After expecting hurricane like conditions with soaking rain and mud, the first full day of the KMC Cyclo-cross Festival boasted a fast and tacky course which dried bit by bit throughout the day. With many new features which utilized the most unique terrain of the park, racers traversed the late-fall-like conditions of Roger Williams Park.
The UCI Elite Women’s race started out fast and furious, with Ellen Noble (Jam/Ncc/Vittoria) taking the hole shot followed by National Champion Katie Compton (Trek Factory Racing) and Cross Vegas World Cup winner Katerina Nash (Luna Pro Team). This group remained together, with Amanda Miller (Boulder Cycle Sport/Yogaglo) and recent Junior Road World Championship silver medalist Emma White (Cyclocrossworld Devo Team). Nash would attack and put a significant gap between herself and Compton, Nash’s lead held steady, and thanks to a clean race with no crashes or mechanical issues, she rode away for the win over Compton, while A. Miller claimed a hard fought third place. Nash, who is used to racing a wide variety of terrains both in Europe and the states, stated “I really liked the course layout, it was very different than the last time I raced here two years ago. It was nice to use a larger portion of the course with more variety, that was really great.” When asked about how she feels about tomorrow after her efforts today, she continued “I am excited for tomorrow, I like to do back to back events, it is a lot better for me than just one day only. The course will be different again tomorrow and I am excited for that, and looking forward to doing it all again tomorrow.”
The UCI Elite Men started off with another promising youth of cyclo-cross, Curtis White (Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld) leading the way from the whistle, with National Champion Jeremy Powers (Aspire Racing) on his wheel. A large group of riders stuck together early on, all fighting the winds on course, with Daniel Summerhill (Maxxis-Shimano Pro Cyclocross) leading the way. A few laps later, a group of 2 consisting of Powers and Stephen Hyde (Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld) would gain time together, putting pressure on the group behind. Powers lead an aggressive charge, with Hyde responding, until Powers began to open up a gap and really drive the pace. Hyde remained within 16 seconds of Powers, and came in close behind after Powers took the win. The battle for third was tight as well, coming down to a sprint between White and Summerhill, where ultimately, despite an earlier incident with a crash and breaking his shoe and having to do a shoe swap in the pit, White took the final podium spot. White, who is having a phenomenal week, stated it was a week of firsts for him, with a first ever shoe change in the pits but also a first C1 podium.
“The course layout made the race very hard today,” said White. “And then there was the wind. But it was probably the most difficult course I have ever seen here in Providence. It was unfortunate about the crash and the shoe, but it was a great course that led to a harder style of racing. We’ll see what tomorrow brings.” The UCI fields were broadcast live today on the KMC ‘Cross Fest homepage, with commentary from ESPN and Sirius/XM Jeff Rickard and cyclo-cross legend Tim Johnson, with live feeds available in the Harpoon Brewery beer garden for fans to enjoy the action of the entire race. Tomorrow promises just as much action and excitement, with some course changes, and new challenges for the athletes to face. Follow the race action on Sunday by following @providencecross or #KMCCX on twitter.
Photo: Wil Matthews/www.wilmatthewsphoto.com