The final weekend of the Verge New England Championship Cyclo-Cross Series was held in Warwick, Rhode Island with the NBX Grand Prix of Cross. Mary McConneloug (Kenda/Seven/NoTubes) and Dan Timmerman (Richard Sachs/RGM/Radix) swept the weekend to win the overall in the series.
Saturday brought a steady rain which on top of an already soft, rooty and sinuous course gave a definite advantage to riders with finesse and bike-handling ability. At the outset of the day, many of the series titles were up for grabs, and the day’s racing reflected that with great competitions from the beginning to the end including shares of victory and heartbreak.
Once again, McConneloug dominated the UCI Elite women. Her decision to stay stateside this fall and race cyclocross has paid dividends as her victory today puts her within 35 points of the absent Maureen Bruno Roy (MM Racing). McConneloug’s win today extends her streak to five, having swept the Cycle-Smart International and Bay State Cyclocross weekends. All she needed on Sunday was a fifth place to take the series title home with her. Behind McConneloug, Laura Van Gilder (C3 Athletes Serving Athletes) picked up her third silver medal of the series. Andrea Smith (Minuteman Road Club) came back from a tough day the previous Sunday and finished third, also moving into third in the series.
In the UCI Elite men, Timmerman showed the tenacity that has clinched him the series title. A disastrous start with a mechanical that left him at the back of the field set up one of the most dominant performances this rider has put out this season. While Timmerman was fighting his way through the pack, Adam Myerson (Cycle Smart) and Luke Keough (Champion System) were in control at the front. Once he reached the front group, Timmerman simply rode through with five to go and soloed to victory, further extending his already insurmountable series lead. Behind him, Myerson and Keough gained Justin Lindine (bikereg.com/Joe’s Garage/IF) in the quest for the rest of the podium. The pace set by Myerson and Lindine dropped Keough and Myerson easily outsprinted Lindine for second. Keough ended up fifth overall and first U-23. This assures his U-23 series victory.
The U-19 juniors once again were dominated by Evan McNeely (EMD Serono/Specialized). McNeely picked up his eighth series victory, but still is in second place behind Jesse Keough (CL Noonan/KAM/Coast to Coast), who finished fourth. Second place went to McNeely’s teammate and countryman Karl Hoppner. Curtis White (Clif Bar Development Cyclocross Team) finished third.
For the first time this season, in the U-15 race, Peter Goguen (Minuteman Road Club) and Austin Vincent (CL Noonan/KAM/Coast to Coast) did not go 1-2 in a Verge race. Vincent, who had been quite under the weather last weekend, pulled out on the second lap today. Without his main rival, Goguen went on to yet another victory and saw a 40-point lead open up between he and Vincent for the overall. It will be nearly impossible for Vincent to make up this ground on Sunday and it is a real shame because his season had been absolutely stellar until today. Thankfully, he’s got quite a future ahead of him. Behind Goguen were Nicholas Catlin (Tokeneke Road Club) and Jonathan Anderson.
Dry skies with bright sunshine, temperatures in the high-30s and a soft breeze in off the bay were ideal conditions for this classic season ending race on Sunday. In contrast to Saturday’s course, racers met the beach twice, once at the beginning of a run-up. Also reintroduced from last year was a section of course affectionately known as “the gut” which is a series of 180-degree turns with soft, sandy corners and plenty of roots.
The Elite women’s race broke up quickly from the gun, with a two person lead group of Smith and McConneloug. Behind them were Van Gilder, Anna Barensfeld (Minuteman Road Club) and Gesa Bruechmann (Stevens Racing). While Smith and McConneloug were matching each other move for move, Van Gilder shed Barensfeld who, in turn, shed Bruechmann. It was not until the final lap that McConneloug was able to make a decisive move on Smith, opening a gap just large enough to cruise through the finish line and relish her sixth consecutive victory.
With her victory, McConneloug took the overall series victory for the first time since 2004. Smith’s second place gave her a final series placing of third, behind the absent Bruno Roy. Also absent was Natasha Elliott (Garneau/Club Chaussure/Ogilvy) whose great early season gave her fourth overall. Fifth in the series and eleventh today was Amanda Carey (Kenda/trainwitheric.com).
The Elite men saw a flurry of power right out of the gate, once again, from Myerson. With him in the select group at the front were Timmerman, Josh Dillon (Richard Sachs/RGM/Radix) and Lindine. These four made it clear from the very beginning that the race was about them and nobody else. Each rider made attack after attack with no gain at all, never getting more than a few bike lengths apart until, as he has done all season long, Timmerman attacked out of a corner and broke it clear. Myerson attempted to make a bridge but, realizing the futility, sat back, hoping to win in the sprint for second. On the final corner before the pavement, Dillon came through on the best line, carrying the most speed and beat Myerson to the line by a bike length with Lindine in fourth.
Despite having it all wrapped up last Sunday, Timmerman’s victory today caps a dominant season where he won six races and was on the podium in three more. Dillon’s second today matches his second in the series. Lindine’s fantastic season netted him third with Keough fourth and Jerome Townsend (bikereg.com/Joe’s Garage/IF) fifth.
U-23 leader Keough finished sixth in today’s race and took the honors as the U-23 series champion. Second place went to Townsend, third to Townsend’s teammate Manny Goguen.
The U-19 Juniors race was, for the ninth time this year, utterly dominated by McNeely. Second place went to McNeely’s teammate, Hoppner with White third. Jesse Keough needed only to finish in the top ten on Sunday to bring home the U-19 Series title. He managed seventh. McNeely ended up second overall with Sunapee/S&W/Continental Paving racer Joshua Lehmann third.
Goguen took advantage of Vincent’s absence by running away with today’s U-15 race. Catlin pulled down another second place. Jonathan Anderson closed out a solid season with a third place. Goguen’s four-race win streak over the past two weekends clinched him the U-15 Series. Vincent managed to hold on to second despite a sickness that dogged him for the last two weeks of the season. Cooper Willsey (GMBC/Catamount/White’s Bikes) earned third place overall.
Complete results here
Photo Gallery – All photo c Natalia McKittrick | Pedal Power Photography | 2009 – Used with permission (Click for larger images)