By Jeff Bramhall
For a second day, Mary McConneloug (Kenda/Seven/NoTubes) and Jeremy Powers (Cannondale/cyclocrossworld.com) were on top of the podiums for Verge NECCS round twelve. With perfect late-fall New England weather and an exciting new spin on a classic course, racers and spectators left Sterling today with an appreciation for the hard work and passion that goes into making an elite level event. Today’s course took riders through a never before-seen woods section and up a freshly built set of stairs; taking full advantage of the many different elevations and smooth grass across the grounds of Chocksett Middle School.
Mary McConneloug showed the elite women that she means business and has her eyes on a Verge series victory. Just as yesterday, she was able to take advantage of a fast start, create space between her and the competition and use her combination of fantastic power and finesse that have given her much success on the mountain biking World Cup circuit. Behind her, today’s more technical course suited series leader Maureen Bruno Roy better than yesterday’s windy power course and she was able to make the selection riding in second position in front of a trio of Minuteman Road Club riders in Andrea Smith, Anna Barensfeld and Ann D’Ambrusio. A rolled tubular well away from the pit followed by a second mechanical dropped Smith from contention, leaving Barensfeld and D’Ambrusio to work together and hold onto the final podium spot. On the finishing straight, though, there was no teamwork as the two sprinted for third place; Barensfeld narrowly got the best of D’Ambrusio for her first series podium.
Jeremy Powers’s victory yesterday was certainly impressive, but today his victory was nothing short of dominant. By the end of the first lap, through a combination of a strong start, deft handling and massive strength, Powers was alone on the front and there he stayed until raising his hands in victory. Behind him, once again, was series leader Dan Timmerman (Richard Sachs/RGM/Radix), seemingly ready to take another second place behind the Cannondale/cyclocrossworld.com racer. Timmerman’s hopes were dashed as Justin Lindine (bikereg.com/Joe’s Garage/IF) made a break out of his chase group, made contact with Timmerman and subsequently left him in the dust. Once again, Lindine rode his bike with absolute ferocity and with his second place, matched his previous best result in a Verge race. For his part, Timmerman held on for a comfortable third and the assurance that, as long as he shows up to NBX next weekend in Warwick, Rhode Island, he will win the series title. The U-23 victory went, to bikereg.com/Joe’s Garage/IF racer, and future attendee of Euro Cross Camp, Jerome Townsend. Second in the U-23 was series leader Luke Keough (Champion System) whose lead over Townsend has narrowed to a mere fifteen points.
The Masters 35+ field was a show of force from Johnny Bold (Corner Cycle). After losing to Westwood Velo’s Roger Aspholm in a sprint yesterday, Bold was determined to show Aspholm that he would not roll over and cede the series. Launching off of the lead group early in the race, Bold was able to maintain a gap over Aspholm and Bold’s teammate, Kevin Hines. Aspholm, unable to drag the weight of an unmotivated chaser up to Bold, resigned himself to a sprint with Hines that he took with relative ease. His hold on the jersey going into the last weekend of the series is a scant ten points.
For the fourth race in a row, Evan McNeely (EMD Serono/Specialized) showed that he is the strongest U-19 cross racer in New England, despite living in Canada. The race quickly became a race for second that Jesse Keough (CL Noonan/KAM/Coast to Coast) won, outsprinting third-place finisher Joshua Lehmann (Sunapee) and fourth place finisher Nate Morse (Clif Bar Development Cyclocross Team). Lehmann was confirmed for attendance at Euro Cross Camp this December.
The U-15 Juniors saw a resumption of the battle between Austin Vincent (CL Noonan/KAM/Coast to Coast) and Peter Goguen (Minuteman Road Club). Today, once again, Goguen took the victory with Vincent in second, nearly a minute back and still recovering from sickness. Third place went to My Way’s Nicholas Catlin. Though unable to race the U-15 Juniors, a great performance was put on by 12-year old Emma White (Capital Bicycle Racing Club) with a second place in the Cat 3/4 women’s field to go with her third from yesterday.
With the conclusion of the Bay State Cyclocross weekend, the Verge NECCS gears up for a final weekend of intense action in Warwick, Rhode Island with the NBX GP of Cross on December 5 and 6. Details can be found at http://www.bikereg.com/events/register.asp?EventID=9582.
Updated on May 6, 2013, 5:56pm