Sterling, Massachusetts – Round 7 of the 2008 Verge New England Championship Cyclo-Cross Series was contested in varying conditions on a typical clean, crisp fall day in New England. While morning conditions were muddy and slick as the morning’s frost gave way to the sun of the day, the afternoon gave the elite riders a technical but fast parcours to contest their events on. Although Maureen Bruno-Roy (MM Racing p/b Seven Cycles) may have preferred the morning conditions, she dominated the women’s field to take the win and show that she is coming into peak form with the national championships less than a month away. Cannondale/Cyclocrossworld’s Jamey Driscoll has won in many conditions this year, and his 6th victory of the season was a typical 2008 Driscoll effort that no one else could match for the 60 minute race.
With series Amy Drombroski not in attendance, the series leadership was open for either Bruno-Roy or Rebecca Wellons (Ridley) to snag. But Bruno-Roy’s quick start on lap 1 set the pace and no one could keep up. Within ½ lap she was clear of Wellons, Sally Annis (NEBC/Cycleloft/Devonshire Dental), Amy Wallace (Richard Sachs/RGM/Boathouse), and Anna Milkowski (Velo Bella), amongst others. Bruno-Roy would never be threatened throughout the 40 minute event, but Wellons put through a monster effort on a course that suited her power style to hold on to 2nd place and take the series lead going into the final 2 races coming up this weekend. Annis was able to pass Wallace to take the final podium spot on the day.
Driscoll was the favorite on the start line of the men’s race, but the start of the day went to young giant Nick Keough (Jittery Joes/Sonic), who blitzed the field from the end of the 1st row to lead most of the 1st 2 laps. Mostly due to Keough’s efforts the front group was whittled quickly to 7 riders, including Matt White (Bikereg.com/Joe’s Garage), Justin Spinelli (Richard Sachs/RGM/Boathouse), Adam Myerson (Cycle-Smart/Van Dessel), Josh Dillon (Fiordifrutta), Justine Lindine (TARGETRAINING), and Driscoll. With Keough hammering the pace on lap 2, this group of 7 became 2, as Driscoll recognized the strength of the youngster and put it into overdrive to stay with him. But as happens with most efforts of inexperienced riders, Keough ran out of gas and Driscoll got the solo lead that he would not relinquish. White was on top of the best of the rest, but the fastest rider of the day could have been Spinelli, who twice recovered from miscues to claw his way up the field and duel with White for 2nd. White took the sprint at the end with Spinelli earning a hard-fought 3rd. In the battle for the U23 race, Keough looked to have a insurmountable lead, even with him falling out of the lead group. But appearing to be suffering from illness and having some apparent leg cramp problems, by 1 lap to go his lead was lost to a perseverant Will Dugan (Richard Sachs/RGM/Boathouse) as was the leaders jersey in the very competitive U23 season series.
The masters race lead was fought for by a couple of familiar faces, and one no so familiar. Westwood Velo’s Roger Aspholm and Corner Cycle’s Jonny Bold waged war again, with Aspholm getting the better of Bold this time. But the final podium spot was taken by Mark Stotz (Corner Cycles), who has the best ride of his season to far to stay with the front group for the entire 45 minute race. Teammates Kevin Hines and John Mosher (Corner Cycles) went 1-2 in the 45+ race to seal the season win for Hines.
Luke Keough (CL Noonan/Coast-to-Coast/KAM) was back from a very successful European campaign and was again not challenged in taking the junior race win and snagged back the overall series lead. Hot Tubes’ Gavin Mannion was 2nd on the day, marking the 3rd race in a row that Mannion has been on the podium. Manny Goguen (Minuteman Road Club) held off Jesse Keough (CL Noonan/Coast-to-Coast/KAM) for 3rd place on the day.
The series will conclude this coming weekend as rounds 8 and 9 will be held at Goddard Park in Warwick, RI with the NBX Grand Prix taking place. Some of the series races are all but wrapped up, but some are nail-biting close. Jamey Driscoll needs to have some major mechanical problems happen to lose his lead, with a 96 point lead over Matt White. With her now in the jersey, Rebecca Wellons looks to be in good shape to take the overall series, as rivals Amy Dombrowski and Maureen Bruno-Roy are not expected to be in attendance for the series final. Jonny Bold has a stranglehold of the Masters 35+ division, while teammate Kevin Hines doesn’t even have to start to win the 45+ series. Luke Keough is back in the lead in the junior division, and if another trip to Europe doesn’t pry him away he should prevail in the season series.
The 2008 Verge New England Championship Cyclo-Cross Series is brought to you by Verge Sport, makers of fine cycling clothing and products since 1993; by Cycle-Smart, purveyors of personalized cycling coaching and solutions for riders across the country; by Cycle-Ops, makers of high-tech accessories to meet any indoor training plans; by Echappe, rent-to-own the latest in race wheels – try before you buy at Echappe; by BikeReg.com, the official online registration service of the NECCS; and by Paul Weiss Photo/Video, the official photographer of the NECCS. You can visit these sponsors and get more information on the series by going to the web at http://www.necyclocross.com.