The Cycle-Smart Northampton International got underway on a beautiful New England autumn day in Northampton, Massachusetts. This historic weekend marks the 25th edition of the race, making it the oldest and longest-running UCI cyclocross race in the Americas. Today's race set the stage for round 3 of the Verge New England Cyclo-cross Series presented by Cycle-Smart and Stan's NoTubes, the only UCI cyclocross series in the country. Not just a series for the Elites, the battles unfolded throughout the day in fifteen Verge NECXS race categories.
Emma White (Cyclocrossworld Devo Team) and newly crowned U23 Pan-American Cyclo-cross Champion Ellen Noble (JAM Fund/NCC/Vittoria) were off from the start of the Elite Women's race, with Noble's teammate Jena Greaser on their wheels. Cassandra Maximenko (Van Dessel/ISM/PowerBar/Challenge Tires) and Kate Lysakowski (Joe's Garage CX p/b BikeReg) were left to chase. As Noble and White pulled away from the chasers, the chase itself pulled apart. Greaser fell off the pace of the leaders, and Noble went on the attack. Soon Noble had a 20-second lead on White. A very motivated Lysakowski, whose team sponsor is also this weekend's Elite Women's race sponsor, chased her way up to Greaser to battle for the third podium spot. Noble motored away from the rest for a decisive win, with Emma White taking second. Behind them, third place came down to a sprint, which Lysakowski won. Greaser held fourth and Maximenko rolled in fifth.
Today's result earned Noble the overall Elite Women's Series leader's jersey, a well-deserved honor. She also retains the U23 women's lead.
Raphael Gagne (Red Truck/Garneau p/b Easton) took the hole shot in the Elite Men's race in a clear demonstration of the form that took him to claim his recent victory in the Canadian National Cyclo-cross Championships. His teammate Michael van den Ham and fellow Canadian Mark McConnell (Hot Sauce Cycling Club) stuck on his wheel, in the mix with local favorite Anthony Clark (JAM Fund/NCC/Vittoria). After a hard crash at the barriers, Clark was forced to chase back on as Cam Dodge tried to work his way up, but the teammates Gagne and van den Ham were too strong in their coordinated efforts. As Clark charged, McConnell slid back. The two locked in battle for third, as Gagne and van den Ham's efforts paid off in a win for van den Ham and a second for Gagne. Clark topped McConnell in a tight sprint for third, with Dodge claiming fifth.