North American Cyclocross Preview: NBX Showdown

Photo by Dave Chiu

Shimano and Verge Series Finals: The $10,000 Showdown at NBX Gran Prix of Cross

This weekend marks the finale of the inaugural Shimano New England Professional Cyclocross Series presented by Verge as well as the final leg of the Verge New England Cyclo-Cross Series. Over the past three months, we’ve been treated to the best and most competitive racing in the country, boasting huge fields with marquee riders from across the globe. With the New England hotbed of cyclocross racing’s storied past, this season has been able to showcase the heritage through America’s best courses, while also, through the rapidly growing Amateur fields for both men and women, demonstrating that New England is also the future of cyclocross in America.

The NBX Gran Prix of Cross has long been the final round of the Verge Series, and for good reason. The courses boast long sand features, extremely technical wooded sections and long power sections. In short, Goddard Park in Warwick, Rhode Island, the host venue for NBX, is the epitome of ideal cyclocross – technical, challenging and unrelenting. This year’s edition has the added distinction of playing host to the final rounds of the Shimano New England Professional Cyclocross Series. The Shimano series, which is one of only a small handful of UCI conscripted series in the United States, boasts a prize list of $10,000, split evenly between the men and women.

On the Elite Men’s side of things, there is a great, season-long battle between Luke Keough (Champion System p/b Keough Cyclocross) and Justin Lindine (bikereg.com/Joe’s Garage) that will come to a close with the $10,000 Showdown in Rhode Island. Keough is making a return from a short European trip where he competed in the U23 race at the Koksijde World Cup. Luke Keough is, in simplest terms, a winner. He has a singular focus and the determination to make vision a reality, and right now, his vision is to take home top honors in both the Elite and U23 divisions of the Shimano Series. Lindine, meanwhile, came out this season with absolute dominance, holding a winning streak that spanned nearly a month, with two victories at the Providence Cross Festival, among others. He came on to the national radar last season, but this has been a breakout year for the workingman.

On the hunt to spoil the Keough-Lindine rivalry include Dylan McNicholas (cyclocrossworld.com), who finally picked up a UCI victory last weekend in Sterling and is ready to dominate the end of the season. McNicholas is best known as a fast starter, but he’s found the ability to stay within himself and has strung together some of the best performances of his career in recent weeks. Currently, he’s positioned third in the Shimano Series, but he isn’t eliminated from overall contention and will definitely be gunning for that number one spot. Jerome Townsend and Adam Myerson from the SmartStop/MOB are both hoping to take advantage of their great form and go a position or two better this weekend at NBX. Both showed last weekend they’ve got the fitness and the technique to be on the podium, but small mistakes cost them both the top steps they’d been hunting for.

Just confirmed last night, Mike Garrigan (Lapierre Canada) is going to be bringing his blisteringly fast starts to NBX. Garrigan was part of the group of Canadians that made a big impact on the early season in New England, his return means yet another great animator in the races of NBX.

There are also rumors circling that there will be some of the top names from the world’s stage at NBX. Stay tuned for more to come on that.

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