BOSTON, Mass. (August 2, 2017) - The 2017 Vittoria Northeast Cyclocross Series presented by Clif Bar returns as a UCI series but has changes in store for racers this year. Well-known for its long running, high-quality events, the Series continues to grow with support of returning title sponsor, Vittoria, and the addition of new presenting sponsor Clif Bar. Cyclocross fans can follow the calendar through four weekends of competition on classic courses, taking athletes to Gloucester, MA, Northampton, MA, Suffern, NY, and Warwick, RI where they will race for the coveted overall Vittoria Series jersey provided by Verge Sport.
"Every year we evaluate our category structure; some years we make no changes, some years we make radical ones," explained Series President Adam Myerson. Category changes for the 2017 Series include the removal of the elite women's masters 35+ category and the addition of an open women's masters 40/50+ category as a staggered start behind the category 3 women. There will be separate series points and jerseys awarded for each age group. Additionally, the men's masters categories will shift to a 40/50/60+ format.
"We've been searching for ways to add independent women's masters fields and after looking very hard at how turnouts were last season and where the capacity lies, we think this is the best way to do it," continued Myerson. "I don't love staggered starts and wish I had enough daylight to give every field its own time on the course but we're confident this solution will make the maximum number of people happy."
Myerson added that it's important to adapt as the sport and the demographic change. "We see that older riders are staying competitive longer. We also see the peak of the population curve moving and so we need to accommodate that demand with more capacity. Add to that the fact that riders can score up to 100 UCI points and still be eligible for masters worlds and we felt it was finally time to move our masters classes back by 5 years, even if that keeps a few cat. 1/2 35-39 year olds in the UCI elite race."
In addition to the changes to the masters fields, the elite women will be given more time to utilize open course time, with the afternoon warm up window relocated to before the category 3 men's race.
The Vittoria Series will also change its prize policies, with no prize money for amateur fields in 2017. Myerson stated that "we want to spend more money on infrastructure to make sure all our riders are having a great experience. More fence, more staff, better video coverage, full and fast results, good officiating; these are things that cost money, but are also part of why people like our races. We think those things are a more important part of the racing experience than paying a few people a few hundred bucks in prize money. There is a lot of competition out there for fun on the weekends, and we're glad people are choosing our events. We want to keep making everyone happy."
The 2017 Series will kick off at the CRAFT Sportswear Gran Prix of Gloucester, October 14 and 15 in iconic Stage Fort Park. "As Gloucester enters its 19th year and the series continues as the longest running UCI series in North America, I'm excited that we are still pushing things progressively in cyclocross," said Gloucester Executive and Technical Director Paul Boudreau. "A few years ago, we created a Cat 4 women's field which is now one of the fastest filling categories. Now with the creation of women's masters fields, I feel we're still moving the sport ever forward."
This year's Verge Northampton International, on November 11 and 12, hosts one of New England's favorite races and the oldest UCI race in the US. "Every year I have to check and see what year of the race we're on," exclaimed Vittoria Series and Verge Northampton International President Adam Myerson. "To be doing the 27th edition this year is amazing to me. We've had the same crew for a long time, and it's one of the secrets to our longevity. So with that combination of staff like Alec Donahue as race director and JD Bilodeau as technical director, along with friends like Verge, BikeReg, Joe's Garage, the Northampton Cycling Club, and Look Park, it gives us a lot of stability."
Returning to the series for a second year is Supercross Cup, November 18 and 19, in Suffern, NY. After a successful debut year in a new location, Supercross returns to the "World Cup-style" venue that featured rolling hills, tricky off-cambers, and clenching descents that tested even the most steely-nerved 'cross racers. "Our second year at this venue has us really excited!" said race promoter Myles Romanow. "We will make a few revisions to the course and make use of the incredible amenities afforded to us by our hosts, Rockland Community College. With hot showers, changing rooms, plentiful parking, delicious food trucks, the Family Fun Zone, there really are so many reasons to say 'I HEART NY' and make the trip to Supercross."
The Vittoria Series grand finale will be at the NBX Gran Prix of 'Cross. Goddard Memorial State Park in Warwick, Rhode Island will host the final chapter on a course that is the essence of cyclocross in New England: twists and turns, rooty descents and the legendary beach sections.
"This will be our 14th Annual UCI 'cross weekend in RI," said NBX Gran Prix Race Director Matt Bodziony. "Being the finale has always been an exciting opportunity to close out what has been some of the most exciting 'cross racing of the season. With the support of Vittoria, we're honored to be the 7th and 8th race of the Vittoria NECXS!"
With the continued support of NBX Bikes, Apex Tech. Group and Narragansett Beer the Goddard Park venue will be alive with several new course challenges and classic favorites like the long beach run.
The Series continues to grow and push the boundaries of the development of the sport thanks to involvement from sponsors such as Vittoria. "Vittoria is psyched to be back supporting 'cross for another season," said Vittoria Vice President of Marketing and Product Ken Avery. "Like Vittoria, cyclocross in this region has deep roots. More than anything, the passionate people who attend the events truly make the scene what it is, and we couldn't be more proud to be their tire of choice."
Watch the races unfold in person or by following tweets at @VittoriaSeries. Follow on facebook for race weekend highlights at facebook.com/VittoriaSeries. For more information visit http://www.necyclocross.com.
CRAFT Sportswear Gran Prix of Gloucester
Stage Fort Park, Gloucester, MA
The Verge Northampton International
Look Park, Northampton, MA
Rockland Community College, Suffern, NY
NBX Gran Prix of 'Cross
Goddard Memorial Park, Warwick, RI
Series Competition Categories
Masters 40+ Women (Cat 1-4)
Masters 50+ Women (Cat 1-4)
Masters 40+ Men (Cat 1-4)
Masters 50+ Men (Cat 1-4)
Masters 60+ Men (Cat 1-4)
Juniors 15-18 Men
Juniors 15-18 (Cat 3) Women
Juniors 10-14 Boys
Juniors 10-14 Girls
About Vittoria Series
The Vittoria Series is a UCI level cyclocross series made up of four premier event weekends in the Northeast that attract national and international caliber athletes to compete for an overall leader's jersey. Both professional and amateur athletes compete throughout the fall in Gloucester, MA, Northampton, MA, Suffern, NY, and Warwick, RI.
About Vittoria Industries North America
Vittoria Industries Ltd. is an international group that acquired the famous premium cotton tubular tires producer Vittoria Spa in 1990. Vittoria has built highly reputable partnerships within in the cycling industry and created a distinct brand image. Today, Vittoria Industries is the world's leading manufacturer of bicycle tires with an annual production of approximately 7 million tires and 900,000 high performance tubulars and cotton tires. Its research and development center develops the best racing tires at all levels. Vittoria's worldwide commercial operations are shared among three distinct regions: Vittoria SpA is responsible for Europe, Middle East, Africa and Latin America (EMEA & LATAM). Vittoria Industries North America, Inc., is responsible for North America. The group holding company, Vittoria Industries Ltd, carries out manufacturing and R&D at its fully owned Lion Tyres Thailand Ltd factory in Bangkok.