Four UCI races mark the US calendar this weekend, two in Vermont and two in Pennsylvania. Both also mark the start of two of the longest running regional series: the New England Cyclocross series and the Mid-Atlantic Cross series. When the dust settles, I’m looking for Massachusetts riders to dominate all four races.
Green Mountain Cyclo-Cross Weekend – Verge NECXS Rounds 1 & 2 (UCI C2)
Tim Johnson – while Nicolas Bazin stole the show last weekend going two-for-two, I look for Johnson to pick up a victory in Williston. Johnson appears to be on great form after winning the very tough Green Mountain Stage Race, less than two weeks ago. Heâ€™ll have to ride close to perfect, but heâ€™ll grace the top step of the podium at least once this weekend.
Nicolas Bazin – Bazin won two hard fought victories last weekend and looks poised to win at least once this weekend. Johnson and he should go toe-to-toe both days and will split the victories.
Jonathan Page – the storied Page vs. Johnson rivalry will continue this weekend, with Johnson getting the upper hand. Page looked impressive last weekend and without any bad luck he could contend for the victory this weekend as well. Unfortunately, with Johnson and Bazin both gunning for victory, I think Page may struggle to keep up. However, I expect him to finish on the podium both days this weekend.
On any given day in New England any of the nearly half-dozen riders mentioned below could contend for victory. While I have faith in my podium predictions, deep down I know one of the guys will make things very interesting and could very well spoil my predictions. Look for Justin Lindine, Adam Myerson, Luke Keough and Jamie Driscoll to play the spoiler role all weekend.
Nittany Lion Cross – MAC Series Rounds 1 & 2 (UCI C2)
Jeremy Powers – the defending race winner and current US National Champion returns to Trexlertown to pick up where he left off. While nothing is guaranteed, I can honestly say I expect Powers to dominate both days.
Craig Richey – coming off a pair of fourth place finishes last weekend, I expect Richey to stand firmly on the podium both days this weekend. The 29-year-old Canadian is a strong rider and while he may not be able to keep up with Powers, he should be able to provide a formidable chase.
Jeremy Durrin – to be completely honest, I didnâ€™t expect Durrin to place inside the top-five last weekend let alone podium. Clearly heâ€™s on good form and is making it count. He spent roughly a month in Europe last year and while his results werenâ€™t spectacular, heâ€™s clearly used it as a valuable learning experience. I expect him to podium both days.
Whereâ€™s the mid-Atlantic?
As a member of the mid-Atlantic cross community, it pains me to say that I donâ€™t think a mid-Atlantic rider will finish on the podium. In fact, my dark horse, Alec Donahue, is from Massachusetts (as are Powers and Durrin). However, Jared Nieters and Weston Schempf should lead the way for the mid-Atlantic region with both riders capable of a top-five finish. I wouldnâ€™t be surprised if either rider is in the mix early, I just donâ€™t think they have what it takes to hang on at this point. Donâ€™t be surprised if Ryan Knapp makes his presence felt either. The Ohioan usually puts in a solid performance at Nittany.
Iâ€™m still working on a method to keep track of my predictions, but I hope to have some sort of points system in place after this weekend. As always, your comments and/or predictions are welcomed. Feel free to let the world know who you think is going to win.
One last note: Pave will be on hand this weekend in Trexlertown to catch all of the action. If youâ€™re there, feel free to hunt me down and say hello.