Following this past weekend’s terrific muddy start to the Shimano New England Professional Cyclocross Series, the Holy Week of Cyclocross continues with the Providence Cyclocross Festival October 6 & 7. The Holy Week is the biggest week of cyclocross in North America, featuring two UCI Category 1 races in very close proximity only a week apart. One such Category 1 race is the opening day of PCF, drawing world-class racers to the home of the 2005 and 2006 United States National Cyclocross Championship, Roger Williams Park in Providence, Rhode Island.
The whole weekend kicks off with the famous Builder’s Ball, taking place Friday at the gorgeous Biltmore Hotel in downtown Providence. Local bike builders show off the highlights of their craftsmanship, including Providence’s own Circle A Cycles and Boston-based Geekhouse Bikes and Firefly Bicycles.
In addition to top-tier cyclocross in the Elite fields, the weekend offers amateur and intermediate races allowing a wide range of ability levels to race on a classic and storied cyclocross course before the greats do. Enveloped by the race course, the Providence Cyclocross Festival Expo takes place just next to food trucks serving up delicious dishes, so spectators can check out their favorite cycling manufacturers and grab some lunch while still keeping tabs on the races. The future stars of cyclocross will surely emerge as youngsters take on a scaled-down cyclocross course in the kid’s race.
The forerunners of the Elite Men’s series points classification will race for the series lead this weekend. Ryan Trebon (Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld.com), winner of day 2 of the Gran Prix of Gloucester, will face a challenging opponent in United States National Cyclocross champion Jeremy Powers (Rapha-Focus), winner of day 1 of the Gran Prix of Gloucester. The two leaders are tied in overall series points, so this weekend’s races will make the frontrunner clear. Third in the overall points competition is Tim Johnson (Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld.com), who is showing excellent form and a drive to win this season. The men’s under-23 category has so far been dominated by Zach McDonald (Rapha-Focus), but Yannick Eckmann (CalGiant-Specialized) and Canadian U23 National Cyclocross champion Evan McNeely (Specialized Canada) are close within reach. This weekend could see a major shift in the U23 men’s series points competition.
The Elite Women’s field will be graced by Lea Davidson (Specialized), 5-time National Mountain Bike Champion, who could threaten British National Cyclocross Champion Helen Wyman‘s (Kona) stateside winning streak, which includes solid wins both days of the Gran Prix of Gloucester. Second behind Wyman in overall series points is British cyclocrosser Gabby Day (Rapha-Focus), whose skills and strength got her second-place podium spots on both days of the Gran Prix of Gloucester. Talented Kaitie Antonneau (Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld.com) leads the women’s U23 competition, followed by the young New England racer in her first year of elite racing, Ellen Noble (Trek Cyclocross Collective), and Emily Flynn (Tommy & Lefebvre Cycling) in third spot.