November 26, 2009 (Sterling, MA) – The Verge New England Championship Cyclo-Cross Series returns to action this weekend with a true Massachusetts classic – Baystate Cyclocross. For many New England racers, this race, with its traditional post-Thanksgiving slot, marks the beginning of the end of cross season and is an event not to be missed. As usual, Baystate will boast a deep and strong field, fun and challenging courses designed by Tom Stevens and excellent facilities provided by the Chocksett Middle School. Whereas in previous years, this event had been a one-day affair on Saturday, this year, Baystate will take up the full weekend.
As the series nears its finish, this weekend looms heavily over the heads of the series leaders. For some, Baystate will be a chance to wrap up their victory while for others, Sterling will be a place to watch their leads evaporate. In his first ever Sterling appearance, Dan Timmerman (Richard Sachs/RGM/Radix) will be aiming to extend his series lead over Jamey Driscoll (Cannondale/cyclocrossworld.com) and Josh Dillon (Richard Sachs/RGM/Radix). Having taken last weekend off, Timmerman could use his fresh legs to clinch the overall victory in the series.
The U-23 men will be fully represented with the top contenders, Luke Keough (Champion Systems) and Jerome Townsend (bikereg.com/Joe’s Garage/IF). These two racers have dominated the Espoirs competition and have the top two places in their competition locked up. Despite Keough’s edge, he is not out of Townsend’s reach and will have to put out two solid races this weekend to maintain his edge.
In the Elite women, Maureen Bruno Roy (MM Racing) will be trying to take the top step on the podium for the second consecutive year in Sterling. Also slated to appear this weekend, coming off a sweep of the Cycle-Smart International is Kenda/Seven/NoTubes racer and former Olympian, Mary McConneloug. Her return to the domestic cyclocross circuit has been extremely successful, piling up three victories and seven podiums. If the cards fall right, McConneloug could once again be a contender for the overall in the series. Not to be forgotten is the breakout racer of the series, Andrea Smith (Minuteman Road Club). Currently sitting in third overall, Smith could make up some serious ground over the weekend, possibly pushing herself into contention for the title.
The Masters 35+ should be a knock-down, drag-out fight between the Corner Cycle wonder twins, Johnny Bold and Kevin Hines. Bold has had the edge, winning the race three of the last four years, only losing last year to Westwood Velo’s national champ and current series leader, Roger Aspholm. Hines has had better legs the past two weekends, though and both are within a stone’s throw of Aspholm atop the series rankings. If things were to shake up at the top of the race, smart money would be on Planet Bike’s Curtis Boivin to take a stab at the victory. Coming off a victory in Plymouth and with a week’s rest in his legs, Boivin’s consistency at the top may pay off this weekend.
In the U-19 race, it looks like EMD Serono/Specialized racer Evan McNeely has taken aim on a series victory. His trips to Verge NECCS races this year have netted him five wins and one second place so despite his absence in Providence and Maine, he is still in the thick of the competition. U-15’s Austin Vincent (CL Noonan/KAM/Coast to Coast) and Peter Goguen (Minuteman Road Club) will continue their epic battle atop their standings. Neither has finished below second in a Verge race this season with Vincent getting the edge most weekends, but Goguen remains right on his heels.
Racing begins this Saturday morning with the Cat 4/Cat 4 Masters race at 8:30. There will be day-of registration available for all fields with registration opening at 7:30 both days. For more information, addresses and directions, visit here.
The Verge New England Championship Cyclo-Cross Series will be contested over 7 weekends in 2009, starting with the New England Cross-toberfest of Cycling: 3 straight weekends of UCI calendar racing to be held in Williston VT, Gloucester MA, and Providence RI. After a weekend of much needed rest, the series will continue with stops in New Gloucester ME on Oct 24, Northampton MA on Nov 7, Sterling MA on Nov 28, and the series finale in Warwick RI on Dec 5. This year series is generously supported by Verge Sport, makers of fine cycling clothing and products since 1993; by Cycle-Smart, purveyors of personalized cycling coaching and solutions for riders across the country; by BikeReg.com, the official online registration service of the NECCS; by Paul Weiss Photo/Video, the official photographer of the NECCS, by October Handmade Bicycles, and by Ryders Eyewear. You can visit these sponsors and get more information on the series by going to the web here.