Powers and Van Gilder Take Bay State

November 27, 2010
Jeff Bramhall
Media Coordinator, Verge New England Championship Cyclo-Cross Series
(617) 669-5056

For the first time this season, cold and wind greeted racers in Sterling, Massachusetts for the seventh round of the Verge New England Championship Cyclo-Cross Series. The course, which started the day frozen and muddy had mostly thawed dried out by the time the elites took to it, leaving a smooth and fast parcours. A classic cyclocross course, Tom Stevens’s design at the Chocksett Middle School was similar to past years with long off-camber sections, tricky and rutted corners and long fast stretches on pavement and cinder tracks.

As has been the case in all the Verge Series races this year, the elite women had a tight group at the front from the beginning to the end. Initially, the group was made up of eight racers, but eventually pared itself to a group of five with Laura Van Gilder (C3/Athletes Serving Athletes), Natasha Elliott (Garneau Club/Chaussure/Ogilvy), Sally Annis (crossresults.com p/b JRA Cycles), Arley Kemmerer (C3/Athletes Serving Athletes) and Maureen Bruno-Roy (Bob’s Red Mill p/b Seven Cycles). As the race wore on, Elliott constantly pushed the pace, driving the group on all the open sections of the course and was eventually able to shed Kemmerer and Bruno-Roy. Reduced to three, the women seemed content to ride tempo, holding the chase at a consistent fifteen-second gap, waiting for mistakes to be made. Van Gilder used all the experience she’s gained over 370+ race wins in her career and sat in behind the wheel of Elliott for almost the whole race. A savvy racer herself, Elliott would take full advantage of the cinder track to recover, knowing she would be able to close any attacks, should they come. The three leaders matched each other until the last half lap when Sally Annis made her move, attacking the group through the north side of the course. Van Gilder, unwilling to let the move go, immediately closed the gap, relegating Elliott to third wheel as the group hit the finish stretch. From there the win was largely academic as Van Gilder put a quick six bike lengths on her competitors to take the victory. Behind her Elliott edged Annis by barely a tire’s width in a photo finish. Twenty seconds later, Arley Kemmerer and Bruno-Roy hit the track with Kemmerer out-kicking Bruno-Roy for fourth. With her third-place, Annis regains the series leader’s jersey.

In the elite men’s race, it was almost a foregone conclusion that the race would be to see who could hold on to Jeremy Powers (Cannondale p/b cyclocrossworld.com) for the longest. Powers, racing alone in New England as teammates Tim Johnson and Jamey Driscoll were in Belgium and Iowa, respectively, came into today motivated to pick up his first ever national series win. With a finish of fourth or better, Powers would clinch the overall in the NACT series, but like any other champion, Powers came to win. From the gun, Powers was on the front of the race, quickly shedding Adam Myerson (Cycle-Smart), Justin Lindine (bikereg.com/Joe’s Garage/Scott) and Christian Favata (Favata’s Tablerock Tours and Bikes). The only person able to hold on to the Cannondale racer’s wheel was Luke Keough (Champion System p/b Keough Cyclocross). With a herculean effort, Keough was able to keep the pace for the first half of the race but with four laps to go, Powers made an effort to break free and Keough was trapped in no-man’s land. Keough slid back past Myerson and St John but managed to hold on for a very impressive fourth-place and U-23 victory. Behind Powers, Myerson and St John were punishing each other in hopes of picking up the remaining podium spots and all was going well until Myerson missed a pedal after the barriers, giving St John the small gap he needed to make a move. In the blink of an eye, St John had put ten seconds into Myerson and the two held their pace to the finish. St John was given the Devonshire Dental Most Aggressive Rider prize for his efforts. With Myerson third and Justin Lindine pulling in fifth, the distance between first and second place in the Verge NECCS has been nearly halved with only three rounds left to go.

Stay tuned for more cyclocross news from the Verge New England Cyclo-Cross Series by following the series on Twitter @VergeNECCS and also on Facebook.

The 2010 Verge New England Championship Cyclo-Cross Series will be contested over five weekends. Rounds one and two will take place in Williston, VT at the Green Mountain Cyclocross Weekend on September 18 and 19. Rounds three and four will be Downeast Cyclocross in New Gloucester, Maine on October 23 and 24. The 20th Edition of the Cycle-Smart International will be rounds five and six on November 6 and 7 in Northampton, MA. Bay State Cyclocross and the NBX GP of Cross will hold the final four rounds of the series in Sterling, MA on November 28 and 29 and in Warwick, RI on December 4 and 5, respectively. This year’s series is generously supported by Verge Sport, makers of fine cycling clothing and products since 1993; by Bob’s Red Mill, producers of whole grain foods for every meal of the day; 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 Pedal Power Photography, the official photographer of the NECCS; by crossresults.com, the internet’s premier race result and ranking resource; by Challenge, makers of professional level tubulars and open tubulars, by the Northampton Cycling Club Youth Development Program, helping to bring the champions of the future to the sport of bicycle racing. and by Ryders Eyewear, sport-specific and performance eyewear.

2010 Verge New England Championship Cyclo-Cross Schedule:

  • Green Mountain Cyclo-Cross Weekend – September 18th and 19th – Williston, Vermont
  • Downeast Cyclo-Cross – October 23rd and 24th – New Gloucester, Maine
  • The Cycle-Smart International – November 6th and 7th – Northampton, Massachusetts
  • Bay State Cyclo-Cross – November 27th and 28th – Sterling, Massachusetts
  • NBX Grand Prix – December 4th and 5th – Warwick, Rhode Island