The final weekend of the Verge New England Championship Cyclo-Cross Series is upon us and once again, the champions will be crowned at Goddard Park in Warwick, Rhode Island. This year’s NBX GP of Cross will showcase some of the region’s best talent in the peak of their form leading up to Nationals. This weekend’s racing is a make or break for many in contention for a series championship.
Richard Sachs/RGM/Radix racer Dan Timmerman has wrapped up the top end of the UCI Elite men. Knowing that with two solid performances in Sterling last weekend, he could eliminate his competition, Timmerman racked up two more podiums and clinched the series title. Behind Timmerman, though, is a whole different story. In what is sure to be a dogfight, Josh Dillon (Richard Sachs/RGM/Radix), Jerome Townsend (bikereg.com/Joe’s Garage/IF), Luke Keough (Champion Systems) and Justin Lindine (bikereg.com/Joe’s Garage/IF) are all within 47 points, accounting for second through fifth places.
The U-23 men has two repeat faces in Keough and Townsend, the two are locked in a tight battle with only ten points the difference. Behind them is bikereg.com/Joe’s Garage/IF racer Manny Goguen, who has his third overall clinched.
The UCI Elite women have a number of interesting scenarios with the coming absence of MM Racing’s Maureen Bruno Roy who will be in Portland this weekend, sizing up her competition for Nationals by racing the USGP finals. Behind Bruno Roy sits Mary McConneloug of Kenda/Seven/NoTubes who is no stranger to winning this series, having done it in 2002, 2003 and 2004. With two solid rides, she could bridge the gap to Bruno Roy and take the overall once again. Natasha Elliott (Garneau/Club Chassures/Ogilvy), currently third, is not expected in Warwick which opens the door for Andrea Smith (Minuteman Road Club) to vault herself onto the series podium.
The U-19 Juniors will be a streetfight between EMD Serono/Specialized’s Evan McNeely and CL Noonan/KAM/Coast to Coast’s Jesse Keough. Both racers have had fantastic series’ with Keough holding a 61-point lead McNeely, proving that the series awards consistency over victories. Behind McNeely are Joshua Lehmann (Sunapee/S&W/Continental Paving) and Nate Morse (Clif Bar Development Cyclocross Team), both of whom will be aiming for the third step on the overall podium.
In the U-15 Cub Juniors, the end of the series should be as exciting as all the races leading up to it. Austin Vincent (CL Noonan/KAM/Coast to Coast) retains a slim 20-point lead over Peter Goguen (Minuteman Road Club). Neither of these kids has finished below second in the series with Vincent besting Goguen seven victories to five. In third place will be Cooper Willsey (White’s Bikes/GMBC/Catamount) whose stellar season has been constantly overshadowed by the duel at the front.
The Masters 35+ will be a repeat of the performances we’ve seen all season long. National Champ Roger Aspholm (Westwood Velo) holds tenuous lead over Johnny Bold and Kevin Hines, both of Corner Cycle. Bold’s second place is only ten points behind Aspholm with Hines only 35 points off Bold’s pace. There is no doubt that this race will be an education in tactics for all who watch.
45+ series finale will be as exciting to watch as the 35+, with three racers all within a scant 50 points. Mark Gunsalus (Team Fuji/Clif Bar) is at the front of the race with Sam Morse (Corner Cycle) behind him and John Mosher in third (Team Wheelworks).
William Sawyer (Gearworks/Spinarts) and Northampton Cycling Club’s David Goodwin have first and second locked up in the 55+ series, respectively. Behind them, though, there are four racers with a shot at the third step of the podium. Barry Doubleday of Mass Bay Road Club, Richard Sachs of Richard Sachs/RGM/Radix, David Rath (Corner Cycle) and Dave Beals (nycross.com/VO Max/CBRC) all have a fighting chance for third place.
In the competition for the best of the rest, the Cat 3 men, Colin Huston (CL Noonan/KAM/Coast to Coast) has a comfortable lead at the top with Embrocation Cycling Journal’s Cary Fridrich in second. Behind them are Chris Laflamme (Embrocation Cycling Journal) and Evan Huff (Cycle Smart/NCC), both of whom have a legitimate shot at third place
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 straight 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.