The 2019 Vittoria Northeast Cyclocross Series wrapped up over the weekend in Warwick, Rhode Island at the NBX Gran Prix of Cyclocross.
With Gloucester not taking place this season, the races represented the fifth and sixth races in the annual series of UCI C2 races sponsored by Vittoria. The races represented a chance for American riders to get one last tune-up in before Lakewood Nationals this weekend, and they also provided several riders with the chance to vie for the coveted series overall.
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“A singlespeed ’cross bike doesn’t really make sense outside of ’cross season so I want to ride it as much as I can through the end of the year,” Ben Frederick (ORNOT) said about his racing. “I’m going to be getting on a plane to Seattle in a few days, so just trying to get those last few races in.”
Entering the weekend, conditions were frosty, with snow covering the ground. Rebecca Fahringer (Kona Maxxis Shimano) commented on the conditions after Saturday’s race.
“I really wasn’t sure coming into the race about the snow before I got to the venue,” she said. “Was it going to be snowy, was it going to be muddy? Pre-ride yesterday, the snow definitely was a factor for line choices. Today, the snow was just a factor for where you might be able to pass and your lines were dictated by the already cleared spots.”
After a slow start on Saturday, Fahringer got a tough fight from first-year UCI racer Lizzy Gunsalus (Cannondale p/b CyclocrossWorld) before taking the Day 1 win.
Gunsalus, a product of the NECXS, has raced NBX a number of times, and that played to her advantage in her battle against 2017 Vittoria Series winner Ruby West (Pivot / Maxxis p/b Stan’s NoTubes), as she ultimately took second on the afternoon.
“I’ve been racing this course for a while so this one has always been one of the more technical races around where we are. So I was pretty confident with the technical sections, the sand, the beach. I knew it could be rideable if you rode it fast enough into the beginning,” Gunsalus said.
In the Elite Men’s race, Lane Maher (Cannondale p/b CyclocrossWorld) went on the attack from the start and took the Day 1 win.
“I’m usually a last lap, last two laps kind of attack person,” Maher said. “I usually can’t ride the whole race by myself but today I was kind of thinking that I could if I hit the sand right on the first lap.”
Frederick was among the riders with a strong afternoon, finishing third.
Of note in Saturday’s Elite Men’s race was the presence of one Jeremy Powers (GCN Racing). The four-time U.S. national champion had a new kit and a new bike, but he still had some time to show off the skills he used to put on display in the NECXS on a regular basis.
The Day 2 Elite Women’s win went to Fahringer after another fast start from Gunsalus.
The young rider from Massachusetts picked up her second silver of the weekend as she heads into the Junior Women’s 17-18 race at Nationals this Sunday.
In the Elite Men’s race, teammates Sam Noel (Competitive Edge Racing / UVM Cycling) and Nick Lando (Competitive Edge Racing / UVM Cycling) worked hard to keep Maher at bay early on.
A lead trio of Maher, Noel and Ben Gomez Villafane (Squid x Eliel) eventually formed, but Maher again took the win and the Vittoria series overall.
Gomez Villafane reached the podium with an impressive ride.