Honsinger wins a tactical battle, as Brunner goes on a long solo attack to victory on day two at the Shimano/Floyd’s of Leadville U.S. Open of Cyclocross.
BOULDER, Colorado (VN) – Clara Honsinger (Team S&M CX) and Eric Brunner (Blue-Stages Racing) both powered to solo victories on a hot day of racing on Sunday at the UCI C2 Shimano/Floyd’s of Leadville U.S. Open of Cyclocross.
15-time national champion Katie Compton (KFC Racing p/b Trek/Knight) was a notable absence on the elite women’s start line. She heads to Europe on Monday for a six-week block of racing and opted to skip Sunday’s race.
17-year-old Madigan Munro (Boulder Junior Cycling) started the race just as she did on Saturday, taking the lead early and pushing the pace. By the end of the second lap, Munro would have over a 20-second lead. Would she be able to hold it?
Honsinger, second on day one behind Compton, followed Munro closely at the start of the race, but then suffered a dropped chain. She would finally make her way to the front after a few laps and begin closing in on Munro at a rapid pace.
Behind, French national champion Caroline Mani was comfortably in third with Raylyn Russ (MAPP-MINI), Sarah Sturm (Specialized-Ten Speed Hero), and Sunny Gilbert (Pactimo-Colorado Proud) battling for the remaining two podium spots.
Midway through the race, Honsinger made contact with Munro and the duo set to battle again. Munro and Honsinger raced wheel-to-wheel for much of Saturday’s race as well.
Honsinger and Munro would stay together until the final lap when Honsinger put the power down on straightaway just past the barriers and left Munro behind. Mani rolled in for third with Russ slipping by and gaping Sturm on the final lap to capture fourth.
“I thought my race was done a half a lap in, so for it to come to this, ‘yes’” Honsinger told Velonews at the finish. Honsinger said the race against Munro was extremely tactical. “I kicked it over the barriers with a half a lap to go and I think that effort hurt [Munro] a lot.”
After finishing 1-2 on Saturday, all eyes were on the Donnelly-Aevelo duo of Lance Haidet and Gage Hecht. Hecht and Haidet pushed the pace early in the race, again. Day one third-place finisher Brunner made the front split as well, as Cody Cupp (SET Coaching) and Grant Ellwood (Pivot-Maxxis-Stan’s NoTubes) led the chase group behind.
Brunner, who crashed late in the race on Saturday and had to burn matches chasing back into the lead group, put in a blistering acceleration midway through the race that shattered the front group. Hecht and Haidet both chased hard, but Brunner was gone for good. Cupp sat in fourth for much of the middle part of the race until Ellwood settled in and began hammering out quick lap times.
The hometown favorite, Brunner, captured the win. It is only the 21-year-old’s second UCI elite victory. Hecht took second for the second-day in-a-row, as day one winner Haidet settled for third. Ellwood and Cupp both matched their Saturday finishes with fourth and fifth.
“It’s incredible. Definitely one of my most memorable days on the bike,” Brunner, who lives mere blocks from the course, told Velonews. “I was really close to cracking with three to go, but I saw the gap opening-up to Gage [Hecht] … I think I had a little bit something to show today and I knew I had some fast lap times yesterday, so I knew I’d be in contention today.”
U.S Open of Cyclocross Day 2
- Clara Honsinger (Team S&M CX), 46:16
- Madigan Munro (Boulder Junior Cycling), at 0:13
- Caroline Mani (Pactimo-Colorado Proud), at 1:21
- Raylyn Russ (MAPP-MINI), at 1:41
- Sarah Sturm (Specialized-Ten Speed Hero), at 1:53
- Eric Brunner (Blue-Stages Racing), 52:40
- Gage Hecht (Donnelly-Aevolo), at 0:47
- Lance Haidet (Donnelly-Aevolo), at 1:04
- Grant Ellwood (Pivot-Maxxis-Stan’s NoTubes), at 1:41
- Cody Cupp (SET Coaching), at 2:04