Breakaway Success in the Men’s A RR
By Ross Marklein
Nearly 50 Men’s A riders lined up to brave freezing temperatures at RPI’s inaugural circuit race, which provided plenty of excitement in the other categories and definitely did not disappoint in the final race of the day. The race began with a pretty tame pace for the first couple rolling miles and many riders began jockeying for position on the bumpy descent before arriving on the windy backstretch along the river. Here, riders from many schools began attacking and forming somewhat cohesive groups, but nothing substantial formed before arriving at the climb for the first time.
At the bottom, Ross Marklein (UPenn) attacked and was quickly followed by Robert Burnett (F & M) and they quickly distanced themselves from the field and began working together and building a gap for the following 2 laps. Their gap peaked at over a minute, but on the 3rd time up the climb the field came back into sight with a group of 6 chasers closing down on the duo with the rest of the field strung out from the 3rd time up the punishing climb.
The 6 chasers included Max Korus (Penn), Jeff Salvitti (Bucknell), Wyatt Stoup (PSU), Samson McHugh (Pitt), and two unknown Canadians (apologies…) and the break du jour was formed and began gaining significant time on the field. Within a few laps, both friends from the north could not match the rotating pace of the remaining 6, and they faded back to the chasing pack.
While there were several attempts to chase down the break, having 5 of the top 10 ITT finishers helped put significant time into the field and with most of the large teams represented, there was little chance for a concerted effort to bring them back. The break rotated well until the final windy stretch on the river where the rotation was disrupted and several riders looked at each other waiting for a move.
The group arrived at the base of the climb together where Salvitti launched his attacked and was marked by Korus and McHugh. Korus countered further up the climb with McHugh on his wheel, but unfortunately could not hold off the crafty Pitt rider, who swung around and claimed his second victory of the season. Burnett, Stoup, and Marklein rolled in well behind the top three and then everyone would await the field, which would not arrive until 5 minutes later. Brendan Siekman (USMA) and Stuart McManus (Harvard) shot away from the field to claim 7th and 8th, respectively, while the rest of the field arrived 2 minutes later after deciding to just wait for the final climb to decide who earned the remaining points. Overall, a dominant day for Pitt as their riders claimed victories in both the ITT (Nik Reinart) and the RR (Samson McHugh).
Many teams were talking about how much they enjoyed the road race (even in less than desirable conditions) and I for one hope this circuit becomes a staple in future ECCC weekends!