HED: Jeremiah Bishop, Amanda Carey take wins on Tussey Ridge
DEK: Current GC remains unchanged
by Mike Cushionbury
The Queen stage of the Trans-Sylvania Epic came down to a battle between the top three GC contenders. As predicted Jason Sager (Team Jamis) attacked on the biggest fireroad climb of the day, which came early in a bid to distance himself from Kona’s Kris Sneddon.
As the open men went up the first singletrack climb off the start Jeremiah Bishop, riding his Cannondale Scalpel 29’er prototype once again, opened up a 25-second gap but sat up at the top to regroup with teammate Alex Grant, Sneddon, his teammate Barry Wicks, Sager and a few other contenders. When the group finally hit the big climb Sager attacked. “He went like it was a road race and instantly got a gap,” explained Bishop.
As the group followed, Wicks was setting pace for his teammate Snedden, who was second on GC. At this point Grant went to the front and pulled Bishop up to Sager.
“When I saw there was separation I slowed down a little just because that far out you need people to ride with,” said Sager. “I heard that Sneddon was gaining faster than Grant so we had to go right away and leave Grant at that point. We were going man to man. Kris chased hard and I went hard.”
As they progressed through the 38-mile course Bishop played it safe, knowing that Sager was on a mission to put time into Sneddon and possibly take over second place in the GC. As the pair hit the rocky singletrack climb leading up to Tussey Ridge, Sager got the jump as Bishop followed, eventually getting around and opening a small gap on the technical section. Unfortunately Bishop lost his chain on the backside of the mountain allowing Sager to join back on. Once the pair hit the final four-mile gravel road to the finish Bishop, knowing that Sager was working to get back time took only took token pulls to keep the pace up. Once the pair turned onto the steep, one-mile grassy climb that funneled to the finish line Bishop attacked and won with 30 seconds to spare over Sager and 7mn:37sec over Grant. But the Jamis rider’s efforts were not in vain, he was able to secure second overall in the GC heading into the last day, 7mn:30sec behind Bishop. Sneddon fell back to third overall, 7mn:31sec behind Sager.
As the open women rode up the first singletrack in a compact group all the major players were accounted for early. Heading into the fireroad climb Amanda Carey (Kenda/Felt) opened up a convincing lead but once into the technical trails Selene Yeager (Team CF) closed the gap and eventually passed her going across the ridge. Once off the rocks and on the final run-in to the finish Carey was able to catch back on to Yeager and then pull away for a solo victory, all but securing her GC title at the conclusion of tomorrow’s final stage.
In the hotly contested single-speed race, Morgan Miller (West Virginia Night Club) took yet another win ahead of Rich Dillen (Team Dicky) and GC leader Rich Straub (Freeze Thaw/BikeFlights/NoTubes).
“When Morgan saw Straub it was over, f**k it,” quipped Dillen. “I had stopped to straighten my rotor then I rode behind Miller for a while but when he saw Straub he was gone. I wanted no part if it.”
Greg Martin (Club Ride) who started the day in third overall retired from the race mid-stage and in so doing moves Miller into third overall on GC, 8mn:04sec behind Dillen and 29mn: 07sec behind Straub.
Above images Copyright A.E.Landes Photography/TSE 2011
Above images Copyright Zachary Repp/TSE 2011