Crystal Anthony (Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies) and Curtis White (Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com) prevailed in a rainy opener to the NBX Gran Prix weekend on Saturday.
The race, round seven of the Verge New England Cyclocross Series, was held in Goddard Park in Warwick, Rhode Island. The circuit served up challenging, root-laced trails, long beach runs and fast, sandy turns.
Ellen Noble (JAM Fund-NCC), who is leading both the elite and under-23 women’s series, took an early lead with Mo Bruno Roy (Bob’s Red Mill-Seven Cycles) on her wheel.
Anthony and Libby White (UVM Cycling) fought their way up to the two leaders, and once the quartet was away, a serious chase never quite got organized, and the lead group began to play cat-and-mouse in the final laps.
Noble was first to try to open a gap. As the group caught her and reorganized, Anthony attacked through a tricky section of wet, slick roots.
Noble and White chased as the rain came steadily down, making the challenging course even slicker. Anthony’s lead was a narrow one, but she held it to the line, with Noble taking second and White third.
In the men’s race, a lead group formed containing series leader Dan Timmerman (House Industries-SimpleHuman); White; Kerry Werner (Optum); and Anthony Clark (JAM Fund-NCC).
Justin Lindine (Redline Factory-NBX) and Christian Favata (TRT Bicycles) chased, but only Lindine made it up to the leaders. Werner and Timmerman attacked the group, gaining a few seconds’ gap, but the five were all together with one lap to go.
A driving rain fell as the racers headed into their final lap. Clark fell a few seconds behind the group, leaving four men standing. White attacked, taking a few bike lengths as Timmerman and Werner chased hard.
Going into the final turns White had the lead and kept it to the line. Timmerman hung on for second with Werner third.
White’s win moved him into the under-23 series lead, while Timmerman’s second place was enough to hang on to the elite men’s lead.
The NBX Gran Prix of Cyclocross continues Sunday and will crown the winners of the 2014 Verge New England Cyclocross Series.