Thursday, December 13, 2007

Boni Fends Off Rivals' Attacks

The B women’s category kicked off this year’s USA Cycling Cyclocross National Championships at Wyandotte County Park less than two days after a headline-making ice storm moved through the region. Thirty-one women lined up at 9 a.m. to literally break in the championship course, which was covered with a veneer of ice left over from the storm.

Kristal Boni of Broomfield, Colo., (Twin Peaks Racing) took the holeshot and never relinquished her lead, fending off attacks by rivals Deb Whitmore (Asheville BRC), Shawnee Brenner (unattached), Corey Coogan (Ridley), and Lauri Webber (Henry’s).

“I took off and had a lead with a girl right behind me – she seemed to be a little bit stronger in the corners, so I just tried to keep digging out of the corners,” Boni said. “She got me a couple times in corners and I just kept pushing through. Then I could see Shawnee and a few other girls start to close in on us, so I really just tried to keep the gas on and keep going.”

By the race’s midpoint, Boni managed to open up a five-second gap over Whitmore, who led the group of Brenner, Webber, and Coogan. A last-lap effort by Brenner put her in second, ahead of Webber, who finished third. Whitmore was fourth and Coogan fifth to round out the podium.

“Kristal and I race together at home and we’ve been battling it out for the last two years, kind of finishing one after the other pretty much every race,” Brenner said. “We know each other’s strengths and weaknesses and I knew if she kept it upright, she had me today.”

Boni and Brenner will go at it again on Friday at 2 p.m. in the women’s 30-34 championship.

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