Itâ€™s a rare occasion in the United States to have only one-pair of UCI races on a weekend. Itâ€™s even rarer to have a UCI C1 race stateside, which is why Americaâ€™s top cross riders have all assembled on the Gran Prix of Gloucester aka the New England World Championships. In addition to the nearly 2,000 competitors, 90+ riders will take to the start grid in the Elite Menâ€™s race. The list of talent goes deeper than a National Championship and with rain in the forecast, this could be a truly great weekend of cross.
I will honestly admit that picking this weekend’s winner and podium finishers is nearly impossible. I left off a few riders who could easily make a bid for victory including National Champions, former podium finishers and even a past champion of this race. Iâ€™m standing by my predictions, but would love to hear yours. So, without further ado, hereâ€™s this weekendâ€™s predictions:
Great Brewers International Gran Prix of Gloucester (C1/C2)
NEPCX Rounds 1 & 2
Jeremy Powers – while itâ€™s hard to believe that Powers will dominate both days in â€œglostaâ€, itâ€™s hard to argue that he wonâ€™t. Powers is four-for-five this year with his only non-win being a third place finish at the second round of the USGP. Powers won here last year and would love to duplicate that success.
Tim Johnson – Johnson has been knocking on the door all season, but just hasnâ€™t figured out a way to land on the top step of the podium. Look for the first winner of this race (in 1999) to land on the podium this weekend.
Ben Berden – despite missing the podium last weekend in Wisconsin, Berden looks very strong right now. He finished fourth on day one and third on day two last year in â€œglostaâ€. This leads me to believe heâ€™ll finish on the podium one day this weekend.
Ryan Trebon – Trebon returns to â€œglostaâ€ this year, a race heâ€™s won three times. Trebon has looked solid this year, and despite not being 100%, heâ€™s clearly a podium contender. I pick him to land on the podium this weekend.
Nicolas Bazin – despite ruling the East Coast this season, I donâ€™t expect Bazin to win this weekend. In fact, I wouldnâ€™t even be surprised if he misses the podium. With that said, Bazin is riding really well and this is his chance to make his mark against a top-notch American field.
One last note: due to an error on my part, I missed the Gateway Cup this past Wednesday. For some reason I thought the race was the last Wednesday in October. My apologies. Now, I could sit here and say that I would have predicted the winner correctly (Ben Berden) and would have picked Jonathan Page to land on the podium (second), but I wonâ€™t. Instead, Iâ€™ll take a zero (my second this season) and apologize for my mistake.