The Shimano New England Professional Cyclocross Series will continue in Northampton, Massachusetts with the 22nd Annual Cycle-Smart International, the longest-running UCI-sanctioned cyclocross event in the United States.
The 5th and 6th rounds of the series on November 3 and 4 will see some of the nation’s greats compete for the overall lead as the race to earn 2012 series points enters its second half. Race promoters offer equal payout up to fifteen deep for Elite Men and Women, encouraging the growth of women’s cycling and equality in the sport.
“Obviously the sport is completely different today than when we started this race 22 years ago, and we’re just proud to have been on the leading edge of the professionalization of the sport in the US. The Cycle-Smart International really is the symbol and embodiment of the growth and success of the sport,” says racer, series organizer, and promoter of the CSI Adam Myerson. “It’s always been part of the mission of the race to provide prize money parity to women, and that’s a reflection of our values and the values of the Northampton community. Paying equal prize money to the women for all 15 places and not just the top 3 is a way to support that field all the way through.”
This spectator-friendly course will wind its way through Northampton’s Look Park, creating a unique and challenging course for all levels of riders, from young Cub Juniors to some of the best Elite racers in the world. Races in nine categories allow amateur and intermediate racers to compete, and participants can stay to enjoy the food trucks and fantastic spectating as the pros take on the same course. Likely to reach over 1400 racers over the two days, this is one one the biggest races in New England cyclocross, and a part of the biggest cyclocross series in the United States. With company like the Gran Prix of Gloucester, known as “the New England World Championships,” the extraordinary Providence Cyclocross Festival, and the NBX Gran Prix of Cyclocross finishing off the series in Warwick, Rhode Island, the CSI is truly a jewel in the crown of New England cyclocross.
The list of those wearing the Shimano New England Professional Cyclocross Series leaders’ jerseys at the halfway point could serve as a list of who’s who in cyclocross – not just in New England, and not just in the United States, but internationally. Elite Men’s leader Jeremy Powers (Rapha-Focus) will be arriving stateside from the Czech Republic, where his seventh-place finish in Tabor is the best result ever for an American in the Elite Men’s World Cup. Powers, the US National Cyclocross Champion, is ranked 10th worldwide in the UCI’s cyclocross rankings, and hopes to add the Shimano New England Professional Cyclocross Series win to his resume as well.
Mountain biking legend Adam Craig (Rabobank) will be one rider with panache to watch this weekend, following his recent win on day 2 of the Downeast Cyclocross Weekend despite a back-row start. Justin Lindine (Redline) and Jeremy Durrin (JAM Fund/NCC/Vittoria) both show exceptional form this season, and look like contenders for the podium.
Elite Women’s series points leader and British National Cyclocross champion Helen Wyman (Kona), having ended her stay in the United States, will not complete the rest of the series; however, during her stay stateside, racing in the Shimano NEPCX Series prepared her to take third in Tabor. Four-time USA National Mountain Bike champion and former Olympian Mary McConneloug (Team Kenda-Seven-No Tubes) showed spectators her handling skills at Providence, and could use those skills to take the series lead. Sparks will fly as star-in-the-making Crystal Anthony (Cyclocrossworld.com) also aims for the win, her extraordinary riding this season making this a victory she could claim.
Hurricane Sandy’s impact on New England makes 2012 the second year in a row in which the Northeast faced major weather in the week leading up to the CSI. However, as with the foot of snow that fell and promptly melted on Look Park in 2011, Hurricane Sandy’s effects are likely to have passed and the CSI’s usual dry, fast course is expected.
Full series standings can be found on the Shimano New England Professional Cyclocross Series website. The grand finale of the series will unfold at Goddard Park in Warwick, Rhode Island as the final points are tallied in the competition to determine the series winners at the NBX Gran Prix of Cyclocross on December 1 and 2.