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.
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.
However, Noble must have made a pass on said run-up to start her attack.
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.
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.
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.
At mid-race, Noble had been keeping pressure on White, and Maximenko slowly began to open a gap on Greaser. Each would soon change…
At the steeper, rooty run-up, White had turned the tables on Noble to set the pace:
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.
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.
White would reach the finish a full 17 seconds ahead of Noble, with plenty of time to celebrate the win.
Noble finished safely in 2nd, as the final placings came together over the last lap.