With big names like Jorden Wakeley, Alex Vanias, Chad Wells and others taking the headlines last week, here are five riders to keep an eye on this Sunday.
The second leg of Cross the Bay should decide who is in with a shout for the points series, and racers will be pulling out the stops to take top honors in all three categories. With more than a few riders opting to change categories, including both the C and B race winners from Breezway, there will certainly be some new names on the top of podiums. Here’s a look at some likely candidates, plus a name or two that will ride to challenge them.
Bennett Paul, Einstein Racing. The hero of race one, his fifth place finish in the A race was buried happily behind a B race win. The slender captain of Team Yellow rode an impeccable first race before gutting out a top five later in the afternoon. He gave Trever Kingsbury a solid challenge before falling back, a stellar performance after a hard-fought hour of racing. With less fatigue and more training, Bennett could be a podium challenger even agains the likes of Vanias, Wakeley and Wells.
Jason Luther, Algoma Bicycle Co. The Canadian started slow last week before grinding his way into the top ten against of the most talented fields of any cyclocross race in the state. With Paul, Wes Sovis and a few others likely to jump to A, he’ll be in position to battle for the win, flanked by his Squadra of orange-and-white teammates. No one rides a smarter race than Luther, and if he can limit his time losses in the first two laps, he’s capable of eating up a lot of ground late to take a victory.
Hailey Fogo, North Country Cycle Sport. She’s STILL undefeated, folks. The Junior phenom has yet to miss the top step in a Cross the Bay race. Until someone steps up, she’ll ride as the overwhelming favorite at every race. She got the closest scare yet at Breezeway, however, with teammate Madison Reynolds giving dutiful and sporting chase for the full thirty minutes. Fogo may go down as the most successful cyclocross Junior if she can keep the streak alive through December.
Jim Picotte, Einstein Racing. Sure, he probably should have made his B race debut last week, but the overwhelming Picotte’s performance in the C race was certainly impressive. Over 30 seconds back after two laps, Picotte dropped the hammer and broke from the chase group to bridge to teammate and leader Austin Johnson just as his advantage began to wane. Picotte will join Einstein teammates Rob Goepfrich and Cody Sovis in the B race to take on ABC, Hagerty and the rest, this time with a great victory under his belt and a little bounce in his step.
Bobbie Liegl, Latitude 45. With ABC’s Kim Chapman skipping Northmen Cross, the women’s A race will need a winner. Liegl will be on hand to challenge Tina Dominic (NCCS) and Stacy Smith (Einstein Racing) for the win. With Chapman expected back to rule the playground the rest of the year, it’s a great chance to haul in some cash and take a prestigious win at the perfect time in October. Petoskey’s course should suit Liegl, too, with a bit more elevation and an even more selective parcours on tap.