TRAVERSE CITY — A pair of first-timer finishers earned first place in the men's and women's Cherry-Roubaix criterium pro races Saturday.
Men's winner Kevin Depasse said he has never raced north of Chicago before, and edged out Rudyard Peterson in a sprint to the finish line, while women's champ Dori Leib was able to do the same, overtaking Amy Stauffer down the final stretch to earn the win. Both take home $500 in prize money — and win the state championship — for their victories.
"We had an awesome squad here to today, some awesome local guys," the 23-year-old Depasse said. "It's so much fun. It's exciting being with guys that you love to work for. I just happened to win today. Any one of these guys could have won. We all work for each other. Each scenario is different."
Bissell teammate Dan Lam led much of the race, claiming the early lead in the nearly hour-long race through Traverse City's Central Neighborhood streets.
"To win these races at this level, it takes a lot of teamwork — a lot of sacrificing for other people," Depasse said. "I'm going to sacrifice myself (today) because somebody else has a better chance of winning than I do. That's how it is. It's give and take with these guys. It's an awesome team.
"I was floating at the back for the first half of the race, letting my guys take care of things. I wanted to win with the break-away. Dave Williams is one of the strongest guys I know, and he brought everything back and made it a field sprint. My number was called and I just happened to be on some legs and it all worked out."
A Farmington Hills resident, Leib has actually raced here once before, but wasn't able to finish last year's race after her shifter broke on the first lap.