by Marc Bertucco
After more than 10 years as a stand-alone UCI event, the Supercross Cup joins the Vittoria Northeast Cyclocross series for two days of challenging racing in a brand new venue on the campus of Rockland Community College in Suffern, N.Y. this weekend.
The country’s only UCI-sanctioned cyclocross series opened up with two races at the iconic Gran Prix of Gloucester over one month ago. Curtis White (Cannondale p/b cyclocrossworld.com) and Ellen Noble (Aspire Racing) took commanding solo wins. Rounds 3 and 4 continued last weekend at the 26th Annual Verge Northampton International Cyclocross presented by Cycle-Smart. White doubled up for wins on both days, while the Elite Women’s field saw a split, with Luna Pro Team’s Maghalie Rochette winning on Saturday and Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld.com’s Emma White crushing it on Sunday.
Rounds 5 and 6 of the Vittoria Northeast Cyclocross series heads south to the fields of the Rockland Community College Hawks. With memories of blistering final sprints burnt in the minds and legs of the protagonists from last weekend’s Northampton International and several elite racers off to Europe, lead changes should be frequent and the action will be fierce on a course with tricky off-cambers, and surprising elevation changes.
Elite racing at Supercross Cup are also part of the USA Cycling Professional Cyclocross Calendar (Pro CX), with UCI C2 events both days. The Pro CX season, which includes 42 scoring events in 16 states, is the highest level of professional cyclo-cross racing in the U.S. Additional Pro CX events this weekend will be held in California at CXLA.
The Favorites: Elite Women
Maghalie Rochette (Luna Pro Team) With just 6 races in her legs this season, the Canadian superstar is arguably the freshest of her fellow competitors. She may be the fastest too. Her 1st and 3rd finishes at Northampton, plus the absence of her primary competitors Ellen Noble and Emma White (both gearing up for European competition), makes her a favorite for daily wins at Supercross. Taking over the Vittoria series lead seems all but a certainty.
Crystal Anthony (Maxxis-Shimano Pro Cyclocross) scored 3rd and 4th at Northampton, indicating that her form is rising. Anthony is a very real candidate for the top of the Supercross podium. In addition to her current fitness and form, she has history on her side: At 2015’s Supercross, Anthony started a string of 4 straight UCI victories, giving her a potential mental edge that could find her pulling on the Verge Sport Vittoria leader’s jersey this year.
Rebecca Fahringer (Amy D Foundation) returns to racing in the Northeast after an 11th place in Zonhoven, 6th Kermiscross, and 9th at Derby City. Her heavy racing and travel schedule means the legs could be heavy and tired—or devastatingly strong.
Jena Greaser (unattached) took last weekend off in a season that by any reasonable measure has been an unqualified success. Eight UCI top-10s in 2016 alone suggest that a repeat of 2015’s elbows-out sprint for the podium with Fahringer is likely.
Arley Kemmerer (Fearless Femme Racing) has no fewer than 13 top tens, including three wins in 2016 already. Two years ago she won both days of Supercross, and coming off of rock solid 5th place finishes at Northampton against the likes of Ellen Noble and Emma White, it’s hard to imagine that she won’t be motivated to crack through for at least one more podium finish this weekend.
The Favorites: Elite Men
Curtis White (Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld.com) has 200 points and a virtually unassailable hold on the Verge Sport Vittoria Series leader’s jersey. Plus, with 15 top tens this year, including six commanding UCI wins over the likes of National Champion Jeremy Powers, Daniel Summerhill and others, right now, White is clearly the best US cross racer not named Stephen Hyde.
Kerry Werner (Kona Factory CX Team) had a quiet weekend, taking a break from the demanding Northeast UCI race schedule by skipping Northampton. Werner instead stretched his legs at the local Sly Fox race in Pennsylvania, winning by 2 minutes. Fresh legs and 3 recent UCI wins suggest that he’ll be a player for the podium.
Dan Timmerman (Stan’s NoTubes Elite CX), from upstate NY, comes into Supercross as the hometown favorite. His 6th place at the KMC C1 and two 2nd place sprint finishes to Werner at DCCX prove that he’s got the legs to take the win at Supercross.
And then there is a trio of riders who are legitimate players to spoil the above predicted podium.
Dylan McNicholas (Polertec) is coming off stellar finishes in Northampton finishing in 5th and 3rd place. Jack Kisseberth (JAM Fund/NCC) was second only to Curtis White on Day 1 of the Northampton and is in perfect position to be the next great JAM Fund graduate. Jérémy Martin (Focus CX Team Canada) has had a good November. He started it by taking the Canadian National championship race, and was in the mix last weekend at Northampton, ultimately finishing in 6th and 5th places.