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UVM Race Gives Cycling A Shot at Nationals

By Isaac Dancy

TEAM CAPTAIN

The MIT Cycling Team is on the verge of its first Nationals qualification in recent memory after a strong showing at the University of Vermont Race Weekend April 17 and 18. The three-event competition consisted of a team time trial and road race on Saturday followed by a criterium on Sunday. With standout results in every event, MIT took third place overall among 18 Division III schools and set the tone for next weekend’s conference championship races.

MIT’s strong performance started at Saturday morning’s team time trial, held on a 16-mile out-and-back course. In a team time trial, each team of up to four riders works together to complete the course in the fastest time. The MIT women proved resilient against the fierce headwind to post their best finish of the season, taking sixth place in the elite women’s A category. The MIT men continued their consistent season performances, averaging more than 40 kph for the course and finishing in fifth place.

The afternoon road race on Saturday was an epic event held in the midst of thunderstorms and finishing with a devastating ascent of Mount Philo, with dauntingly steep grades that forced many riders to dismount and walk. MIT riders proved their toughness with an array of impressive results while many riders from other teams abandoned mid-race as conditions worsened and the race leaders extended their advantage. Dye-Zone A. Chen G captured sixth in the men’s B race while teammates Kieran F. Culligan ’06 and Keith M. Jordy ’07 finished 15th and 33rd, respectively. In the A category, Caitlin Bever G took 11th while men’s riders Ariel M. Herrmann G and Isaac J. Dancy G stormed in for their best results of the season at 10th and 15th, respectively.

Sunday’s criterium, held on a 1-km loop in the heart of the University of Vermont campus, gave another opportunity for the MIT team to extend its success. New racer Brian H. Savery ’04 captured 21st in the Men’s D race while Melanie J. Michalak ’06 took fifth in the Women’s B field sprint and Melissa M. Harrison G rode in for 15th. Dye-Zone A. Chen G posted the best MIT result of the weekend with a second place finish in the men’s B race, darting though the field after entering the final corner in a difficult position and accelerating in the final sprint to within a wheel’s length of victory. Caitlin Bever G took 13th in the Women’s A race and Isaac J. Dancy G capped off the weekend by adding to the team point total, finishing in 19th place in the men’s A race.

With its third place finish for the weekend, the team is comfortably among the top six schools in the Eastern conference heading into the conference championship races hosted next weekend by the University of New Hampshire. MIT is well-positioned in the season point totals and the team will be racing to cement a team berth for Collegiate Road National Championships in Madison, Wisconsin, at the end of May.