The Big Picture: CycleSmart International Cyclocross Day 2 (Elite Women)

After settling for 2nd place a day prior, Emma White (CyclocrossWorld Development Team) struck back on day 2 of CycleSmart International to take the win against a late fading Ellen Noble (JAM Fund/NCC/Vittoria, 2nd). Cassandra Maximenko (Van Dessel Cycles) claimed the 3rd spot on the podium, improving upon her prior day’s 5th place. With contenders the same but new battles to play out on the slightly modified course, the Elite Women closed out the weekend in Northampton in epic fashion.

White hoists the winner’s giant cookie, furnished by Tart Baking Company of Northampton, MA. © 2015 John kavouris
White hoists the winner’s giant cookie, furnished by Tart Baking Company of Northampton, MA. © John Kavouris. www.johnkavouris.com.
From the start, Noble would again take the holeshot.
From the start, Noble would again take the holeshot. © John Kavouris. www.johnkavouris.com.

 

Like the day prior, Noble would start hard to set herself in a good position for later attacks, but let another rider dictate the early pace. This time, Greaser took charge amongst the leaders, and early in lap 1 she led through the sand-pit.

 

Greaser continued to lead for a little over one more lap.
Greaser continued to lead for a little over one more lap. © John Kavouris. www.johnkavouris.com.
Approaching one of the run-ups, Greaser was still leading.
Approaching one of the run-ups, Greaser was still leading. © John Kavouris. www.johnkavouris.com.

However, Noble must have made a pass on said run-up to start her attack.

Coming back down a moment later, Noble leads.
Coming back down a moment later, Noble leads. © John Kavouris. www.johnkavouris.com.

Over the next half-lap, White was able to match Noble’s pace, while Greaser and Maximenko slowly watched the two ride away as a separation formed.

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© John Kavouris. www.johnkavouris.com.

From afar, I watched the gap grow, and watched racers watch each other. The course was laid out with plenty of sight lines and adjacent straightaways, allowing each racer to keep near constant tabs on their competition.

Noble and White battle for 1st, Greaser and Maximenko (just right of frame) battle for 3rd, and Kathleen Lysakowski (Joe’s Garage CX p/b BikeReg) and Natasha Elliott (Red Truck -Garneu p/b Easton Cycling) fight for 5th.
Noble and White battle for 1st, Greaser and Maximenko (just right of frame) battle for 3rd, and Kathleen Lysakowski (Joe’s Garage CX p/b BikeReg) and Natasha Elliott (Red Truck -Garneu p/b Easton Cycling) fight for 5th. © John Kavouris. www.johnkavouris.com.

The previous day’s sketchy switchback descent had been modified to a leg sapping, loose dirt run-up. As racers approached, the situation remained largely unchanged.

 

Noble and White.
Noble and White. © John Kavouris. www.johnkavouris.com.
Maximenko and Greaser.
Maximenko and Greaser. © John Kavouris. www.johnkavouris.com.
Lysakowski would establish and hold a small gap over Elliott, while slowly closing the gap and almost reaching Greaser and Maximenko.
Lysakowski would establish and hold a small gap over Elliott, while slowly closing the gap and almost reaching Greaser and Maximenko. © John Kavouris. www.johnkavouris.com.

At mid-race, Noble had been keeping pressure on White, and Maximenko slowly began to open a gap on Greaser. Each would soon change…

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© John Kavouris. www.johnkavouris.com.

At the steeper, rooty run-up, White had turned the tables on Noble to set the pace:

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© John Kavouris. www.johnkavouris.com.

Between photo-spots, I hear a thud and looked down the embankment: Maximenko crashed on the downhill post-run-up, giving Greaser a free advantage.

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Maximenko back up from the ground, quickly runs to remount. © John Kavouris. www.johnkavouris.com.

 

Maximenko quickly remounted to pursue Greaser, not giving up too much time, but still burned extra matches dangerously close to the finish. Nonetheless, Maximenko would catch Greaser and immediately put in an attack.
Maximenko quickly remounted to pursue Greaser, not giving up too much time, but still burned extra matches dangerously close to the finish. Nonetheless, Maximenko would catch Greaser and immediately put in an attack. © John Kavouris. www.johnkavouris.com.

Maximenko closing in on Greaser. Open sight lines help and hurt, giving chaser a ‘carrot,’ and chasee an indication of how to meter effort.

Back at the front of the race, White had opened a gap by the final lap with Noble completely unable to respond.

Entering the sand, White held an advantage of a few seconds, but would ride smooth and steady until the finish while Noble seemed to resort to damage control.
Entering the sand, White held an advantage of a few seconds, but would ride smooth and steady until the finish while Noble seemed to resort to damage control. © John Kavouris. www.johnkavouris.com.

White would reach the finish a full 17 seconds ahead of Noble, with plenty of time to celebrate the win.

 

All smiles.
All smiles. © John Kavouris. www.johnkavouris.com.

Noble finished safely in 2nd, as the final placings came together over the last lap.

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Maximenko took 3rd, managing to hold off Greaser in 4th. Meanwhile, Lysakowski rode hard and consistently all race, taking 5th, having just missed catching Greaser and challenging for 4th. © John Kavouris. www.johnkavouris.com.

 

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