What began as a cold and wet morning blossomed into another beautiful fall day in New England as the Cycle-Smart International came back to Look Park in Northampton, Massachusetts, for its 20th anniversary.
The fifth round of the Verge New England Championship Cyclo-Cross Series presented by Cycle-Smart gave a record crowd a course that required consistent power but also deft handling skills.
Laura Van Gilder (C3-Athletes Serving Athletes) came back to New England for the second time this season and added yet another win to her impressive résumé.
The world’s top-ranked woman started in an elite group with her teammate Arley Kemmerer, Sally Annis (crossresults.com p/b JRA Cycles) and Maureen Bruno Roy (Bob’s Red Mill p/b Seven Cycles).
As the race developed, Kemmerer began to fall off the pace, leaving Annis, Van Gilder and Bruno Roy at the front. Each took risks to create space but, as Bruno Roy said, it was a race of mistakes.
The mistake that made the difference came with two to go when Bruno Roy and Annis both bobbled the steep ride-up, giving Van Gilder the edge she needed to take her victory.
Behind, Annis had lost time to Bruno Roy and put forth a fevered chase, eventually making contact and riding away, coming across the line solo for second, leaving Bruno Roy third.
Series leader Andrea Smith (LadiesFirst Racing) came across fifth, putting Annis into the Verge NECCS leader’s jersey.
The elite men saw yet another great fight for victory, this time between Luke Keough (Champion System p/b Keough Cyclocross) and Luca Damiani (El Gato CX).
The two leaders were trading barbs for much of the race with Damiani turning himself inside out in attempt to drop the Champion System racer. With three laps to go, Damiani was able to find some space, Keough managed to bring him back and the two rode a false tempo until the final lap when once again Damiani was on the attack, trying to lock the victory in the final sets of corners, but Keough was glued to the wheel, able to taste victory.
The two hit the pavement together and Keough had the kick to pick up his first UCI victory. Damiani once again finished just a few pedal strokes from victory.
Champion Systems’ Nick Keough took third, outkicking an elite chase group including Adam Myerson (Cycle-Smart), Weston Schempf (C3/Athletes Serving Athletes), Justin Lindine (bikereg.com/Joe’s Garage/Scott) and Jerome Townsend (bikereg.com/Joe’s Garage/Scott).
With his sixth place, Lindine maintained his control on the elite series jersey while Nick Keough held onto his jersey in the U-23 series.
- 1. Luke Keough (USA), Champion System p/b Keough Cyclocross, 59:51
- 2. Luca Damiani (Ita), El Gato CX, 59:52
- 3. Nicholas Keough (USA), Champion System p/b Keough Cyclocross, 1:00:26
- 4. Adam Myerson (USA), Cycle-Smart, 1:00:27
- 5. Weston Schempf (USA), C3-Athletes Serving Athletes, 1:00:29
- 1. Laura Van Gilder (USA), C3-Athletes Serving Athletes, 41:44
- 2. Sally Annis (USA), Crossresults.com p/b JRA Cycles, 41:50
- 3. Maureen Bruno Roy (USA), Bob’s Red Mill p/b/ Seven Cycles, 41:56
- 4. Arley Kemmerer (USA), C3-Athletes Serving Athletes, 42:33
- 5. Andrea Smith (USA), LadiesFirst Racing, 42:48