For Immediate Release
New England Critweek Director
The 2019 Cycle-Smart New England Critweek presented by Verge Sport stayed suspenseful to the very end, as Kaia Schmid (NE Devo) won the final field sprint and the overall, while Kevin Bouchard-Hall (Velocio Northeast) took advantage of the battle for the omnium to lap the field twice en route to his victory at the Greenfield Classic Criterium.
With Critweek leader Emma White (Rally-UHC) absent, the series win was up for grabs between a handful of women. After missing round one, however, few expected Schmid to leap over riders who’d scored points in each event so far. Leslie Timm (ButcherBox) and Leslie Lupien (APEX-PEDALPOWER) seemed to be the best positioned going into the last day. With that in mind, the race was aggressive from the start as it has been all week, with Caroline O'dwyer (Team ERRACE) finally getting away solo for the most dangerous move of the day.
Multiple attacks by ButcherBox and Wheelwork’s Anja Meichsner finally brought things back together, setting up a late counter by Clio Dinan (GREEN LINE VELO driven by Zipcar) that was only caught on the last lap.
Dinan’s move was countered by Apex-Pedalpower’s Erin Faccone, originally looking for Lupien but realizing in the chaos she needed to sprint as well, and go early, over the top of the ButcherBox train. Only Schmid and Minda Murray (ButcherBox) got by, and the order of the finish mirrored the order of the overall, and very narrowly at that. The top three riders were separated by only five points at the end, demonstrating the importance of a single placing as well as the mid-way points sprints.
The men’s event was as chaotic and confusing as a race could be, even if the overall was more clear cut. A move of 18 riders with almost all the favorites escaped early, driven mostly by riders taking turns attacking rather than pulling though and bringing the competition with them. At the first points sprint 20 minutes in, Danny Estevez took the maximum, followed by Kevin Goguen (CCB) and Madi Hartley-Brown (NE Devo), putting a dent into Curtis White’s overall lead. That was Bouchard-Hall’s moment to pounce.
“I kept them in my sights as they sprinted and myself and two others jumped them as they regrouped,” Bouchard-Hall explained. “The three of us—Tate Kokubo, Ethan Call, and myself—drove the pace hard and got a good gap from the break and that put us close to lapping the field. We bridged the final bit to the field in three hard laps.”
When the group of three made contact with the field, Bouchard-Hall’s Velocio Northeast teammates were ready. Bouchard-Hall continued, “My teammates Mike Morse, Preston Buehrer, and Connor Jennings waiting for me. They hit the gas and pulled me right to the front.”
In fact, they not only went to the front, they immediately split the field again, creating a new group of seven, with only Bouchard-Hall from the original break. “It would be another four laps before the rest of the original break would lap the field,” he said. “By then, I was gone.”
For Bouchard-Hall, the best way to guarantee his win was to go around again and make sure no one else was able to. For the next 25 minutes, the riders in the second break went all in, eventually making contact with three laps to go.
While the field had written off the win, the battle for the overall was still on. Hartley-Brown had taken what remained of the second points sprint over Estevez, again chipping away at White’s lead. The race for second on the day was going to decide who got to leave Greenfield with the blue Verge leader’s jersey.
White decided not to wait around for the sprint, and attacked with Ethan Call and Matt Curbeau just as Bouchard-Hall made contact with the field. He finished just off the front for 2nd with Call in 3rd, Goguen jumping late to get 4th, and Estevez coasting in for 10th once he realized the overall had slipped away.
For his part, Bouchard-Hall savored the win, sitting up at the back with the rest of his team.
“I was not the strongest guy in the race, not even close, but I was strong enough to be in the right place enough of the time to get lucky. I also had very savvy teammates to guide me through the pack and put me back off the front and cover anything from the pack after me.”
White’s 2nd place was enough to keep him in the jersey by 18 points over Goguen, and 31 over Estevez.
For more information on all the events and Critweek standings, visit https://www.necritweek.com/.