Sunday’s fourth round of the Verge New England Championship Cyclo-Cross Series saw the best competition of this year’s series to date. The podiums of three of the marquee races came down to bunch sprints, much to the delight of an enthusiastic crowd. For a second day, New Gloucester, Maine’s Pineland Farms’ scenic landscape played host to top-notch regional racing. John Grenier of the race’s presenting sponsor, Rainbow Bikes was able to take full advantage of the terrain and created a course described by many not as technical, but as tricky, forcing racers to be fully concentrated through long sweeping corners and tight off-camber sections. The combination of power and precision gave advantage to racers who are accustomed to driving their bikes, rather than simply riding them.
The Elite Women had a back and forth three-way battle between teammates Sally Annis and Sara Bresnick-Zocchi (crossresults.com p/b JRA Cycles) and series leader Andrea Smith (Ladies First Racing). Each woman made attempts to break free from the group as they wound through the pastures of Pineland Farms but no moves stuck. It was not until the last half lap that Annis and Smith took advantage of a bobble by Bresnick-Zocchi that the duel between the two women began in earnest. Annis, whose cycling success prior to this year was on the road, was able to ride conservatively as she led Smith through the final grass turns and once the two were on the pavement, the race was decided.
Annis’s victory was her fourth UCI victory of the season and of her career. Smith, with her second on the day, managed to keep a slim lead in the series competition. While the three women were together off the front for almost the whole race Linnea Koons (Embrocation Cycling Journal) chased alone, never able to close the gap to the podium, notching a career-best fourth in a UCI race.
The Elite Men treated an enthusiastic crowd to one of the most exciting races we’ve seen in recent memory. From the gun, Adam Myerson (Cycle-Smart), Dylan McNicholas (Pedro’s) and Justin Lindine (bikereg.com/Joe’s Garage/Scott) were able to group together and leave the rest of the field behind. The three racers traded barbs for the entire race, with McNicholas and Lindine both taking long pulls on the front in hopes of dropping someone off the back. Myerson, knowing that his best chance for victory would be to follow early moves rather than initiate seemed content to sit in and take advantage of mistakes by his competitors. While the laps ticked down and each attack was countered, it began to look as though it would come down to a sprint finish, giving Myerson a clear advantage. As the group of three came onto the pavement, Myerson took the sprint from the front with McNicholas third and Lindine third.
For Myerson, this was his first UCI victory in over twenty years as a senior racer and what may be his last as an elite. Lindine maintained his control over the series leadership with his third place. Behind the group of three, U-23 series leader Nick Keough (Champion System p/b Keough Cyclocross) stretched his lead with a U-23 victory and fourth overall ahead of Richard Sachs/RGM/Radix racer Josh Dillon.
The Masters 35+ race once again showcased a dominant performance by Roger Aspholm (Westwood Velo) who was able to ride away from a chase group including Kevin Hines and Jonny Bold from Corner Cycle and Matt Kraus (Richard Sachs/RGM Watches/Radix). While Aspholm’s big early lead allowed him to race conservatively, the chase behind him was a
flurry of attacks by Kraus, knowing that the worst place for him to be in the last two hundred meters would be with the Corner Cycle duo. Despite forcing Bold and Hines into difficulty, Kraus was not able to shake them and the three would sprint for the balance of the podium. On the pavement first, Kraus was able to hold off a charging Hines as Bold came across fourth. Aspholm’s victory kept him in the Verge leader’s jersey for another weekend and put him into a very good
position going into Northampton in two weeks.
With another weekend in the books, the Verge New England Championship Cyclo-Cross Series prepares for its home stretch with the 20th edition of the Cycle Smart International on the 6th and 7th of November, Bay State Cyclocross on the 28th and 29th of November and the NBX GP of Cross on December 4th and 5th.
Photo Gallery of Verge NECCS Round 4 Women . Click for larger images or View [autoviewer id="73" width="1000" height="540" link="slideshow"]