Athens, Columbus OH– On a weekend that saw Notre Dame add more conquests to an already impressive season, no riders performed better than those of the men’s C team. Mike Chifala, Josh Corcoran, David Pratt, Jim Snitzer, and Luke Tilmans were untouchable throughout the competition at Ohio State placing four in the top 10 of Saturday’s road race while both sweeping the podium and taking five of the top ten in Sunday’s criterium.
Forty riders took to the narrow roads of Southern Ohio in the C road race with the group largely shadow boxing for the first ten miles. A difficult climb at mile 11 shattered the field, reducing the leaders to seventeen including the ND quartet of Chifala, Corcoran, Snitzer, and Tilmans. This elite group maintained its lead for the next 22 miles, until the same moan-inducing climb split the peloton again. With only four other riders for company, Snitzer and Tilmans made it over the top in the first split and worked in an attempt to stave off a hard-chasing group of five. After a long descent, the two groups joined with four miles to go making a sprint finish imminent. At the line, Purdue emerged victorious after a strong pull dropped Corcoran (4th) from the lead out train. Tilmans squeezed though the narrow straight for a 3rd place finish while Chifala and Snitzer finished 7th and 9th to place four Notre Dame riders in the top ten.
After a hard crash on the third lap, the men’s C criterium settled into rhythm, with multiple attackers, including Corcoran, breaking clear only to be caught shortly later. Sensing tired legs in the field, Corcoran again attacked and won a mid race points prime for his effort. Peloton reeling from the sprint, Tilmans and Chifala delivered the killing blow by attacking simultaneously and quickly establishing a lead of ten seconds with 12 laps to go. The remaining Notre Dame riders in the main field blocked any attempted pursuit and soon Tilmans and Chifala had built a considerable advantage. Crossing the line with his first ever win, Tilmans gave Notre Dame its 3rd mass start win of 2012 while Chifala’s 2nd was also a collegiate best. David Pratt, completed the podium sweep by winning the field sprint, while Corcoran took 6th and Snitzer 9th.
Continuing Notre Dame’s impressive weekend on the Women’s side, Carolyn McCann impressed with career bests in both the road race and criterium. The women’s B/C road race started out at a leisurely pace and when a two woman break went early, McCann attempted to chase it along with a rider from Lindenwood. The two could not reel in the break and rejoined the field. A crash on a climb midway through the race splintered the pack even further, but McCann was able to narrowly avoid the carnage and ride the last four miles solo for a career best seventh place.
The women’s B/C crit was rather slow in comparison to last weekend’s downtown hammer fest. McCann put herself in the lead group heading into the last three laps. When the last lap rolled around the pace picked up and McCann held on for seventh place.
Leading into races at OSU the men’s B team had not been beaten in a criterium, a trend which continued with John Pratt’s 2nd win of the year Sunday. Starting his sprint before the final turn, Pratt easily coasted to victory in the final meters, pumping his arms in celebration. Andrew O’Donnell finished 5th in the race, while Brian Hurley crashed violently on the final turn. Luckily, his bike wasn’t hurt. During the road race, the B team rode tempo at the front of the group, shedding competitors every time over the major hills. A group of eight formed halfway through the 60 mile race, producing a narrow win from Wisconsin. ND placed 3 in the top ten with Pratt, O’Donnell, and Hurley recording 3rd, 6th, and 9th place finishes respectively.
Racing in men’s A, Douglas Ansel put in a strong showing in the 80 mile road race Saturday sticking with the main pack for over 60 miles. In Sunday’s criterium, Magro took a stab at a breakaway midway through the hour event, but average speeds hovering just under 30mph frustrated attackers all afternoon. Riding 4th with 3 laps to go, Magro narrowly avoided multiple last lap crashes and just missed the top 10, crossing the line in 11th position.
Joined by Phil Palmon, August Kunkel, and Patrick Handy, Charlie Magiera made his collegiate cycling debut in men’s D. In the road race, Handy was able to climb the hills with the lead pack of six riders and continued his streak of top 10 finishes. Kunkel worked with a group of six riders in the first chase group and Palmon led a second group farther down the road. On Sunday, Kunkel remained with the field the entire race but and although momentarily in difficulty, Palmon and Handy worked together to bridge up to the field after avoiding multiple wrecks. Palmon finished just behind the field while Handy was able to make some moves to secure another top ten finish.