Success in the U.S. World Cups is one of Rochette’s primary goals for this season, so she wanted to leave nothing to chance when it comes to getting prepared to take on Mt. Krumpit and the Jingle Cross field next Saturday.
Rochette took the holeshot on Sunday and led the field out onto a changed start that took riders through a sweeping power section toward the Belgian Staircase on the backside of the course. When the prologue was over, she already had a 5-second lead on the rest of the field.
Rochette would not look back for the second-straight day (4, if we are counting 2018). She stayed on the gas for the full 5-lap race to start her 2019 season in perfect fashion and head into the Jingle Cross World Cup with some serious early-season momentum.
“I really went full gas today. Yesterday too, but today was, in my mind, all the way to the end,” Rochette said about her win.
Yesterday, we joked that perhaps Rochester should change its name to Rochettechester. After all, the Canadian National Champ entered today’s race with three-straight dominant wins to her name at Rochester Cyclocross, and she has said she loves riding the course at Genesee Valley Park.
The newly minted Elite Clara Honsinger (Team S&M CX), Kaitie Keough (Cannondale p/b CyclocrossWorld) and others raced well on Saturday and were looking to stop Rochette’s bid to get the keys to the city.
The biggest change race organizers made for Sunday’s race was to route the start of the first lap to the backside of the course into the open, sweeping section heading back to the Belgian Staircase. After slotting in at second wheel on Saturday, Rochette grabbed the holeshot and led the field into the fast prologue.
Within a few minutes, Rochette already had a 5-second advantage on a group of chasers that included Keough, Honsinger, Caroline Mani (Pactimo Women’s CX-Gravel Project) and Ellen Noble (Trek Factory Racing CX).
Not content with her small advantage, Rochette turned the throttle again.
“The course was a little bit different today. It started on the other side, which didn’t have as many technical sections,” Rochette said. “I wanted to see if I could go full gas because I know the World Cup is coming up next week, and that’s going to have no rest. I’ll have to go full gas from the start, so I wanted to practice that today and see if I could lead and just go my hardest.”
After the first full lap, Rochette’s lead had grown to over 10 seconds. A lap later, it was up to 30 seconds. Rochette was on her way to a wire-to-wire win.
One section where the Canadian was dialed in was the technical section in “The Jungle” at the far side of the course. The former Clif Pro Team mountain biker picked up several seconds per lap on the others by riding the technical features efficiently.
Also, with the steep run-up near the canal and the Belgian steps, she really focused on running strong in Sunday’s race.
“I think there’s always something to work on,” Rochette said after the race. “One thing I was really working on today was attacking the running. Yesterday, I kind of went with the flow, but today I was focused on really going for it.”
With two wins in the books, Rochette now turns her attention to the two World Cups. She admitted she will also be keeping her eye on where she places in the CX Heat Check Power Rankings. “We’ll have to ask Bill, but hopefully I’ll move up a few spots,” she said with a laugh.
Another Elite Performance
Honsinger won the U23 National Championship in Louisville last December, and as of this week, she has aged up to the Elites. On Saturday, Honsinger turned some heads with her strong second-place finish in her first race at the sport’s highest class.
When Rochette went from the gun, Honsinger was the first rider to respond to the Canadian’s aggression. She led the chase group in its efforts to keep Rochette at bay after her fast start in the prologue.
“Yesterday, Maghalie got away so quickly, and seeing that happen again today, it was like ‘Come on, get it. Let’s try to keep that.’ I went a little bit earlier, but there’s no catching her,” Honsinger said after the race.
When the lap counter ticked to two, Honsinger was leading the way, with Keough, Fahringer, Mani and Jenn Jackson (Easton – Giant p/b Transitions LifeCare) leading the charge. After The Jungle, Honsinger was on her own in second, with Fahringer chasing in third and Keough, Jackson and Mani behind her.
Once she went free of the others, Honsinger would only look forward toward Rochette the rest of the race. She continued to extend her hold on second and take silver for the second time on the weekend.
“I’m very happy with [my weekend]. It makes me feel very confident going into the World Cups knowing I have good form and my skills are getting to good shape ready to put down for those really big, important races,” Honsinger said.
The race for third turned into a battle between Fahringer and Keough. After a slow start on Saturday, Fahringer keyed in on the first minute of the race and put herself in a good place through the prologue section.
Keough and Fahringer entered the last lap together and stayed together until Keough made a small mistake in between the two parts of Double Trouble.
The small advantage gave Fahringer just enough space to attack and hold the small advantage to the line to take third.
Full race results are below.
Next up on the domestic calendar in the Jingle Cross weekend. Friday night features a C2, the World Cup is on Saturday, and the weekend wraps up with a C1 on Sunday.
Elite Women Results: 2019 Rochester Cyclocross Day 2