BOSTON (VN) — Beginning this fall, New England will once again be an international cyclocross battleground as the region hosts the Shimano New England Professional Cyclocross Series.
The series, in its second year under Shimano’s title sponsorship, will be familiar to devotees of the Verge Series from which it emerged, with $10,000 in prize money again on offer and two UCI Category 1 events among its eight races.
As it did last year, the series covers four weekends, in Gloucester, Massachusetts; Providence, Rhode Island; Northampton, Massachusetts; and Warwick, Rhode Island.
Series organizer and race announcer Richard Fries boasts of having “the best venues, the best markets, the best courses and the biggest overall cash purse of any UCI series in North America,” according to a press release issued on Friday.
Round one, the Great Brewers Gran Prix of Gloucester, takes place September 29-30 in Stage Fort Park along Boston’s North Shore. Saturday’s kickoff is the first of the UCI Cat. 1 races, providing added incentive for the international pros in attendance.
Next up is the Providence Cyclocross Festival, set for October 6-7 in Roger Williams Park, site of the cyclocross national championships in 2005-06. The festival also serves as the final weekend of the New England Holy Week of Cyclocross. As with the Gran Prix of Gloucester, Saturday’s race is a UCI Cat. 1 event.
For round three, the series moves to Northampton, where Look Park hosts the November 3-4 Cycle-Smart International, the oldest UCI-sanctioned cyclocross event in the United States.
The finale, the NBX Gran Prix of Cyclocross December 1-2 in Warwick’s Goddard Park, will crown the series champions.
Last year, Laura Van Gilder (Mellow Mushroom) and Luke Keough (Champion System-Keough Cyclocross) came into the final weekend with sizable leads and held on for the overall titles.