The famously tough course, designed by Tom Stevens, featured long sections of pedaling requiring a good deal of power, along with challenging off-camber turns and punchy climbs favoring technically adept riders. The wind would also prove to be a key player in the shaping of Saturday's events, with gusts of such force that they blew over team tents and metal barricades. This wind also opened gaps between riders and presented a tiring force to ride up against, requiring racers to strategize in larger groups.
The Elite Women hit the course, and a group of ten immediately formed at the front of the race. Attacks forced the group apart, with Crystal Anthony (cyclocrossworld.com) gaining distance on the rest. Arley Kemmerer (Charm City Cycling) and Laura Van Gilder (Mellow Mushroom Racing) worked together battling the wind to try to chase Anthony down, as Evelyne Blouin (Ride with Rendall) and Natasha Elliot (The Cyclery) followed. Anthony's gap built into a clear victory, sweeping the Verge Series this year with five wins in a row.
Second and third podium spot looked like it would come down to a sprint battle, as Kemmerer and Van Gilder stuck together until nearly the end. An attack came from Van Gilder, who managed to keep Kemmerer at bay to claim second. Maghalie Rochette (Powerwatts-FT Time) motored her way through the Blouin and Elliot group, surpassing them to finish fourth.
The sun was low in the sky as the whistle blew to start the Elite Men's race. Jeremy Durrin (JAM Fund/NCC/Vittoria) and Adam Myerson (Team SmartStop/Mountain Khakis) led the pack through the first turn onto the course, leading a group of ten other riders into a break. The group eventually whittled down to Justin Lindine (Redline), Mike Garrigan (Stage-race/Blacksmith Cycle), Shawn Milne (Cyclocrossworld.com), Derrick St. John (Stevens Racing p/b The Cyclery), Dan Timmerman (Richard Sachs – RGM Watches), Christian Favata (Richard Sachs – RGM Watches), and Durrin who endured a hefty load of the headwinds as he led the group through the course.
Lindine, a contender for the win, saw his streak of difficulties and bad luck continue as his saddle became detached from his bike forcing him to pit, lose the lead group, and battle into the wind to catch on. The remaining group stayed together until Durrin attacked in the last lap as the sun was setting over Sterling. Durrin rode smoothly and efficiently into a strong victory, his first in a UCI race. Behind him the group had blown apart from the attack. Garrigan crossed the line in second and Milne third. In fourth was Timmerman, and Lindine chased back on for a respectable fifth place.
A cold wind blew through the fields of Sterling, Massachusetts for the final day of racing.
The Elite Women hit the first corner with ferocity, Kemmerer taking the hole shot with Van Gilder right behind her. By the second lap, a lead group of four formed including Kemmerer, Van Gilder, Anthony, and Elle Anderson (Ladies First Racing). Anderson launched a bold attack into the wind, building a solid gap as Anthony led the chase. Anthony seemed to take on water, falling off of Van Gilder and Kemmerer's chase group. Like yesterday's race, the two worked together in an unsuccessful attempt to bring Anderson back, battling to the line for a sprint. Kemmerer took second with a photo finish, with Van Gilder in third, not far behind the victorious Anderson.
Temperatures plummeted as the Elite Men's race began. American champion Jeremy Powers (Rapha-Focus) and Tim Johnson (Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com) lined up, taking advantage of a tough UCI race close to home. Garrigan led the charge, and a large group organized behind him to create a gap on the rest of the field. Attack after attack tried to thin the group.
Johnson and Durrin launched an attack that stuck, but Milne and Powers joined them. Johnson, determined to take the win, attacked the group, riding away into what would grow into a fifteen-second gap. With one lap to go, Johnson tragically suffered a front flat. By the time he rode it gingerly to the pit, Powers had stampeded away from the others to claim the victory. Milne managed second and Durrin took the third-place spot.
After almost sweeping the Verge Series, Crystal Anthony won the overall Elite Women's competition with a decisive margin, having won five out of six races in the series. Canada's Rochette maintained second despite having a difficult race on Sunday, and talented local racer Catherine Sterling (Bikeman.com) claimed third. Meanwhile, Lindine won the Elite Men's competition. His victory was especially sweet, as it is his first series win after losing the distinction on the last day of racing two years ago. Rising star Durrin rode into second, and Milne took third.