Weekend Preview: NBX Gran Prix of Cyclocross

The 2018 Vittoria Northeast Cyclocross Series presented by Clif Bar and Cycle-Smart will conclude this weekend with the NBX Gran Prix of Cyclocross. Rounds seven and eight of the Vittoria Series will take place Dec. 1 and 2 at Goddard Memorial State Park in West Warwick, R.I. The final chapter of the Series showcases the essence of cyclocross in New England with its twists and turns, rooty descents and the legendary long beach sections and will feature two days of Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) sanctioned races, Class 1 (C1) on Saturday and Class 2 (C2) on Sunday.

The Vittoria Series began in Gloucester, Mass., in mid October, followed by events in Northampton, Mass. and Suffern, N.Y. in November. With a total of eight events in the Northeast, the Vittoria Series is the longest standing, UCI cyclocross series in the United States.

At this weekend’s NBX Gran Prix of Cyclocross, athletes will compete for points on the USA Cycling Pro Cyclocross Calendar (ProCX), as well as for the Vittoria Series overall competition. A final Verge Sport jersey will be awarded to the winners this weekend in Rhode Island.

Ellen Noble (Trek Factory Racing) was the early leader for elite women, but was overtaken in the third week at Supercross Cup in Suffern, N.Y. by Rebecca Fahringer (Kona Maxxis Shimano). Using a ferocious victory over the young Canadian and last year’s Vittoria Series winner Ruby West (Specialized - Tenspeed Hero), Fahringer now leads Noble by a slim 10 points. For the elite men, this year’s story has been all about Curtis White (Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld.com). White is currently undefeated in the elite men’s competition with six victories, and is set to defend his 2017 Vittoria Series title.

“NBX is always a big finale to the Vittoria Series,” said Series President Adam Myerson, “but this year with the C1 contest in the mix, with the elite women’s jersey still up for grabs, with Curtis trying to pitch a perfect game, and Hyde returning to racing, there’s a lot to pay attention to.”

Vittoria Series Standings:

Elite Women, Top 3:

  1. Rebecca Fahringer (Kona Maxxis Shimano), 160 points

  2. Ellen Noble (Trek Factory Racing), 150 points

  3. Cassandra Maximenko (Van Dessel Factory Team), 129 points

U23 Women, Top 3:

  1. Clio Dinan (Independent), 200 points

  2. Anna Savage (JAM Fund/NCC), 155 points

  3. Aliza Tobias (Killington Mountain School/BMB), 125 points

Elite Men, Top 3:

  1. Curtis White (Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld.com), 300 points

  2. Sam Noel (UVM Cycling/Cannondale Cyclocross), 131 points

  3. Spencer Petrov (Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld.com), 116 points

U23 Men, Top 3:

  1. Sam Noel (UVM Cycling/Cannondale Cyclocross), 230 points

  2. Cooper Willsey (Furman University/Cannondale Cyclocross), 170 points

  3. Spencer Petrov (Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld.com), 170 points

Race Preview

After heartbreak and redemption at Supercross Cup, Fahringer (Kona Maxxis Shimano) is rested and ready to race for the elite women after the Thanksgiving break. “I had a really nice, quiet Thanksgiving,” said Fahringer, who captured her first ProCX win of the season at the second day of Supercross Cup and is second overall in ProCX standings. “It feels great not to be over traveled at this point in the season. And I’m very happy to finally have a win under by belt, but I also understand that at this point domestically, I have a C1 weekend and Nationals left before I start racing in Europe. So though I’d love to keep up a winning streak, it may be a fight for podiums or other top results! NBX has always proven a tricky course for me, but hopefully with confidence and less pressure to ‘finally’ win, I can race more relaxed.”

Returning to NBX this year is West (Specialized - Tenspeed Hero), who won her first U.S. UCI race in Warwick in 2017 as she claimed back-to-back victories to clinch the Vittoria Series title. “I'm super excited to be coming back to NBX this year. It's one of my favorite races on the schedule, with such a scenic venue and fun course. I had a breakthrough weekend at this race last year, so I'm hoping to draw on the things I learned from last year for the races this weekend. I was also thrilled to see Saturday will be a C1 this year, so I'm sure competition will be tough. I'm really excited for some good racing on the beach in Rhode Island.”

Also racing this weekend is Kaitlin Keough (Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld.com). “I’m looking forward to racing in Warwick this weekend,” said Keough, who is fifth overall in ProCX standings. “Although I’ve never raced there, I’ve only ever heard wonderful things as it’s a classic New England CX race. I’m looking forward to the weekend and hoping to have one last solid race effort before heading into Nationals.”

Additional riders to watch in the elite women’s race include Caroline Nolan (Voler/Clif/Rock Lobster), who finished on the podium at the Verge Northampton International Cyclocross, Crystal Anthony (Liv Cycling), and Caroline Mani (Van Dessel Factory Team). All three are in the Top 15 of the ProCX standings.

For the elite men, White will look to maintain his undefeated Vittoria Series streak to claim the Series title for a second consecutive year.

“I'm really looking forward to racing in Warwick again,” said White, who moved to third place in ProCX standings with two wins at The Verge Northampton International. “It's another New England classic that I've raced since I was a kid. The course has always been unique and something special to Warwick.”

After Supercross Cup, White declared that the Stars-and-Stripes jersey was the goal going forward. “With it being a C1 this year, we'll see more top guys that are making their final preparations for Nationals. I'm focused on bringing my best to the start line. I just came off a big training block, and my form is right where I want it to be. As always, our goal is to put Cannondale on the top step. Both Spencer (Petrov) and Stephen (Hyde) will take the start, we have a few cards to play.”

Joining White will be Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld.com teammate and reigning U.S. Cyclocross National Champion Stephen Hyde. “NBX was one of the first UCI races I ever attended. It really opened my eyes to CX in New England and taught me about adapting to different course conditions. It also taught me the importance of running in your training! I've taken a long break from the race over the last four years, as I am normally in Europe racing the World Cup circuit. I can't wait to get back to racing on this iconic New England race. Also, really excited to be back in the Vittoria New England Series again! This will be my first race back since my injury at Pan Ams (Nov. 3-4) and I am ready to rip it up with my Cannondale presented by Cyclocrossworld.com teammates.”

Looking to upset those team tactics will be Kerry Werner (Kona Maxxis Shimano), who is the top-ranked ProCX rider for elite men. “I am really looking forward to racing NBX. I haven’t participated in four years or so, and I remember the course having a distinct Euro feel, with the beach run/ride and established trails through the woods. The vibe is great too and there are usually lots of spectators. Being the final C1 of the season and so close to Nationals, it should be a big reveal of how everyone’s National's training blocks have affected their fitness levels. Even though it is late in the season, I have some pre-race jitters already. In a way, it feels distinctly like the first race of the season, though we are three months into this dance.”

Racing in front of hometown sponsor Apex Technologies will be Justin Lindine (Hyperthreads/Apex Pro Cycling). The New England native has strong ties to the region even after moving to Ogden, Utah several years ago. “I’m really excited to be back in Rhode Island for NBX this weekend, and think it’s really exciting that the event has made the jump up to C1 status. I believe it really shows just how committed NBX is to supporting and growing the sport, to see them step up and try and run the highest caliber event. The race has been such a regular part of my season that it’s especially cool to be heading into the C1 weekend having raced here so many times. It’s been a while since I competed in a C1 event on a course I know and like so much. Hopefully, I can capitalize on some of that prior experience and grab a good result as we head into the final weeks before Nationals.”

Additional elite men to watch include Jack Kisseberth (Garneau Easton p/b Transitions Life Care), Merwin Davis (Cycle-Smart), and Scott Smith (Dirt League). These three riders are in the Top 20 of the ProCX standings.

The USA Cycling Cyclocross National Championships will be held two weeks following NBX, on Dec. 11-16. It will be the first time the event will be hosted in Louisville. Forty-two national titles will be on the line for male and female athletes, crowned in the Junior, Senior, Collegiate, U23, Masters and Elite categories.

Each day of NBX will feature amateur racing throughout the day prior to the elite competitions in the afternoon. Categories competing in the Vittoria Series finale will race for the final Verge Sport jerseys to be awarded. The current standings heading into Saturday and Sunday’s racing can be found here.

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.

Fahringer Gets Revenge on Muddy Day Two at Supercross Cup, White Picks Up Sixth Vittoria Series Win

Extremely muddy conditions from snowmelt were on hand for a second day of racing at Rockland County Supercross Cup. It was race number six for the 2018 Vittoria Northeast Cyclocross Series presented by Clif Bar and Cycle-Smart at Rockland Community College, located in the southernmost county of the Empire State  on the west side of the Hudson River. Racers competed for the coveted Verge leader’s jerseys in the Vittoria Series, as well as for UCI Category 2 points in USA Cycling’s Pro Cyclocross Calendar (ProCX).

Rebecca Fahringer (Kona Maxxis Shimano) charged away from the elite women’s field of 23 riders to claim her first UCI win of the 2018 season. Curtis White (Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld.com) went two-for-two for weekend in the elite men’s competition and won his sixth consecutive Vittoria Series victory of the season.

There are two races remaining in the Series, taking place Dec. 1-2 at NBX Gran Prix of Cyclocross in Warwick, R.I.. The Vittoria Series follows four weekends of competition on classic cyclocross courses in the Northeast, and is the longest standing UCI cyclocross series in the United States.

After a heartbreaking runner-up finish on day one of Supercross Cup, Fahringer called her shot for day two. “So the second place for Rebecca Fahringer still stands as my intro,but it’s ‘on’ tomorrow,” she predicted on Saturday about the final event.

“Coming into today, I think everyone was a bit like, ‘oh crap, we’re out here doing this again,’” said Fahringer with a laugh. “It was pretty chilly, the mud was thicker, there was more running. My heart wasn’t in it, but as soon as the gun goes off, that’s when you start to really find it (gunning for the win). I wasn’t quite sure after a bad start if it was going to happen for me. I just kept trudging through.”

Fahringer would make her winning move on the second lap of the five-lap race. “I passed Ruby, and she was breathing pretty hard,” noted Fahringer about getting a 15-second advantage on that lap. “And I said, ‘this is going to be my day.’ And I just tried to ride smooth and hope that she didn’t charge forward like she did yesterday.”

Fahringer won in a time of 50 minutes, 4 seconds. She would gain time each lap on Ruby West (Specialized - Tenspeed Hero), who would finish more than 4 minutes back for second place., Fahringer will continue her season at NBX Gran Prix of Cyclocross, the finale of the Vittoria Series and a C1/C2 weekend, after Thanksgiving. She will then compete at USA Cycling Cyclocross National Championships in Louisville, K.Y., which will be held Dec. 11-16, 2018..

West, who won the Saturday race for elite women, felt the fatigue of her winning effort today. “The course was run backwards today. I think there was a little more running. The mud was thicker today. Yesterday was like big puddles of water, and thin mud. Today was just thick mud, and with running, your legs were getting  heavy. I think the wear from yesterday had accumulated.”

West started quickly, leading the race from the start. “I think I was eager after yesterday to kind of get a better first lap, try to pick my own lines and do my own thing first lap. So I tried to get out front and not really worry about what other people were doing. That worked for the first lap. I think Rebecca (Fahringer) and I got a bit of a gap. I had a bit of a gap on her at one point, but I wasn’t attacking to get away. I was just kind of trying to do my own thing.”

When Fahringer put the pressure on two laps into the race, West simply could not respond. “I think she literally just went around me and rode away. I had less than nothing to offer today! So, my legs were totally empty from yesterday. I just did as much as I could, but Rebecca was so strong, and she was gone. I was focused on trying to stay upright and move forward as fast as possible, even though that wasn’t very fast. I did what I could. I am happy with second today. It’s been a good weekend.”

Supercross Cup would prove to be a breakout ride for Jane Rossi (Rhode Island School of Design), who would race to her first UCI podium. She finished 4 minutes, 58 seconds off the winning pace for third. Canadian Magdeleine Vallieres (Quebecor-Stingray), who was third on Saturday, was fourth on Sunday.

“It’s been a learning curve this season, learning how to do starts. I’m still trying to figure it out,” said Rossi, from Newburyport, Mass. “So every first lap has been a struggle. It was a lot of fighting to get back today. You can make up a lot of spots with just one short maneuver. The last couple of laps it was just staying really smooth and trying not to make any mistakes and no mechanicals. So, that was huge.”

While 15 of the 26 women completed all five laps, the elite men’s contest saw more attrition due to the slick, mucky conditions. Just six riders of the 23-person field completed the eight laps on Sunday. A lead group would unfold in a similar fashion to the first day, with White and Kerry Werner (Kona Maxxis Shimano) at the front.

“It was a lot of running today,” said White, who wore a mud-splattered Vittoria Series leader’s jersey to a solo victory.  “(I was) just trying to be as smooth as you can carrying the momentum. The first couple of laps I just tried to see what guys like Kerry (Werner) and Cooper Willsey were doing, learn from their lines. Then I just gave it the diesel and gaps started opening up pretty steadily after that. I just trying to rail every section, focus on exit speed, make sure the running was on point.

“I got a flat tire late in the race, but it didn’t really affect things. It actually felt like I was hooking up better on the off camber, less (tire) pressure. It worked out very well.”

White spent 1 hour, 5 minutes, 43 seconds in the mud to earn another win. After his undefeated Vittoria Series stretch, White will look to lock up the leader’s jersey at NBX Gran Prix of Cyclocross and continue on to Nationals. “Things are still on the ups, so I’ll be training over Thanksgiving. I won’t be eating too much turkey, just getting the work in and Stars-and-Stripes is the goal.”

Werner, who would finish second to White just as he had in 2017. Sunday he would finish 2 minutes, 35 seconds back, having spent a large part of the day running the course because of the thick mud.. “I would say if yesterday was a swim meet, today was the Supercross Cup tough mudder. Man, I don’t know what percentage of the course was running today, but it had to be over half.”

Werner was side by side with White in early laps. It was not until the third lap on the course that White created separation and began opening a gap to Werner. “I was able to keep up, maybe the first three laps or so. But then Curtis (White) was just beating me, hard on the running sections. It was all I could do. It was tough conditions out there.”

With some solid training of his running skills, Werner looks forward to a solid performance at NBX in Warwick, R.I. in two weeks, which features its long, iconic, beach run. “I took a good five days off after Pan-Am champs, did some training coming into this race, so I knew my legs were going to be a little shot. And with the running, that didn’t help either. So, this was good training. Rest up and then hit those last three weeks and just really hammer down.”

For the second day in a row, Merwin Davis (Cycle-Smart) finished third, 4 minutes, 18 seconds behind White. He would hold off Sam Noel (UVM Cycling / Cannondale Cyclocross) in the middle laps to maintain his hold on third place. Noel, the U23 leader for men in the Vittoria Series, would finish fourth.

“I approached both days kind of the same - go out strong, hang with Curtis (White) and Kerry (Werner) as long as I could. And then from there just settle in, minimize my mistakes and try to keep Sam (Noel) and Cooper (Willsey) at bay,” exclaimed Davis.

“I had one mechanical, dropped my chain and slid out in one turn the following lap. So that is when he (Noel) probably got the closest to me. Then I knew I had to put a couple of digs in. I chose to do it on the running hill. It seemed to work. I finally broke him, or broke his spirit. I seemed to be opening up a gap a little bit each lap in the woods. That was actually because I was running a portion of it. I’d ride, run, ride out of it.”

The Vittoria Series will conclude at Goddard Memorial State Park with the NBX Gran Prix of Cyclocross December 1 and 2. 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 DirtWireTV.