NORTHAMPTON, Mass.—The 2018 Vittoria Northeast Cyclocross Series presented by Clif Bar and Cycle-Smart continued with race number four on Sunday with the Verge Northampton International Cyclocross p/Cycle-Smart (NohoCX).
Now in its 28th year, NohoCX is the oldest cyclocross race in North America sanctioned by the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI). Elite racers also competed for UCI Class 2 points in USA Cycling’s Pro Cyclocross Calendar (ProCX). The second day of racing at Look Park would once again challenge the racers with windy and cool conditions on the 2.1-mile fast and flowing course.
Courtenay McFadden (Bellingham, Wash./Pivot-Maxxis p/b Stans-DNA Cycling) rode solo to victory in the Elite Women’s field, claiming her first UCI and ProCX victory this season. Curtis White (Delanson, N.Y./Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld) dominated the Elite Men’s field for the second day in a row and led a podium sweep for his team.
McFadden Grabs First UCI Win of Season
In the Elite Women’s race, a group of four separated themselves early from the 42-racer field. Joining McFadden in the lead group were Rebecca Fahringer (Concord, N.H./Kona Maxxis Shimano), Caroline Nolan (Chico, Calif./Voler / Easton / HRS / Rock Lobster), and Crystal Anthony (Newbury Park, Calif./Liv Cycling) who took the holeshot.
McFadden escaped the group after a crash behind her in the woods on the upper deck of the course in the second lap. Though she had not planned to attack so early in the race, McFadden took full advantage of the bobble.
“It was kind of unintentional, I wanted to sit in a little bit more today so I was trying to do that for the first couple of laps. I think it was myself, Caroline [Nolan] and maybe Becca [Rebecca Fahringer] and that we’re kind of yo-yoing back and forth but I realized I was a little bit quicker through the woods,” McFadden explained.
“I went around Caroline after that first section, before the first downhill, and she ended up sliding out on some gravel and so I just pinned it from there. I was like ‘Well I got to go because that’s the opportunity to hit it’ and so I did.”
Behind McFadden, Fahringer and Nolan had to spend a few seconds to regroup following the mistake. The pair worked together in the chase group for the next two laps.
“I mini-attacked on Caroline but she was working hard to stick with me. At some point, I said we’re not going to close it on Courtenay, it’s just too fast of a course so I started going hard when I could, and try to play it conservative where I might lose it,” Fahringer said. “I even ran a section that I had been riding because I was like ‘this is where I’ll slide out, lose second, I’m not going to get first.’ It was a game of play it smooth after that.”
McFadden continued to ride strong at the front, using the wind when she could.
“I tried to play the wind,” said McFadden. “I would, on the tailwind, try to catch my breath and then hammer through the headwind. I knew that I was pretty proficient in the woods so I tried to stay smooth through there and put all the energy down here [lower section] and catch my breath a little bit more through the woods.”
McFadden finished with a 29-second lead after riding much of the race alone. She finished the five-lap event in 44 minutes, 55 seconds.
Northampton is McFadden’s fifth UCI event of the season and her first UCI win following two hip surgeries. “It feels good to be racing, strong, definitely a lot better than pre-surgery, still some post-op pain but you don’t notice them when you’re racing.”
Fahringer accelerated away from Nolan by the bell lap to finish in second place, for her second podium of the weekend. Nolan crossed the line 16 seconds later for third place.
“I gave it everything I could to stay with Becca, so I’m happy to stay on the podium,” said Nolan who was emotional after the race.
She dedicated her ride to her hometown of Chico, Calif. which currently is dealing with large wildfires. “I have big fires going on back in my hometown, so in this race I wanted to do as best I can since I’m not home to volunteer, to raise money and awareness for the wildfires back in California so I did that. I’m happy with it.”
White Wins Again at Noho
In the Elite Men’s race, White ran away with the race for the second day in a row for his fourth ProCX victory. White, the newly crowned Pan-American Champion, quickly separated himself from the front group to ride solo at the front.
Behind him, Spencer Petrov (Mason, Ohio/Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld), Sam Noel (Shelburne, Vt./Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld Devo Team) and Max Judelson (Berkeley, Calif./Voler/Clif/HRS/Rock Lobster) lined up behind Jack Kisseberth (Westhampton, Mass./Garneau Easton p/b Transitions) in the chase group.
“Early on, Spencer Petrov, Sam Noel and I were racing as a team it felt like, we made the front selection again, trying to close up the front. I got a gap on the steep ride up and slowly was growing that throughout the rest of the race,” said White.
“Sam [Noel] is doing amazing right now,” said Petrov. “He’s having such great rides. And Jack, you know, it’s three on one in that situation. The first few laps, it was cat and mouse, it was a hard race yesterday so no one really wanted to play all their cards early in the day, so it was a little bit of playing around, and a few new people were there.”
One lap later, the chase group was down to three riders after Judelson fell off the pace. Playing the team card, Noel and Petrov worked together to drop Kisseberth, who finished third on Saturday.
“After that Curtis got away. I can’t and I don’t have to do anything when he’s out front. So there were a few laps of just playing with Jack, Sam gave it some good gas and then I gave it some good gas and that’s how we dropped Jack. From three and a half, three to go, it was me and Sam out there,” added Petrov.
Going into the finale, it came down to a sprint between the two Cannondale riders to work out the podium positions. “Whoever led into that final corner was going to take it,” said Noel, “So it was just a full-on sprint to there. We ended up colliding but luckily it wasn’t too serious.”
Saturday’s runner-up Petrov bested Noel to take second place. The pair crossed the finish line, one minute and nine seconds behind White.
“I’m still finding my form with the concussion I had earlier in the year. I did a big week of training, I felt alright and I knew with a sprint, I like my sprint against most people out here, well not Curtis. It was so much fun riding with Sam, Sam is just flying, he was putting the hurt on me, it was a good day. Really nice to be close to home,” Petrov concluded.
White finished the eight-lap event in one hour, three minutes, 38 seconds. “I could see behind that my two teammates were racing together and trying to lock up the podium for a Cannondale sweep, so happy with that, “ said White who extended his lead in the Vittoria Series.
While today’s race looked routine, White remains focused on upcoming goals and races. “Similar performance [to Saturday’s race] but today I was pretty motivated with Nationals in mind, time is closing in so making every effort count.”
Noel, in his first year as an Elite rider, took his second UCI podium of the season. “After yesterday, Spencer and I wanted to go one-two-three,” he said, “It was super-sweet how it worked out today. Jack is super strong but we were able to shake him and Spencer and I were taking turns pulling and had some good teamwork going.”
Full results for both races are below.
Elite Women's Results: 2018 Northampton International
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Elite Men's Results: 2018 Northampton International
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