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Curtis White (Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com) and Ellen Noble (JAM Fund-NCC) took wins on a snowy, frozen course in Sterling, Massachusetts, for day one of Baystate Cyclocross Weekend, which doubled as Round 5 of the Verge New England Cyclocross Series (NECXS) presented by Stan’s NoTubes and Cycle-Smart.
Saturday’s edition of Baystate may ultimately become the stuff of legend, with some racers saying they haven’t seen similar conditions in recent years. A thick blanket of snow covered the course, making every corner tricky and every straightaway a power drain.
Conditions changed lap by lap throughout the day as ruts formed and froze, while winter sun softened the ground into mud in a few spots. Snow limited line selection, making passing riders difficult in many places.
Course designer Tom Stevens included several of his trademark off-cambers, made especially tricky by snow and ice.
Noble came into the weekend badly hoping to claim a first UCI victory after missing out on a win last weekend when she celebrated too early at the finish line. Her goal was clear from the start straight: she charged up the pavement, then continued onto the tricky course with fierce determination, leaving her competition behind almost immediately.
As Noble quickly opened a gap, Libby White (UVM Cycling) and Mo Bruno Roy (Bob’s Red Mill-Seven Cycles) chased, but could not bring her back.
Cassandra Maximenko (Rare Vos Racing-Van Dessel-PowerBar), within reach of the Verge NECX Series lead, fought for position with Kate Northcott (NESS Team New England) and Corey Coogan Cisek (The Fix Studio) behind Amanda Carey (Team Rhino Rush).
White surged with one lap to go, but couldn’t get within 10 seconds of Noble, as Bruno Roy rode smooth and strong in third spot. Noble claimed a much-deserved first UCI win, with White second, and Bruno Roy third. Carey claimed fourth, while Northcott crossed the line in fifth ahead of Maximenko. Maximenko’s finish wasn’t strong enough to claim the Series lead; however, Noble’s win means she now holds the lead in both the U23 and overall series.
“This win means even more after coming so close last week,” Noble said.”It feels amazing. I think last weekend kind of made it a little bit sweeter because it made me want it. This is something I have wanted for a really, really long time. I made a couple of mistakes on the last lap, but knew I had a big enough lead. After last weekend I sprinted to the line and then sat up.”
The elite men hit the course as the sun descended lower in the sky, icing up the corners and freezing ruts in the snow. Leading the charge was series leader Dan Timmerman (House Industries-SimpleHuman-Richard Sachs), followed by White, Jerome Townsend (Joe’s Garage CX-BikeReg.com), Christian Favata (TRT Bicycles), Justin Lindine (Redline Factory-NBX), and Kerry Werner (Optum Pro Cycling).
Groups broke apart as quickly as they formed, with the course changing lap by lap and the challenging conditions causing bobbles and crashes left and right. After Timmerman led the group for a few laps and fell back to follow a wheel, Werner and White escaped the group and forced Timmerman to chase. Werner and White bobbled up a tricky climb, and the group was together again. White attacked again, this time with Favata, permanently shattering the group. Lindine and Livermon chased with Timmerman behind them. Lindine motored up as Favata fell back, making contact within the final two laps. White’s lead grew as Lindine and Favata traded blows, while Timmerman moved into fourth with the hope of retaining his Verge Series lead.
White claimed a solid victory, while Lindine charged for second. Favata was third, and Timmerman took the fourth place finish he needed to retain his lead. JAM Fund’s Scott Smith was the next U23 to finish after White. Smith reclaims the Series leader’s jersey in the U23 category.
“I have been close a few times. This was the hardest conditions we have raced in all year. It feels fantastic,” White said. “On the last lap ice was getting inside the cleats and it was impossible to get clipped in. I was banging my cleat against my pedal. I saw they were coming up but felt I could hold them off.
“There were a lot of strong guys, including Kerry Werner and Justin Lindine. I took the hole-shot and knew it was important to be out front early, but I didn’t burn my matches. A couple guys passed me so I watched them to see what their strengths and weaknesses were, and I took advantage of it. I felt like I had an advantage on the power straights, but if I came to a technical section alone and in front I felt like I could dictate what I wanted to do.”
Elite Women Top 10
|3||Maureen||Bruno Roy||Bob’s Red Mill-Seven Cycles||0:35:40|
|4||Amanda||Carey||Team Rhino Rush||0:37:17|
|5||Kate||Northcott||NESS Team New England||0:37:36|
|6||Cassandra||Maximenko||Rare Vos Racing-Van Dessel-PowerBar||0:37:42|
|7||Corey||Coogan Cisek||The Fix Studio||0:37:43|
|8||Brittlee||Bowman||House Industries-SimpleHuman-Richard Sachs||0:38:12|
|9||Jenny||Ives||Verge Sport-Test Pilot||0:38:21|
Elite Men Top 10
|4||Dan||Timmerman||House Industries-SimpleHuman-Richard Sachs||1:01:42|
|5||Travis||Livermon||Mock Orange Pro CX||1:01:45|
|6||Jerome||Townsend||Joe’s Garage CX-BikeReg.com||1:01:46|
|8||Ben||Frederick||Hefler Performance Coaching||1:02:03|