The finale of the 2012 Verge New England Cyclocross Series will be held this weekend, November 24th and 25th, at Baystate Cyclocross. This weekend’s races take place at the revered and formidable course designed by Tom Stevens in Sterling, Massachusetts, offering one challenging course feature after another: off-camber turns, stairs, difficult remounts, even a horse jump.

Series points earned at Rounds 1 and 2 during Green Mountain Cyclocross Weekend in Williston, VT and Round 3 and 4 of Downeast Cyclocross Weekend in New Gloucester, ME have been tallied, offering a snapshot of who’s who in New England Cyclocross – but be prepared for the fiercest battles to be fought this weekend. Spectators will witness the final showdown for series points leadership in eleven categories during the Rounds 5 and 6, and many of these competitions are so close that the winners will be determined by the outcome of this weekend.

The winners of the 2012 Verge New England Cyclocross Series in all categories will be honored in a ceremony following the final race on Sunday.

Justin Lindine (Redline), the leader of the Elite Men’s category, looks to have a clear road ahead to taking the series in Sterling. His solid lead in series points will likely prevent another eleventh-hour upset for the hometown hero. His experience losing the series win on the last day of racing two years ago will make Lindine’s first Verge New England Cyclocross Series win all the sweeter.

Crystal Anthony (Cyclocrossworld.com) looks certain to be crowned the Queen of New England cyclocross in 2012. Her current series points lead is as big as the gaps she has won with in all four Elite Women’s Verge Series races so far this season. Anthony has taken a place among the nation’s best this year, earning a third-place ranking in USA Cycling’s individual Elite Women’s cyclocross standings heading into the the weekend. Catherine Sterling (Bikeman.com) holds a strong second position in the points competition, having made strong showings at the Verge series races this year, while Canada’s Maghalie Rochette is not far behind in third.

The Verge series pits the Junior 15-18 field against the Elite 35+ Masters field, and although the rankings are tallied separately, the two categories hitting the field at the same time causes some brilliant fireworks, making these incredibly fast races some of the most exciting to spectate. Todd Bowden (Expowheelmen), former Canadian 40+ Cyclocross Champion, currently holds the 35+ Masters series lead, although US 35-39 National Cyclocross Champion Brian Wilichoski (Cyclocrossworld.com) is only ten points behind. Cooper Willsey (Cyclocrossworld.com) leads the Junior 15-18 competition, with Peter Goguen (CF Racing p/b Trek Portsmouth) not far behind. In both fields, the winners will likely not emerge until racing is complete on Sunday.

The Amateur Women and Amateur Masters Women, also racing together but earning series points separately, will heat up this weekend. Karen Tripp (Blue Steel Cyclery), the leader in the 35+ category, faces tough competition from Melody Chase (NorEast) and teammate Kathy Savary (Blue Steel Cyclery), both within reach of the top spot on the series podium. Meanwhile, Melissa LaFleur (BONK! Support) holds a strong lead in the Amateur Women’s field. LaFleur has said she has aspirations to compete in UCI Elite Women’s races, and this season proves she has what it takes.

Chris Alger’s (Cape Cod Racing/C4) lead in the Category 3 Men’s points competition appears solid after his win on both days at Downeast, but second place in the series Jacob Harris (Norm’s Ski and Bike) could challenge Alger this weekend. Meanwhile, in the 45+ Men’s field, Paul Richard (Cyclocrossworld.com) holds off Mike Rowell (NEBC p/b Cycle Loft) for series leadership; however, Rowell could take the series if Downeast is any indication of his late-season form. Al Blanchard (Blue Ribbon Restaurants/Translations.com), on the other hand, has established a tremendous points gap on his competition in the 55+ Men’s field after winning every series race so far – and so has Turner Ramsay (Killington Mountain School), leader in the Junior Girls 10-14 category, and Kevin Goguen (CF Racing p/b Trek Portsmouth), leader in the Junior Boys 10-14 category and member of the Goguen dynasty, a family full of talented cyclists.

Follow all the race day action as the Elite races are live-tweeted from @VergeNECXS. The hashtag for the weekend will be #BaystateCX.

Verge Series PR Coordinator: Cindy Brennan