With only the Whitmore’s Landscaping Super Cross Cup remaining, the battles for the inaugural North American Cyclocross Trophies, and the money that goes with them, are pitched. With two races in the Hamptons this weekend, we look at the favorites to take the titles in the most geographically extensive cyclocross series in the world (covering an area more than twice as wide as the World Cup).
With a maximum possible score of 120 points available for winning both races on Long Island, eight riders (Dombroski, Gould, Kerlin, Simms, Butler, Sherwin, Lloyd and Jacques-Maynes) are in mathematical contention for the title. But such is the state of parity in women’s racing at the moment that virtually every UCI licensed woman in the world is in contention for money-paying spots on the final NACT leaderboard. Two such riders are Dee Dee Winfield and Laura Van Gilder, who are locked in a tight battle for the MAC powered by SRAM championship points that are also up for grabs this weekend. Neither rider has NACT points going into the weekend, but both could figure into the final tally, not only by scoring points for themselves, but in the spoiler role for riders contesting the entire series.
Amy Dombroski has parlayed consistent finishes and two wins at the Erdinger Gran Prix of Gloucester into a 62 point lead over Georgia Gould, who should be starting to run out of steam following a long build-up to the Olympics prior to her cyclocross campaign, but instead swept last weekend’s USGP in New Jersey. Sarah Kerlin has a second place finish at Gloucester, but has mainly built her points total on the foundation of top ten finishes at every race. Tied for fourth spot are two championship-winning racers who split wins at the NACT’s opening weekend in Seattle. Wendy Simms will be wearing the Maple Leaf Jersey as the Canadian National Champion until next season, while Sue Butler will be wearing the tattoo as the only somewhat less noteworthy winner of the 2008 SSCXWC Single Speed Champion for the rest of her life. With nearly $7,000 in cash on tap for the women’s races at Whitmore’s, not counting the NACT bonuses, it will be surprising if any of the top riders miss the event, so it should be two days of flat-out racing as every position lost could cost a rider the season title.
On the Men’s side, things are a little more straightforward. Ryan Trebon leads Tim Johnson by a scant 10 points, equivalent to the difference between second and third place in one race. And, even though he sits in third place and has been mathematically eliminated from contention for the championship, Jeremy Powers still figures to play a key role in the outcome of the title chase as he works for teammate Johnson. Complicating matters, though, is that Powers can’t focus entirely on his domestique role, however, as Todd Wells sits just 26 points behind him for the final paying spot in the season standings.
The big question in the men’s championship may be “who’s ready to race?” Trebon has been hampered by illness recently, while Johnson injured his knee in New Jersey on Saturday and was unable to race on Sunday. Mostly likely, neither rider will fully know the condition of his body until the first hard racing effort in Long Island on Saturday afternoon.
With a very tight points spread in both the men’s and women’s events increasing the possibility of tie scores, NACT organizers have reiterated that all ties will be broken according to cycling tradition by rider’s finish position in the final race on Sunday.