For Immediate Release
New England Critweek Director
A seven nation army couldn’t hold back the White siblings on Sunday in Fitchburg, as national criterium champion Emma (Rally/UHC Cycling) took the elite women’s Longsjo Classic, while older brother Curtis (unattached) repeated his 2018 victory in the men’s race.
The 35-mile women’s event was notable for relentless attacking, particularly from Jessica He, Jennifer Darmody, and Kristen Arnold from the ButcherBox team. Small groups of two to three riders would get away, but on a fast and windy course things repeatedly came back together, a pattern White identified early. “Today was fast and exciting,” she said. “Without teammates, it was a whole different ballgame and I had to adjust the way I typically race. ButcherBox was strong and aggressive. I chose my battles and only went with the most threatening moves but it became clear that the race was going to end in a sprint.”
End in a sprint it did, one that almost spelled disaster for White. ButcherBox came through the final corner one-two, with Minda Murray leading out Leslie Timm, Leslie Lupien (APEX-PEDALPOWER) riding their train, and White seemingly out of position in sixth wheel. White jumped from the back and up the right side just as Murray pulled off, closing down the lane. White spectacularly took advantage of a brief gap in the curb to barrel through and win with a gap over Lupien and Wheelwork’s Anja Meichsner, as Timms faded to 12th.
For White, it was an expected but still hard-fought victory, and she was her usual gracious, ebullient self. “I love this race and all the people that show up!” she said.
The 50-mile men’s event is historic for its memorial of Olympian Art Lonsjo, but also for being the second oldest criterium in the United States, and one of the few still racing a full 50 miles. It invariably leads to a race with a lot of attrition and ultimately, a breakaway that takes about half the race to establish. NE Devo’s Travis Wold was seemingly in every move that went clear before the final break of seven solidified.
“It was a very tactical race up to the very end” White said. “There were times where there was total cooperation, and times where there was none.” Despite the attacks and counterattacks up front, all seven riders arrived together at one lap to go, with a second group of four about to make contact.
White explained how his winning move unfolded. “Connor Jennings (Velocio Northeast) put in a real solid attack as we got the bell with one lap to go. As soon as he let up, I counterattacked and was able to get a small gap. There was another group about to make the juncture with us, which would have added more chaos and pressure for me. A couple of the guys in the group had teammates in the chasing group, and it would have been to their advantage if they let them join.”
Just as White attacked, Kevin Goguen (CCB) skipped a pedal in turn one trying to follow, causing the rest to pause and giving White the buffer he needed. The break watched as White went all in on the backstretch, with Jennings finally going again with a half lap remaining to try and close the gap.
“It was a big risk for me to attack long range like I did, but I saw it as a bigger risk to be conservative,” White said. “I’m thrilled that the risk payed off, and to be joining Emma on the top step!” Goguen came back around in the sprint for second, with NE Devo’s New Zealander Madi Hartley-Brown in third. ButcherBox’s Sam Rosenholtz dominated the field sprint for 12th.