The Verge New England Cyclocross Series started its 2013 season today, as racers took to the hillside course in Williston, Vermont under clearing skies. The effects of the driving rain overnight were felt on the course for the early part of the day’s races as riders faced greasy corners and deep puddles of soupy mud.
However, this course favors the powerful racer rather than the mud-lovers. Green Mountain Cyclocross Weekend’s long climbs famously serve as a test of early season fitness, and its roaringly fast downhill corners challenging racers’ mettle.
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Helen Wyman (Kona Factory Racing), former British National Cyclocross Champion, attacked off the line, dropping the entire women’s field in the wake of her authoritative racing prowess. On her heels were U23 racer and recipient of Tim Johnson’s Mud Fund Maghalie Rochette (cyclocrossworld.com), Crystal Anthony (Optum Pro Cycling p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies), Natasha Elliott (Rare Vos Racing), and Mo Bruno Roy (Bob’s Red Mill p/b Seven Cycles). By the time a full lap’s worth of racing was done, Wyman’s position in the lead was clear, and Rochette settled in to a comfortable second place spot. Meanwhile, Bruno Roy and Elliott worked together in an attempt to hunt down third wheel Anthony. Wyman took the win, Rochette clinched second. While Bruno Roy nearly managed to snatch the last podium spot from Anthony, Anthony held on for a third place finish.
The Elite women’s race at Green Mountain Cyclocross Weekend is sponsored by ENGVT, also a supporter of Jonathan Page in his successful bid for a US National Cyclocross Championship last year. ENGVT offered to even up the payout for Elite men’s and women’s fields this weekend.
“World class female athletes deserve the same payout as their male counterparts,” says Jerry Chabot of ENGVT of his decision to sponsor the Elite women’s competition. “I think the US is leading the way in women’s cross and we are seeing an influx of top women racers as a result. I would love to see the US cross circuit become the dominant circuit for Elite women.”
Commenting on the impact of ENGVT’s sponsorship on the sport, Wyman said “You in America have it dialed in – you guys are leading the way in women’s cycling. That’s why I come back every year.”
The Elite men’s race, rife with heavy hitters of cyclocross, swung into action from the whistle. An elite group formed at the head of the race, including two-time US National Cyclocross Champion Tim Johnson (Cannondale CyclocrossWorld/Pony Shop), three-time US National Cyclocross Champion Todd Wells (Specialized Racing), Swiss racer Lukas Winterberg (Mueller Landscape/Bn Bikes), Raphael Gagné (Rocky Mountain Factory), Stephen Hyde (JAM Fund/NCC/Vittoria), with Justin Lindine (Redline/NBX) at the helm. Chasing them was Anthony Clark (JAM Fund/NCC/Vittoria) and Curtis White (Cannondale p/b CyclocrossWorld.com), in his first Elite UCI race after graduating from the Juniors race. Repeated attacks from Johnson shattered the lead group, only Gagne and Winterberg could follow, with Hyde in hot pursuit. Another attack from Johnson, and his lead grew to ten seconds – the margin by which he won today’s race. Winterberg managed second, Gagne behind him for third, with Hyde besting Lindine in a sprint finish for fourth and fifth.
The Green Mountain Cyclocross Weekend is a part of the Verge New England Cyclocross Series, the premier amateur cyclocross series in the US spanning six weekends of amazing cyclocross racing at Green Mountain Cyclocross Weekend, the Great Brewers Gran Prix of Cyclocross, Providence Cyclocross Festival, Cycle-Smart International, Bay State Cyclocross, and the NBX Gran Prix of Cyclocross means the fierce competition on the race course spills over into exciting season-long rivalries.
Complete results at crossresults.com