Cycling third in Eastern Conference

By Cooper Sutton

Sports Editor

The club cycling team, a week away from competing at the Eastern Championships at Penn State, is currently in third place out of 48 teams in the ECCC. The team is led by president Kelly Desharnais ’12 and Jeff Salvitti ’11, owner of the ECCC “yellow jersey” which is worn by the first place rider in the conference.

Desharnais has been an integral component to Bison success this year, not only leading the program as president but also finishing in the top five in every single race. She stands at third place among females in the Eastern Conference.

“I think a very big part of our success has come from the fact that we have the strongest women’s team in Bucknell Cycling’s history,” Salvitti said. “Never before have we had three strong women competing in the highest level of racing the conference has to offer. I think Kelly Desharnais will most likely be the number-one female rider in the entire conference next year if she continues on her current path.”

The most notable rider on the team is Salvitti, finally wearing the yellow jersey after a hard-working four-year Bison career. He took over the points lead for the ECCC at the beginning of April at the Boston Beanpot.

“It’s definitely an honor to be wearing [the yellow jersey], and he’s just been training really hard,” Desharnais said. “I know he’s been working really hard for it, and he’s hoping to do well at nationals.”

Nationals is certainly the next stop for Salvitti, along with three other riders on the women’s side. Rebekah Morris ’11 and Sinead O’Dwyer ’11 will be representing the Bison along with Desharnais.

“I have been very satisfied with my results and the fact that I had the honor to be the conference leader for a period of time, but I still have some big goals left to accomplish in these next few weeks,” Salvitti said.

The success of these riders, along with the team as a whole comes from a passion and drive within the sport of cycling, Desharnais said. Throughout the past semester, the team has been practicing very hard, even pitting its members against each other in order to improve as a team.

Earlier in the year, the team created a competition to see who could record the most hours of riding for practice. It is activities like this, Desharnais said, that inspired not only camaraderie, but also a love for cycling. By competing over practice time, the team practiced that much more.

With an improved team dynamic and a devoted group of riders, the Bison cycling team will look to find improved success at the Eastern championships and at nationals with a team oriented mindset.

“While we do have a significant amount of riders in A’s, we could not have made it to where we are now without contributions from every individual on the team,” Desharnais said. “We have had individuals from all divisions upgrading and working really hard all season long. We all train together and support each other, which is what makes us such a strong team.”

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