Cincinnati, Ohio — Niki Dallaire is on track for a second consecutive perfect season on the Zipp OVCX Cyclocross Tour presented by Papa John’s. With the Tour taking its first rest weekend since the season-opening race in mid-September, Dallaire’s quest for perfection is the highlight of several unfolding storylines.
Recently profiled in the pages of the current issue of Cyclocross Magazine, Anna Jean “Niki” Dallaire (Racing for Riley presented by Alderfer Bergen) scored her fifth Zipp OVCX Tour win of the season at Sunday’s Boomingcross in Bloomington, Indiana. Even though Dallaire is still trailing in the point standings as the result of missing two races while attending UCI events, the Zipp OVCX championship is awarded based on a rider’s best seven scores. With five wins already this year, Dallaire needs “only” two wins in the remaining three point races to achieve her second consecutive perfect score and Zipp OVCX presented by Papa John’s Elite Women’s season championship.
The other big story developing in the Zipp OVCX Tour is the continuing growth of the series. Already boasting the largest average entry numbers of any cycling discipline in the large three-state Ohio River Valley region, the Zipp OVCX has seen a huge influx of new riders and the junior program continues to be one of the most successful in the nation. On average, nearly 120 Cat. 4 men and women have been competing at each race on the Zipp OVCX Tour this year. Also impressive is the Tour’s continuing tradition of large Junior fields, thanks largely to the efforts of the Red Zone and QCW Lionhearts Junior Development Teams in Louisville and Cincinnati, respectively. These teams are instrumental in weekly Junior development programs that extend far beyond the calendar limits of the typical cyclocross season. So far this year, an average of over forty riders have entered the Junior classes at each of this season’s races. As impressive as that number is, it does not even include the sizeable number of junior-age riders competing in the adult classes. And, in several cases, those junior riders are more than competitive with their older rivals. After seven races, Luke Haley of Louisville’s Red Zone Junior Cycling team currently sits in third place of the overall standings in the highly competitive Elite Men’s behind Rob Kendall. Drew Dillman, another young teenage, has two Elite Men’s victories and a second place in his first three Tour appearances in 2011. John Francisco, another member of the Red Zone Junior team, also has a top-three podium appearance in the Elite Men’s category this year. And KK Santos not only leads the U19 Elite Women’s standings, but has been battling for podium appearances in overall Elite Women’s races throughout the season.
With only a racer’s best seven results counting the season titles, and seven races now in the books, the rest of the Zipp OVCX season could see large shake-ups in the points standings as riders with fewer than seven appearances so far this season now have the opportunity to rocket up the standings starting at the Louisville’s iconic “Storm the Greens” race at the World Championship venue at Eva Bandman Park on October 30. Following Storm the Greens, the Zipp OVCX Tour takes it’s “All-Star Break” as stars from all over the world converge on the region for no fewer than five UCI races over the course of two weekends in November. Following the break for the UCI races, attention will once again refocus on the season points battles at the Tour’s final two 2011 races: “Promotion Cross & Kentucky State Championships” in Lexington, Kentucky on November 20 and the season-ending “Kings CX” near Cincinnati, Ohio on December 4. All races on the Zipp OVCX Tour can be entered directly through BikeReg.com. For more information on the Zipp OVCX Tour presented by Papa Johns, see the series website at www.OVCX.com.