September 29, 2017 (Thompson, Conn.) – The 2017 KMC Cross Fest kicked off the first weekend of competition of the Sho-Air US Cup-CX series at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park in Thompson, Conn.. The elite men’s and women’s races saw group racing that came down to exciting final turns and close sprints with Kaitlin Keough (Cannondale/Cyclocrossworld.com) and Tobin Ortenblad (Santa Cruz/Donkey Label Racing) taking the wins in the Friday night Category 1 event.
The women began the Pro CX C1 race in a large group of 11 riders, with Canadian Maghalie Rochette (Clif Pro Team) driving the pace. The group would eventually splinter down to a group of five comprised of Keough, Emma White (Cannondale/Cyclocrossworld.com), Christel Ferrier Bruneau (SAS Macogep Aquisio), Crystal Anthony (Maxxis Shimano Pro Cyclocross), and Rebecca Fahringer (Stan’s Notubes p/b Maxxis/GoFahr).
Rochette would attack Keough and White until the final turns taking it into a track sprint but Keough would overtake her in the final meters.
“It’s a hard course,” said Keough, making the win her second C1 victory this year, the first coming at Jingle Cross in Iowa City, Iowa. There was nothing that was really splitting it up. That last lap Maghalie and I were pretty much sprinting the entire lap. I think I went the first half and she went the last half. She’s really strong over the technical sections.”
Rochette pushed the pace for most of the six-lap race. “It was pretty painful. On the last lap Katie went in front of me. I knew it wasn’t windy, so I thought I would lead out the sprint. And in the final corner, I said ‘I gotta go now’. I just sprinted and she nipped me at the end. That’s OK. It was a really good race,” the Canadian National Champion added.
The Elite Men’s ProCx C1 race was tactical from start to finish. A group of nine would go into the final turns together with Tobin Ortenblad taking the sprint win, thanks to an inside line in the last corner of the track over Spencer Petrov (Aspire Racing). Jack Kisseberth (JAM Fund/NCC) would sprint to the line for third.
“It was such a crit dynamic, it was such a big group. Hyde, Jack and I had a gap at one point. It came back together. There were just small attacks and no big stuff though. I was pretty confident that I could win a sprint out of the group with the top guys. I put on a bigger gear for tonight, because I knew it would be a super fast finish,” said Ortenblad about no big attacks taking place during the nine long laps. “I tried to stay at the front. There might have been a pinch of hesitation going into the last chicanes and the hairpin into the sprint. I just went as hard as a I could. I thought if I was going a hundred (miles an hour) no one could probably get by and wound it up from there.”
ProCX continues at KMC Cross Fest in Thompson, Conn. with C2 races on Sunday, Oct. 1.
With wins in the C1 events, both Keough and Ortenblad take the early leads in the Sho-Air US Cup-CX series. There are a total of 7 races at four ProCX events where points will be earned, and the season-ending winners for women and men will each take home $10,000.
Pro CX continues for juniors, men and women on Sunday, Oct. 1 at KMC Cross Fest.
1. Kaitlin Keough (Cannondale pb CyclocrossWorld.com) 44:33
2. Maghalie Rochette (CLIF Pro Team)
3. Emma White (Cannondale pb CyclocrossWorld.c) 0:06
4. Christel Ferrier (Sas Macogep Aquisio) 0:07
5. Crystal Anthony (Maxxis Shimano Pro Cyclocross)
13. Ruby West (Cannondale Cyclocrossworld.com) 1:56
24. Erica Leonard (Garneau-Easton p/b Transitions) 4:57
26. Dana Gilligan (Garneau-Easton p/b Transitions) 4:59
1. Tobin Ortenblad (Santa Cruz / Donkey Label Racin) 1:00:00
2. Spencer Petrov (Aspire Racing) 0:19
3. Jack Kisseberth (JAM / NCC)
4. Stephen Hyde (Cannondale P/B Cyclocrossworld.)
5. Kerry Werner Jr. (Kona Factory CX Team) 0:03
15. Gunnar Holmgern (Team Ontario / Centurion Next Wave) 1:24
26. Nicholas Diniz (NCCH Elite p/b MGCC) 2:59
36. Brody Sanderson (Centurion Next Wave) 4:28
38. Marc-Andre Daigle (Garneau-Quebec) 6:01