Warwick, RI – The final weekend of the Verge New England Championship Cyclo-Cross Series got underway Saturday with the NBX Grand Prix of Cross. Steady rain on top of an already soft, rooty and sinuous course gave a definite advantage to riders with finesse and bike-handling ability. At the outset of the day, many of the series titles were up for grabs, and the today’s racing reflected that with great competitions from the beginning to the end with equal shares of victory and heartbreak.
Once again, Kenda/Seven/NoTubes racer Mary McConneloug dominated the UCI elite women. Her decision to stay stateside this fall and race cyclocross has paid dividends as her victory today puts her within 35 points of the absent Maureen Bruno Roy (MM Racing). McConneloug’s win today extends her streak to five, having swept the Cycle-Smart International and Bay State Cyclocross weekends. All she will need tomorrow is a fifth place to take the series title home with her. Behind McConneloug, Laura Van Gilder (C3-Athletes Serving Athletes) picked up her third silver medal of the series. Andrea Smith (Minuteman Road Club) came back from a tough day last Sunday and finished third, also moving into third in the series.
In the UCI elite men, Dan Timmerman (Richard Sachs/RGM/Radix) showed the tenacity that has helped him clinch the series title. A disastrous start with a mechanical that left him at the back of the field set up one of the most dominant performances of his season. While Timmerman was fighting his way through the pack, Adam Myerson (Cycle Smart) and Luke Keough (Champion System) were in control at the front. Once he reached the front group, Timmerman simply rode through with five to go and soloed to victory, further extending his already insurmountable series lead. Behind him, Myerson and Keough gained Justin Lindine (bikereg.com/Joe‘s Garage/IF) in the quest for the rest of the podium. The pace set by Myerson and Lindine dropped Keough and Myerson easily outsprinted Lindine for second. Keough ended up fifth overall and first U-23, assuring his U-23 series victory.
As usual, the Master’s 35+ race was a dogfight between the Corner Cycle duo of Johnny Bold and Kevin Hines and Westood Velo’s Roger Aspholm. Coming into today, Aspholm was clinging to a tenuous lead of only ten points. For the entire race, Bold, Hines and Aspholm were able to stay on terms, matching attacks and countering one-another. It was not until the last lap that Bold was able to make a move that stuck, though only a couple seconds, he was able to create a gap just large enough to assure his victory. Meanwhile, behind him, Mark McCormack (Team Fuji/Clif Bar) bridged up to Hines and Aspholm, adding a new dimension to the group. In the sprint, Hines was able to take second with Aspholm third ahead of McCormack. Bold’s victory gave him the leader’s jersey and a narrow five-point lead going into the series finale tomorrow.
The U-19 juniors once again were dominated by Evan McNeely (EMD Serono/Specialized). McNeely picked up his eighth series victory today, but still is in second place behind Jesse Keough (CL Noonan/KAM/Coast to Coast), who finished fourth. Second place went to McNeely’s teammate and countryman Karl Hoppner. Curtis White (Clif Bar Development Cyclocross Team) in third.
For the first time this season, in the U-15 race, Peter Goguen (Minuteman Road Club) and Austin Vincent (CL Noonan/KAM/Coast to Coast) did not go 1-2 in a Verge race. Vincent, who had been quite under the weather last weekend, pulled out on the second lap today. Without his main rival, Goguen went on to yet another victory and saw a 40-point lead open up between he and Vincent for the overall. It will be nearly impossible for Vincent to make up this ground on Sunday and it is a real shame because his season had been absolutely stellar until today. Thankfully, he’s got quite a future ahead of him. Behind Goguen were Nicholas Catlin (Tokeneke Road Club) and Jonathan Anderson.
The final race of the series, and what will be the decisive race in several fields, takes place Sunday. Racing begins at 8:30 with the Elite Women at 1:30 and the Elite Men at 2:30.
The Verge New England Championship Cyclo-Cross Series will be contested over 7 weekends in 2009, starting with the New England Cross-toberfest of Cycling: 3 straights weekends of UCI calendar racing to be held in Williston VT, Gloucester MA, and Providence RI. After a weekend of much needed rest, the series will continue with stops in New Gloucester ME on Oct 24, Northampton MA on Nov 7, Sterling MA on Nov 28, and the series finale in Warwick RI on Dec 5. This year series is generously supported 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 BikeReg.com, the official online registration service of the NECCS; by Paul Weiss Photo/Video, the official photographer of the NECCS, by October Handmade Bicycles, and by Ryders Eyewear. You can visit these sponsors and get more information on the series by going to the web at http://www.cycle-smart.com/neccs.