It’s that time of year again! The Great Brewers Gran Prix of Gloucester is coming up this weekend and it will be one of the season’s biggest highlights. Not only is Gloucester a legend in its own right, but also this year marks the beginning of the Shimano New England Professional Cyclocross Series presented by Verge. The Shimano Series is a celebration of New England’s racing heritage, and there’s no better place to commemorate this new chapter in New England racing than at Gloucester. Located in the beautiful Stage Fort Park right on the Atlantic Ocean, Gloucester easily has one of the best venues in cyclocross, whether in the US or the world. The course will feature everything racers will remember from past years – well-designed fast corners, the barriers by the beer garden plus some special features that are new for this year that will step Gloucester up to an even higher profile.
As usual, Gloucester will be hosting one of the biggest and strongest fields in the country. The growing stature of cyclocross racing in the United States has continued to draw racers over form Europe and this weekend’s racing in Gloucester will see the convergence of some of the biggest names. The Euopean contingent in Gloucester includes the British and French National Champions – Helen Wyman (Kona/FSA Factory Team) and Caroline Mani (BH – SuntourVienne Futuroscope), as well as a laundry list of top-tier racers including Belgians Tim Van Nuffle and Ben Berden. Cannondale prepped by cyclocrossworld.com’s new addition of Christian Heule will be out along with his countryman, U-23 Lukas Muller. Many-times Danish National Champion Joachim Parbo (Challenge Tires) will be making his return to Gloucester in his long American campaign. The UK’s Ian Field (Hargroves Cycles) will try to add another win to his already successful US trip while his countrywoman Gabby Day (Renner Custom Cyclocross) tries to get back on the top of the podium.
Of course, we will also be hosting a who’s who of American and Canadian racers including Mike Garrigan (Lapierre Canada), Ted King (Liquigas-Cannondale), Adam Myerson (SmartStop/MOB p/b Ridley) and Justin Lindine (bikereg.com/Joe’s Garage) for the men. The women will feature the likes of Maureen Bruno-Roy (Bob’s Red Mill p/b Seven Cycles), Andrea Smith (LadiesFirst Racing), Rebecca Wellons (Quad Cycles) and Laura Van Gilder (C3 p/b Mellow Mushroom).
In something eerily similar to West Side Story, the Tim Johnson (Cannondale p/b cyclocrossworld.com) and Jeremy Powers (Rapha/Focus) cross clash will continue in Gloucester. This time, though, they’ve both brought reinforcements. With Johnson are Heule, Jamey Driscoll, Kaitlin Antonnneau and Nicole Duke. Powers comes with U-23 National runner-up Zach McDonald and Chris Jones. The battle is on.
Of course, Gloucester is about a lot more than just the Elites. While they put on a great show, all the races on both days feature full fields – nearly 2000 will be racing at Gloucester between the two days – aiming for the Verge New England Cyclo-Cross Series leader’s jersey. Gloucester hosts the fourth and fifth rounds of New England’s Amateur series. Up for grabs are three Masters Men’s jerseys and one Masters Women’s, two Junior Men’s jerseys and an Amateur Men and Women’s jersey. These races may not be the headline events of the day, but they are always competitive and feature the future of the front of the Elite races. Leadership in the Verge Series is one of the most coveted among amateur racers in the country.