The Big Picture: Gran Prix of Gloucester Day One (Women’s Pro Race)

[Editor’s Note: John Kavouris, who covered the Tour de France for In The Crosshairs, is back stateside and covering cyclocross with another installment of The Big Picture.]

 The domestic UCI calendar returns once again to Stage Fort Park in Gloucester, MA to kick off New England’s  Verge series. Gloucester is part of New England’s “Holy Week” of cyclocross that kicks off with the Midnight Ride. Weather was comfortable in the mid-60s and sunny. The course was fast, bone-dry, and a real dust bowl.

After a morning of amateur races burning in course-lines, our coverage begins with the UCI Elite Women’s Race:

At the start line, Arley Kemmerer (Level Eleven Racing) and Katie Compton (Trek Factory Racing) gesticulate/discuss the start chute and where it drops riders onto the course. © 2015 John Kavouris
At the start line, Arley Kemmerer (Level Eleven Racing) and Katie Compton (Trek Factory Racing) gesticulate/discuss the start chute and where it drops riders onto the course. © 2015 John Kavouris

Also sighted, Lisa Jacobs (Rapha-Focus), current Australian cyclocross national champion.

© 2015 John Kavouris
© 2015 John Kavouris
Front row starters. ©2015 John Kavouris
Front row starters. ©2015 John Kavouris
Tire choice amongst women and men was mostly split between file treads with side lugs (like the Challenge Chicane), or all-purpose Grifo tread. © 2015 John Kavouris
Tire choice amongst women and men was mostly split between file treads with side lugs (like the Challenge Chicane), or all-purpose Grifo tread. © 2015 John Kavouris

From the gun, the race was dominated by Ellen Noble (JAM Fund), Caroline Mani (Raleigh Clement), Katie Compton, and Helen Wyman (Kona Factory Racing), with Wyman taking the holeshot.

© 2015 John Kavouris
© 2015 John Kavouris

Moments later, Noble would come to the front and push the pace, forcing a selection that would hold for the entirety of the race: Noble, Mani, and Wyman, with Compton chasing on after starting a few places down.

© 2015 John Kavouris
© 2015 John Kavouris
© 2015 John Kavouris
© 2015 John Kavouris
© 2015 John Kavouris
© 2015 John Kavouris
Crystal Anthony (Boulder Cycle Sport/YogaGlo) – Up the stairs, through the dust. © 2015 John Kavouris
Crystal Anthony (Boulder Cycle Sport/YogaGlo) – Up the stairs, through the dust. © 2015 John Kavouris

Two laps in, and Noble, Mani, and Compton were together, with Wyman falling just off the pace ~20s back, and ~20s more to the group of women chasing for 5th place.

© 2015 John Kavouris
© 2015 John Kavouris
Chase group. @ 2015 John Kavouris
Chase group. @ 2015 John Kavouris
Compton’s view during much of the race: chasing Mani and Noble trading pulls/attacks. Katie was able to hang with the two leaders, but never able to put in an attack of her own. © 2015 John Kavouris
Compton’s view during much of the race: chasing Mani and Noble trading pulls/attacks. Katie was able to hang with the two leaders, but never able to put in an attack of her own. © 2015 John Kavouris

At the run-up a lap later, the situation at the front of the race remained unchanged: 3 off the front, Wyman in between, and chase-group together.

© 2015 John Kavouris
© 2015 John Kavouris
© 2015 John Kavouris
© 2015 John Kavouris
Wyman, still in no-(wo)man’s-land between leaders and chasing group behind would go on to finish 4th. Minus a bobble on an off camber, she was pretty great lookin’ doing so. © 2015 John Kavouris
Wyman, still in no-(wo)man’s-land between leaders and chasing group behind would go on to finish 4th. Minus a bobble on an off camber, she was pretty great lookin’ doing so. © 2015 John Kavouris

While Noble put on a fantastic show early to animate the race, with 1 lap to go, Mani hit the afterburners and left Noble hanging on and soon opening a small gap on Compton.

image17

As the leaders reached the long, slightly uphill finishing straight, Mani had plenty of room for a solid victory salute.

© 2015 John Kavouris
© 2015 John Kavouris

Despite missing out on the win, Noble finishes in 2nd place, all smiles.

© 2015 John Kavouris
© 2015 John Kavouris

Compton takes 3rd, Wyman 4th, and Amanda Miller (Boulder Cycle Sport/YogaGlo) rounds out the top-5.

Bonus points to Siobhan Kelly (To Wheels/Epic Sports Performance) for showing off the course conditions. Dry CX is by no means dirt-free CX.

© 2015 John Kavouris
© 2015 John Kavouris

Keep a lookout for Men’s day 1 coverage coming soon, and full coverage of both Men’s and Women’s races on day 2.

The final podium: Noble (2d), Mani (1st) and Compton (3rd). © John Kavouris
The final podium: Noble (2d), Mani (1st) and Compton (3rd). © John Kavouris
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