Two cyclo-cross weekends on the different coasts of the country are taking place this weekend in the United States; with the CXLA Weekend in Los Angeles, California and the NBX Gran Prix of Cross in Warwick, Rhode Island. Cold and wet weather could come into play on both coasts to make the racing even more challenging.
NBX GP of Cross. The classic course of the NBX Gran Prix of Cyclocross, with its long bayside beach runs and tough trails, provides a stunning setting for the exciting finale of the 2012 Shimano New England Professional Cyclocross Series Presented by Verge.
Drawing some of the top racers from around the country and from the international stage, the Shimano NEPCX p/b Verge featured a total of two UCI Category 1 races, one at the gorgeous seaside Gran Prix of Gloucester at historic Stage Fort Park, and the other at Roger Williams Park, the site of the 2005 and 2006 national championships, for the Providence Cyclocross Festival. The series also visited the oldest UCI cyclocross race in the US, Cycle-Smart International in Northampton, Massachusetts. This weekend's finale offers up equal prize money for the Elite Men and Elite Women. Throughout it all, he series has proven its commitment to growing the sport on the hallowed ground of New England's best courses.
Former Olympian Mary McConneloug (Team Kenda-Seven-NoTubes) is locked in tight competition for Elite Women's series lead with rising star and hopeful for the US World Championships team Crystal Anthony (Cyclocrossworld.com). The courses both days feature twisting, rooty trails showcasing McConneloug's technical skills, while long power sections and tough beach runs will favor Anthony's incredible power. Both have their sights set squarely on the series win, setting the stage for an explosive showdown this weekend.
National Cyclocross Champion Jeremy Powers (Rapha-Focus) earned the points to add the prestigious series win to his resume, with wins at Gloucester, Providence, and both days of Northampton giving him a huge lead in series points. Though Powers will be lining up in Europe this weekend, racing at the Roubaix World Cup, the racing should still be heated as the remaining spots on the series podium are up for grabs. Following his first UCI win at Baystate in Sterling last weekend, Jeremy Durrin (JAM Fund/NCC/Vittoria) will be a strong contender; however, in order to earn the points for second place overall, he must defeat Dylan McNicholas (Cyclocrossworld.com) and Justin Lindine (Redline) – no small task for the young and talented racer.
CXLA Weekend. The nationwide Cross After Dark cyclocross series winds up in downtown Los Angeles Saturday after a season long battle between the top racers in the U.S. Racers will be competing under the lights at CXLA held at Los Angeles State Historic Park just north of downtown. In a surprising twist for the area, rain could come into play to make the racing even more challenging.
Like last season, the men's overall title will do down to the final race with a repeat battle between series leader Ben Berden (Raleigh-Clement) and Ryan Trebon (Cannondale/Cyclocrossworld.com) with a slim 12 points separating the two. Last year Trebon took the title with his final sprint-finish win over Berden. Other riders to watch include Trebon's teammate Jamey Driscoll, Adam Craig (Rabobank Giant) and the always dangerous Todd Wells (Specialized).
Reigning US champion Katie Compton (Trek Cyclocross Collective) is assured of the overall series' win after dominating the races in St. Louis and Cincinnati. Though not present, the other podium spots are up for grabs. The weekend also brings the return to UCI racing for Meredith Miller (California Giant Berry Farms/Specialized) who went under the knife six weeks ago. Miller, who swept the weekend's races last year, will be battling against a strong field which includes Katerina Nash (Luna) and Julie Krasniak (Rapha-Focus).
Cross After Dark kicked off at CrossVegas in Las Vegas with victories by Powers and Sanne Van Paassen (Rabobank-Giant). Round two was held a week later at Gateway Cross Cup in St. Louis where Berden and Compton dominated their competitors. The third stop was in Cincinnati for the Cincy3 CX Festival where Trebon and Compton captured the wins under the lights.