2019 Vittoria Series Category and Schedule Changes

Aside from the loss of the GP Gloucester, the addition of a mandatory UCI Junior Men’s 17-18 race to all C1 and C2 UCI races for the 2019 season globally has a ripple effect which impacts almost all of the Vittoria Series categories. One of our primary values with the Vittoria Series is category and prize parity for men and women. Currently, there is no UCI Junior Women’s 17-18 category except at the World Championships, though we will be allowed to run that in 2020. Still, we want to match the duration and prize list mandated for the junior men.

Traditionally, the 15-18-year-old Junior Men raced in a combined race with the 40+ men. It has a long and successful history in New England. However, a UCI Junior race is not permitted to be mixed with any other category, though they have allowed us to put other categories on the course at the same time.

Here are the changes you’ll see this year based on these factors:

  1. The UCI Junior Men 17-18 will get their own start, be 40 minutes long, and have an $897 prize list, per the rules.

  2. The Master/Junior men’s race will now be 40+ and 15-16, and will start 1-2 minutes behind the 17-18 race depending on the course. It will also change to 40 minutes from 45, to match the 17-18 juniors. It will be run as it was before, as one race, with one set of results submitted to USAC, and additional category results for Series points and standings.

  3. The 15-16 Junior men will now have their own series standings and jersey.

  4. The Cat. 3 Junior women will now become a Cat. 1-4, 15-18-year-old category, and be run together with the 40+/50+ Cat. 1-4 Master Women, exactly the same way the junior/master men has always been run. They will be run as one race, with one set of results submitted to USAC, and additional category results created for Series points and standings.

  5. In this case, the Junior 15-18 Women will also be racing for their own $897 prize list, to match the UCI Junior Men.

  6. The Junior 15-16 women will also now have their own Series standings and jersey.

  7. The combined Masters/Juniors women’s race will start 1-2 minutes behind the Cat. 3 women depending on the course.

  8. This time slot will now also be racing for 40 minutes, rather than 45, to match the men.

  9. The Cat. 3 men will now race for 40 minutes, to match the Cat. 3 women.

  10. The masters 50+ and 60+ men will now race for 40 minutes, to match the 40+ men.

I hope what this demonstrates is how challenging accommodating one small change in terms of recognition of the 17-18 junior men can be when we extend that change for equality and consistency. My goal and expectation for those categories that have been reduced by 5 minutes is that not much will actually change. If we aim to make sure the winner of those races is always over the 40-minute mark, we’ll see finishers in the 40-50 minute range, which was ultimately the goal of a 45-minute race to begin with. It may lead to slightly more warm-up time between races, and on-time race starts. I think we’ll see a really competitive master/junior women’s race, and more quality overall in that field, with more room for the cat. 3s to race. We now add more recognition for 15-16 junior men and women, and considerably prize money for juniors, which we know they all can use.

Ultimately, the Vittoria Series is a community we are all a part of. I see us all making some small sacrifices in order to give more priority to junior men and women, which I hope we can all feel good about. It was not easy to solve this puzzle and it’s something I’ve been dwelling on for almost a year. Thanks to everyone who made suggestions, and especially to Colin Reuter for being my sounding board as I processed it. Thanks to all of you for continuing to support the series. 2019 is my 20th year in charge. Every year it seems like we’re faced with a new challenge, and a new opportunity for growth. I hope we can thrive with these changes, and survive the loss of Dearest Gloucester.

See you all at Noho.

Adam Myerson
Vittoria Series President

Keough and Hyde Repeat Wins on Soggy Day 2 of NBX Gran Prix of Cyclocross, Fahringer and White Claim Vittoria Series Titles

The 2018 Vittoria Northeast Cyclocross Series presented by Clif Bar and Cycle-Smart concluded on Sunday at the NBX Gran Prix of Cyclocross. Known for a long beach run along Greenwich Bay and a rugged New England coastal landscape, the second and final day of racing at NBX Gran Prix of Cyclocross also featured umbrellas as part of the soggy landscape. The weekend of racing at Goddard Memorial State Park in West Warwick, R.I. wrapped up with repeat wins by Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld.com teammates, Kaitlin Keough (Colorado Springs, Colo.) and Stephen Hyde (Easthampton, Mass.).

Winners of the Vittoria Northeast Cyclocross Series presented by Clif Bar and Cycle-Smart were crowned on Sunday in the elite races. Rebecca Fahringer (Concord, N.H./Kona Maxxis Shimano) would take the Verge Sport jersey for elite women and Curtis White (Delanson, N.Y./Cannondale p/b cyclocrossworld.com) earned the jersey for elite men. The Vittoria Series is the longest standing, UCI cyclocross series in the United States.

It was the 14th year of cyclocross races in Warwick, with elite races this weekend part of the the USA Cycling Pro Cyclocross Calendar (ProCX). Saturday featured Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI)-sanctioned Category 1 (C1) races, a first for the NBX Gran Prix event.

Sunday’s C2 races took place for the Elite Women with rainy conditions. While temperatures rose throughout the 50-minute contest, from 50 degrees Fahrenheit to 55 degrees, Keough was sizzling for a second consecutive day on the course. She would take the holeshot and keep contenders at bay for all five laps.

After the second lap, Keough had gained an 11-second advantage over Ruby West (Hamilton, Ont./Specialized-Tenspeed Hero). Rebecca Fahringer (Concord, N.H./Kona Maxxis Shimano) had worked her way from fifth to third.

Despite following Keough closely in the early laps, West didn’t get off to a smooth start. “I slipped my pedal at the start, and really missed it,” said West. “So I was pretty far back, but then made my way back through the first few corners. So I was like fifth, or sixth, wheel. As soon as we made the first hard right everyone kind of panicked and Kaitie was pulling away, so I knew I had to stay with her for as long as possible today. That was the goal to just try to get some distance between everyone else.”

With one lap to go, Keough had as much as 34 seconds on West. The young Canadian never relented, and pushed through the rain and mud. Keough did not make any noticeable mistakes, and carried the lead across the line for a win, 9 seconds ahead of West.

“I think after Supercross I had a bit of PTSD from all the mud,” continued West. “I was maybe not too excited on the start line today (about more mud). Then once we got into it, I think I was riding well in the conditions. Hopefully that helps when  heading over to Europe, where it’s always like this.”

Fahringer, who crashed at the start, had to chase her way back through the field on lap one. “I tapped my brakes at the wrong time, lost my bike,” said Fahringer. “I was down on the ground, hunkered down, and yelled, ‘please, nobody hit me,’ as the field goes on either side. Luckily, nobody hit my bike. Nobody hit me. So I was up and clear, so that’s good, not quite last. Fought through the field, and honestly, was just thinking it’s going to be good to finish. Somebody said, ‘get that last podium spot.’ Somehow, I managed to stay on the podium despite a pretty big mistake at the start. I was pretty happy about that.”

With the rain accumulating throughout the day, the course continued to deteriorate as racing went on. “Nobody expected the sandy ground here to get slick, but it was,” continued Fahringer. “This slick mud like we’ve never seen it, in combination with the tough roots. Then you really had to choose your tire treads and your tire pressures to match the scenarios. Don’t flat on the roots, but have enough traction for the climbs and the slick corners. So pre-rides were important. This was an NBX like anyone has ever seen.”

Fahringer would finish 1 minute, 42 seconds down from Keough, but would retain the Vittoria Series lead on the final day of racing. “My overall season started a little bit slow, and that’s why I had to take Gloucester off,” Fahringer said. “I just needed to give my body a weekend of rest. I didn’t come in with really high fitness, so I didn’t want to race myself into a big hole. So I did take Gloucester off. My first race of the series would have been Northampton. Then Supercross and then this, NBX. Honestly, because I took Gloucester off, I wasn’t expecting to have contention for the overall. But when Ellen (Noble) took a day off from Northampton, that’s when the tide started to swing and I was able to come into the overall and clinch it in Supercross. Because she didn’t race this weekend (at NBX), it was pretty much locked down as long as I finished the races. I was really, really happy to be able to stand on that top step. It’s really great to be able to represent my sponsors across the Series, as well as individual races.”

For the elite men, a group of five would separate early including Hyde, White, Kerry Werner (Kona Maxxis Shimano), Spencer Petrov (Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld.com) and Jeremy Powers (Pactimo/Fuji/SRAM).

“Today was a much different course,” noted Hyde. “I’m really proud to see New England holding it down, reversing the courses, and making two courses day in and day out. That’s just a really big plus for us, as racers. So the course was really heavy. It was very technical, with all the roots, ups, downs. It’s a difficult course. And it’s a big mix of really flowy turns and difficult terrain. Today’s course was more driving, big slow accelerations.”

Hyde, who would finish the 7-lap race in 59 minutes, 49 seconds, remained patient in the more group racing dynamic of the day. “It was a whittled-down group. There were gaps coming off. Kerry would leave me and Curtis. I’d say ‘OK, it’s cool. Just breathe.’ It was one of those days, patience really paid off.I was just trying to really focus on finding the good lines, and staying really consistent, so that I could just keep my heart rate down a little bit more than it could be.”

Hyde would escape Werner with two laps to go. “When we came through the up-down section after the barriers, which is difficult to ride, I came into it with a little tiny bit of a gap. I just happened to nail it on that ride. No forced acceleration or anything, I just happened to nail it. I got good speed out of it and I was able to hold that gap.”

Werner, who would finish second 28 seconds behind Hyde, also noted Sunday’s drastically different conditions. “Yesterday I felt there was tons of grip, and the turns didn’t really separate anybody. Today was a whole different ball game. It was a fine balance between putting power down and slipping out. The roots were still very much a factor today. I think some of them were more slippery. It was a good, old-fashioned mudder today.”

For Werner, it was a race of attrition in the group. “The first couple of laps, there was a group of four of us. We went out with Stephen (Hyde). Then it just split. Stephen and I were trading turns at the front early. That kind of separated Powers first, then Curtis. Later on in the race I just got a little gassed. Maybe a little bit of fatigue from the last training block, or Stephen just coming on really strong going into Nationals. The last two laps he just got away from me. That was all she wrote.”

White, who clinched the Series title after Saturday’s race, was feeling the fatigue of his efforts. “Hyde and Kerry were riding really well today,” said White. “I tried to stay with them, but I wasn’t on the best form today. I don’t think I recovered as well as I could have from yesterday. But one bad day out of the entire Series, I’m not too disappointed in the grand scheme of things.”

White claimed his third consecutive Vittoria Series title. “I think the Vittoria Series is something special,” said White. “It’s the longest-running UCI series in the U.S. They do a wonderful job for this sport in this area with the development and focus towards the elites. I just tried to bring my best to the start line. You know, this weekend with it being a C1, there were a lot of fast guys bringing their A games and getting ready for Nationals. I think it was a treat to race at that level.”

For the U23 competition, 21-year-old Clio Dinan (Independent) led the women’s competition from start to finish. Eighteen-year-old Sam Noel (Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld.com) would be awarded the Verge Sport jersey for the U23 men.

In addition to the elite and U23 competitions, amatuer racers competed for the overall Vittoria Series title in the muddy conditions. For full standings from all Vittoria Series categories visit crossresults.com.