Loris Rouiller (Heizomat-Kloster Kitchen) won the C1 elite men’s contest at Virginia’s Blue Ridge GO Cross in a three-rider sprint to the line in Roanoke, Virginia. Anton Ferdinande (DHM) finished second and Andrew Strohmeyer (CXD-Trek Bikes) settled for third.
The clash of the top contenders to begin the US Cyclocross Series (USCX) faded away as men’s defending series champion Curtis White (Steve Tilford Foundation Racing) could not match the pace of the younger trio on the rolling course and finished seven seconds behind for fourth place. Vincent Baestaens (Spits CX season), who won five USCX races last season, finished fifth, 28 seconds behind White, who made his first appearance in the stars-and-stripes jersey.
Rouiller, who finished 18th in his first appearance in the elite race at the UCI Cyclocross World Championships last year, said he waited to make his winning move from a group of five riders on the ninth and final lap.
“It’s a very fast race. The climb [School Hill], it’s so hard for the legs because you push your maximum and can attack there but the guys come so fast in back of you,” the Swiss winner said. “It’s just so fast today.”
On the 2.9km Fallon Park circuit was School Hill, located at the start and finish of each lap. It was there that Rouiller said he pushed the pace on the final lap to drop Baestaens and White, and then had to hold off Ferdinande and Strohmeyer at the end.
Sunday the same 42 men are expected to line up for the C2 contest at GO Cross, and more points for the USCX standings.
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