BOSTON, Mass. (November 8, 2016) – The Verge Northampton International, on November 12th and 13th, will be the second weekend of the Vittoria Northeast Cyclocross Series presented by Cycle-Smart. In its 26th year, the Northampton event remains the oldest UCI race in the U.S. and a New England favorite. Always a family affair, the JAM Fund will be on hand raising money for the development of future cyclocross stars, while Verge Sport steps up to be the this year’s title sponsor.
“We’ve been working with Verge for over a decade at this point on making ‘cross better,” event director Adam Myerson said. “To have them continue to stay involved with Northampton was a natural evolution as they narrowed their marketing focus. They’ve been racing ‘cross since the beginning, so it’s the perfect match for a race with this kind of heritage.”
David Sommerville, Director of Verge America, echoed Myerson’s sentiments on their continued involvement and rich history with New England ‘cross. “Verge America is ecstatic with the renewed and continued involvement in what we consider to be the premier USA cyclocross events, the Vittoria Northeast Cyclocross Series. We have deep roots in the Northeast combined with our love of the sport evolved into expanded support to include title sponsorship of the Verge Northampton International. Our hope is that every racer achieves their goals at each event of the series and throughout the season.”
Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld.com’s Curtis White who currently leads the Series for the Elite Men looks to come in on good form on the fast course. “My family and I first came to race Northampton in 2005. We’re really excited to come back this year. Look Park has an excellent layout for a ‘cross venue, Adam (Myerson) and his crew really do a great job in utilizing every part of the park to make a challenging, fast course. Especially in recent years, the “pro only” sections have been pretty challenging, and certainly have been factors in stretching the race out.”
Having an excellent season so far, White seeks to retain the series lead at Look Park. “Personally, I’ve been on pretty good form lately. There’ve been a few races where I felt like I had the legs to get it done, but had some bad luck close to the finish. Northampton’s treated my sister and I well in the past, so we’re very much looking forward to coming back.”
Jeremy Powers (Aspire Racing) is a true hometown hero of the Northampton event. “Racing at Northampton, it’s going to be a lot of fun because I’m able to have my close friends and family come out. After the races we can come back to the house and have a early Thanksgiving dinner, because I will not be in town during the holiday as I will be racing the World Cups overseas.”
After a few difficult weeks, Powers is confident heading into this weekend. “Feeling good after a couple of hard weeks of training coming back from an injury that I sustained in September – I’m feeling confident that my fitness is back at a good level. Having not raced here in the past three years, I feel as though the course has changed quite a bit. I know Al (Donahue) and the JAM fund crew have put a lot of energy into the event, as well as Adam (Myerson) and JD (Bilodeau) and all of the volunteers. I’m looking forward to experiencing it because I know the race has changed a lot since the last time I was able to participate.”
Returning 2015 winner and 2015 Canadian National Champion Raphaël Gagné (Cannondale 360fly pb Sugoi) is looking forward to the fast, tactical course at Northampton. “I have to work very hard to perform as it doesn’t suit so much my technical strength. I’m only racing a little bit of cyclocross this fall, and I’m coming off from almost 2 months of rest after my MTB Olympic season, so I’m not coming to Northampton with a repeat win in mind, maybe a top 5, I would be pleased.”
Other rides to expect to see in the mix include WorldTour road cyclist Joe Dombroski. “I decided to do Northampton just a couple days ago, as I’m going to be hanging with friends and making a bit of a road trip out of it. Obviously now my focus is on my road racing career, but when I was younger I was all about ‘cross. I’m looking forward to jumping back into it again. CX is always such a fun, supportive scene and it’s nice to get back to my racing roots.” Additionally, French rider Antonin Marecaille (AVC Aix en Provence) will continue his U.S. program, after producing a Top 10 performance in round one of the Series and will look for another solid result.
The Elite Women’s field will be missing Helen Wyman (Kona), nine-time British National Champion and the current Vittoria Series leader. Wyman suffered a broken collarbone in the first corner of lap one of the European Championships.
This leaves the door wide open for the other half of the Aspire Racing duo, American Ellen Noble. “I’m really looking forward to racing Northampton this weekend because it’s always had a special place in my heart! It was the first cyclocross weekend I ever did, and it sparked my passion for the sport. I love the venue, and energy of the spectators, and the fact that it’s a few miles from my house makes it even better!”
Like Powers, Noble is coming into the weekend confidently. “I am feeling good heading into this weekend. I am just coming off of a great training block, and am looking forward to racing this before heading over to Europe for the next round of the world cups. I can’t wait to race one of my favorite races of the season. The course is always very challenging because it has a lot of long, power sections. However, the sections in the woods, and whatever pro-only feature the course has usually plays to my strengths!”
Coming off a podium performance at the Pan American Championship in October, Crystal Anthony (Maxxis-Shimano Pro Cyclocross) is looking forward to her return to Northampton cyclocross. “I’m really looking forward to Northampton as it’s another ‘home’ race with lots of friends and family around. I love the adventure of traveling and the friendships formed with racers from all over the world, nothing beats racing close to home. I haven’t been able to make the Noho races in a few years due to other team race conflicts, and l look forward to checking out the changes that I’ve seen posted on social media from the last few editions. I have fond memories of battles with Mary McConneloug and Laura Van Gilder in past years. Coming off a strong Pan Am race and a solid Sunday race in Louisville I’m very happy heading into this coming weekend.”
With similar history with the event to Noble, this race is special to Emma White (Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld.com) as well. “This weekend is always a special one for me because it’s one that started it all. Before I was old enough to race in the junior race, I battled it out in the kids races. It was also my first UCI race ever when I got my category 2 upgrade. A lot of important milestones at Northampton and it’s one of the few races I’ve been able to compete at every year since I started racing.”
Other racers to watch include Canadian National Champion Maghalie Rochette (Clif Pro Team), who claimed the title last weekend in Sherbrooke, Quebec. Rochette also came away with a bronze at the Pan American Championships in October.
The Vittoria Series is the only UCI series in the U.S. and attracts top racers to compete for the coveted Verge overall Series jersey. In addition to UCI Elite and U23 titles for both men and women, amateur racers are a offered a chance to compete for Series points in 10 categories. The Verge Northampton International is also a featured event on the USA Cycling Professional Cyclo-cross Calendar (Pro CX), the highest level of professional cyclo-cross racing in the U.S..
Watch the races unfold in person or by following tweets at @VittoriaSeries. For more information visit http://www.necyclocross.com.
CRAFT Sportswear Gran Prix of Gloucester
Stage Fort Park, Gloucester, MA
The Verge Northampton International
Look Park, Northampton, MA
Rockland Community College, Suffern, NY
NBX Gran Prix of ‘Cross
Goddard Memorial Park, Warwick, RI
Series Competition Categories
Elite Masters 35+ Women
Masters 45+ (Cat 3) Women
Masters 35+ (Cat 1-3) Men
Masters 45+ Men
Masters 55+ Men
Juniors 15-18 (Cat 1-3) Men
Juniors 15-18 (Cat 3) Women
Juniors 10-14 Boys
Juniors 10-14 Girls