If there was ever a question, the Providence Cyclocross Festival clearly asserted itself this year as the biggest race in United States cyclocross. The festival includes three days of racing and other cycling-related activities in Providence, Rhode Island, including a newly added day of racing on Friday. This weekend closes out New England’s Holy Week of Cyclocross, a week brimming with racing action from the top cyclocross racers in the country. The Elite races in Providence are a part of the Shimano New England Professional Cyclocross Series presented by Verge, and part of USA Cycling’s season-long Pro CX Series. For the Elite racers, this race is ranked a C1, the highest UCI ranking a race can have, awarding elevated points in overall UCI standings and in the ProCX contest. Additionally, the amateur races today are a part of the prestigious and long-running Verge New England Cyclocross Series, deciding leaders in eight categories of amateur racing.
The Elite women’s contest today seemed to be a sure bet: Katie Compton (Trek Cyclocross Collective) joined us in New England this weekend. This nine-time US National Champion, hugely successful in European races, rarely losing on US soil, brought her impressive resume to the course at Roger Williams Park for the first time since US Cyclocross Nationals was held here in 2005 and 2006 – and she won both those races. The whistle blew, and a separation quickly formed, including Compton and Elle Anderson (California Giant Berry Farms/Specialized), confident from her four-win streak that included last weekend’s Gran Prix of Gloucester. With them was Katerina Nash (Luna Pro Team), who recently took a victory at Cross Vegas, and who posed a definite threat to Compton. The three extraordinary racers broke away from the rest of the field, with Meredith Miller (California Giant Berry Farms/Specialized) and Crystal Anthony (Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies) forming a chase in an attempt to bridge to the leaders. Nash launched an attack that the other two could not match. Anderson and Compton were forced to work together to control Nash’s ten-second lead. Ultimately, they were unsuccessful: Nash rolled through with a solid victory, with Anderson following in second and Compton claiming third.
The men hit the course next, with the heavy hitters forming a separation early. Up front was Ben Berden (Raleigh-Clement), Ryan Trebon (Cannondale/Cyclocrossworld.com), Tim Johnson (Cannondale/Cyclocrossworld.com), and Jeremy Powers (Rapha-Focus), joined by Raphael Gagne (Rocky Mountain Factory). Gagne’s ability to stay with these leaders, the top racers in the US Elite men’s circuit, shows just how strong the Canadian is this season. Stephen Hyde (JAM Fund/NCC), U23 National Champion Yannick Eckmann (California Giant Berry Farms/Specialized), and Lukas Winterberg (Muller Landscape/BH Bikes) created a chase, and while they never lost time to the leaders, they could never quite close down the gap. Meanwhile, the leaders traded attacks, Trebon launching, then Berden, then Johnson, and finally Powers, twice, to create a gap that would stick and shatter the organization of that leaders’ group. Powers won day one in Providence today, Berden second, and Johnson third. Gagne claimed an amazing fourth, with Trebon just behind in fifth.
“Race organizer Richard Fries put a lot of work into this,” said Powers. “I’m happy to win so close to home!”
This places the Shimano New England Professional Cyclocross Series presented by Verge leaders’ jerseys in the hands of Jeremy Powers and Elle Anderson. In the U23 divisions, Kaitie Antonneau (Cannondale/cyclocrossworld.com) and Eckmann hold onto their leaders’ jerseys as well.
The Elite junior’s race at PCF Saturday was the first chance for juniors to earn Pro CX juniors series points. The race was also a Worlds qualifier event. Peter Goguen (Team CF) attacked to gain a substantial lead, while teammate Austin Vincent and Raphael Au Clair (Subway-Sigma/Pivot Cycles) chased. Goguen won with authority, while Vincent took second spot and Au Clair third.
In the Verge series amateur races, Sam Noel (1K To Go – Onion River Sports) and Daniel John Vaughn (Corning/No Tubes/Swan Cycles) tie in the Junior boys 10-14 division. Stephen Pierce (JAM Fund/NCC/Vittoria) remains in front for the category 3 men and his teammate Alec Donahue is crushing the 35+ Masters. Lizzy Gunsalus (Team Gunsalus) moves into the lead in the Junior girls 10-14 category. Melissa Seib (Bikeman.com) holds the Amateur women’s division, with Alissa Allegrini (Nantucket Velo) still leading the Amatuer Masters women. In Masters men’s categories, Roger Asphlom (Fincroft Cycling Team) leads the 45+ and Al Blanchard (Blue Ribbon Restaurants) the 55+.
A palpable weight could be felt on the course today, as the NECX mourns one of its own. Amy Dombroski passed away this week, leaving a family of racers behind to remember her amazing talent and warmth. Her NECX family remembered her with a lap of silence in her honor today, as riders of all levels rode together in quiet celebration of a life taken too soon. From hair ribbons to bar tape, temporary tattoos to stickers, Amy was everywhere with us at PCF.
Complete results at crossresults.com