The 2018 Vittoria Northeast Cyclocross Series presented by Clif Bar and Cycle-Smart continued with race number four on Sunday with the Verge Northampton International Cyclocross p/Cycle-Smart (NohoCX). Now in its 28th year, NohoCX is the oldest cyclocross race in North America sanctioned by the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI). Elite racers also competed for UCI Class 2 points in USA Cycling’s Pro Cyclocross Calendar (ProCX). The second day of racing at Look Park would once again challenge the racers with windy and cool conditions on the 2.1-mile fast and flowing course.
Courtenay McFadden (Pivot-Maxxis p/b Stans-DNA Cycling) rode solo to victory in the elite women’s field and Curtis White (Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld.com) dominated the elite men’s field for a second day in a row.
NohoCX is the second of four race weekends. The Vittoria Series follows competition on classic cyclocross courses in the Northeast, which include Gloucester, Mass., Northampton, Mass., Suffern, N.Y., and Warwick, R.I. It is the longest standing UCI cyclocross series in the United States. Athletes will compete for points on the USA Cycling Pro Cyclocross Calendar (ProCX), as well as for the Vittoria Series overall competition. Ellen Noble (Trek Factory Racing) keeps the lead in the Vittoria Series for the elite women, despite not racing on Sunday and White extends his lead after winning all four Series races this season which started with back-to-back wins at the CRAFT Sportswear Gran Prix of Gloucester in October.
In the elite women’s race, a group of four would separate themselves early from the 42-racer field. Joining McFadden in the lead group were Rebecca Fahringer (Kona Maxxis Shimano), Caroline Nolan (Voler/Easton/HRS/Rock Lobster), and Crystal Anthony (Liv Cycling) who took the holeshot.
McFadden would escape the group after a crash behind her in the woods on the upper deck of the course in the second lap. McFadden notes when she left the group, “It was kind of unintentional, I wanted to sit in a little bit more today so I was trying to do that for the first couple of laps. I think it was myself, Caroline [Nolan] and maybe Becca [Rebecca Fahringer] and that we're kind of yo-yoing back and forth but I realized I was a little bit quicker through the woods. So I went around Caroline after that first section, before the first downhill, and she ended up sliding out on some gravel and so I just pinned it from there. I was like 'well I got to go because that's the opportunity to hit it' and so I did.”
McFadden would finish with a 29-second lead after riding much of the race alone. She finished the five-lap event in 44 minutes, 55 seconds.
“I tried to play the wind,” said McFadden. “I would, on the tailwind, try to catch my breath and then hammer through the headwind. I knew that I was pretty proficient in the woods so I tried to stay smooth through there and put all the energy down here [lower section] and catch my breath a little bit more through the woods.”
Northampton is McFadden’s fifth UCI event of the season and her first UCI win following two hip surgeries. “It feels good to be racing, strong, definitely a lot better than pre-surgery, still some post-op pain but you don't notice them when you're racing.”
Behind McFadden, Fahringer and Nolan had to spend a few seconds to regroup following the bobble.
“Courtenay took advantage of it and we both took a second to regroup,” Fahringer explained. “I mini-attacked on Caroline but she was working hard to stick with me. At some point, I said we're not going to close it on Courtenay, it's just too fast of a course so I started going hard when I could, and try to play it conservative where I might lose it. I even ran a section that I had been riding because I was like 'this is where I'll slide out, lose second, I'm not going to get first'. It was a game of play it smooth after that.”
Fahringer would finish in second place, for her second podium of the weekend. Nolan, crossed the line 16 seconds later for third place.
Nolan, would lead the race early but would have to chase back on after sliding out in the woods section. “Courtenay got a little gap and I gave it everything I could to stay with Becca,” said Nolan. “So I'm happy to stay on the podium.”
An emotional podium for Nolan, where her hometown of Chico, Calif. currently is dealing with large wildfires. “I have big fires going on back in my hometown,” said Nolan, “so in this race I wanted to do as best I can since I'm not home to volunteer, to raise money and awareness for the wildfires back in California so I did that. I'm happy with it.”
In the elite men’s race, White would run away with the race for a second day in a row for his fourth Series win, and his fourth ProCX victory.
“Very happy with the weekend,” said White. “Early on, Spencer Petrov, Sam Noel and I were racing as a team it felt like, we made the front selection again, trying to close up the front. I got a gap on the steep ride up and slowly was growing that throughout the rest of the race. I could see behind that my two teammates were racing together and trying to lock up the podium for a Cannondale sweep, so happy with that.”
While today’s race looked routine, White remains focused on upcoming goals and races. “Similar performance [to Saturday’s race] but today I was pretty motivated with Nationals in mind, time is closing in so making every effort count.”
White would finish the eight-lap event in one hour, three minutes, 38 seconds. He will continue on with the next Vittoria Series race next weekend at Supercross Cup. “Another race close to home. It's a New York UCI race, every chance I can I'll race in New York.”
Teammate Spencer Petrov led things off at the front with White but would end up together with Devo teammate Sam Noel up against Jack Kisseberth (Garneau Easton p/b Transitions), who finished third on Saturday.
“Sam [Noel] is doing amazing right now,” exclaimed Petrov who claimed second place. “He's having such great rides. And Jack, you know, it's three on one in that situation. The first few laps, it was cat and mouse, it was a hard race yesterday so no one really wanted to play all their cards early in the day, so it was a little bit of playing around, and a few new people were there. But the pace picked back up, Curtis is flying on amazing form right now. For me, in my mind, I know that Curtis has got the biggest legs right now, I got to play the good teammate role depending on how I feel. And then, after that Curtis got away. I can't and I don't have to do anything when he's out front. So there were a few laps of just playing with Jack, Sam gave it some good gas and then I gave it some good gas and that's how we dropped Jack. From three and a half, three to go, it was me and Sam out there. I'm still finding my form with the concussion I had earlier in the year.”
Noel, in his first year as an elite rider, took his second UCI podium of the season finishing in a sprint with teammate Petrov after riding together for the final laps. The pair crossed the finish line, one minute and nine seconds behind White.
“After yesterday, Spencer and I wanted to go one-two-three,” said Noel, “and it was super sweet how it worked out today. Jack is super strong but we were able to shake him and Spencer and I were taking turns pulling and had some good teamwork going.”
Going into the finale, it came down to a sprint between the two Cannondale riders to work out the podium positions. “Whoever led into that final corner was going to take it,” said Noel, “so it was just a full-on sprint to there. We ended up colliding but luckily it wasn't too serious.”
Racing will continue next week in Suffern, N.Y. Nov. 17 and 18 at Supercross Cup. Watch the races unfold in person or by following tweets at @VittoriaSeries. Follow on Facebook and YouTube for race weekend highlights video highlights provided by DirtWire.TV.