Johnson and Elliott wrap up NACT series

Consistency the key to title, despite the challenges

The 2009 North American Cyclo-Cross Trophy series concluded at the Whitmore's Landscaping Super Cross Cup held in Southampton, New York on Sunday. Overall men's and women's titles went to Tim Johnson (Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com) and Natasha Elliott (Louis Garneau Chasseurs) respectively, with series co-founder Myles Romanow presenting the victors with a cheque for $1500 along with a custom-made heavyweight championship trophy belt.

Johnson won the series with at total of 425 points ahead of teammates Jeremy Powers with 314 points and third-placed Jamey Driscoll, who scored 289 points.

Johnson attributed a large part of his squad's success to the expanded support of Cannondale, which took on a title sponsorship role this year along with providing a truck and trailer equipped with a full-time driver and equipment to suit all weather conditions. The Connecticut-based bike manufacture joined forces with Stu Thorne owner of Cyclocrossworld.com.

"Last year they went to a couple of events and this year they've been at almost every race we've done," said Johnson. "We have everything at our fingertips and it makes for basically anything you could ever ask for. That was a big part of our success. I think it's absolutely a big part of it. We've been able to get to all these races easier and once we are at the races we dial everything in based on conditions. Everything falls into place."

The 10-round series kicked off on the West coast in September at the Star Crossed event, with Switzerland's Christian Heule (Rendementhypo Cycling) winning the first round. Round two's Rad Racing saw Jonathan Page (Planet Bike) take his first win of the season and the series' early lead. An untimely crash in the opening event sidelined Johnson from competing and he earned no points.

"I definitely didn't think this was how it would turn out," said Johnson. "Anytime I start a season like this I just look forward to a couple of good rides. Crashing early threw my season into a confusing situation and I had to figure out how to recover from that. I though it would take me out of both series. Luckily the NACT has one more weekend and I could claw back some points."

The series moved to the eastern seaboard for rounds three and four at the Grand Prix of Gloucester that saw a showdown between Page and Johnson, who captured a win apiece. Page kept his overall lead before flying back to Belgium to start a European cyclo-cross campaign featuring UCI World Cups and Superprestige series events.

The NACT moved north to its debut double header in Toronto, Canada. Johnson moved closer to the series lead during rounds five and six at the GNC Toronto International Cyclo-Cross races. His teammate Jeremy Powers took the first win and Johnson won the second day however, points awarded were not enough to surpass Page in the standings.

Johnson leaped into the driver's seat of the NACT series after two consecutive wins in round seven at the Blue Sky Velo Cup and round eight at the Boulder Cup. He further increased his lead after winning the final two rounds at the Whitmore's Landscaping Super Cross Cup.

Elliott represents Canada in North American series

Canadian Natasha Elliott brought her NACT championship belt back to her hometown, the nation's capital of Ottawa. She accumulated a total of 276 points ahead of runner up Amy Dombroski (Primus Mootry) with 208 points and Sue Butler (Monavie-Cannondale) who finished with 145 points in third place.

If I go to Worlds then I'll come back first and train somewhere south in the USA," said Elliott at the Toronto International Cyclo-Cross races after she accumulating a sizable lead in the overall standings. "I'd like to win the NACT. I think the extra prize money would help my training preparations before for going over to Europe."

British National Cyclo-Cross Champion Helen Wyman (Kona-FSA) graced the United States of America with her presence for a short state-side campaign. She kicked off the NACT series with a win at the Star Crossed. Butler took an impressive win at round two's Rad Racing which saw former pro mountain bikers Alison Dunlap (Luna) and Alison Sydor (Maxxis-Rocky Mountain) crash simultaneously on the finishing straightaway.

Elliott moved into the series lead after her astounding double victories at the Grand Prix of Gloucester. Her winning streak continued at the GNC Toronto International Cyclo-Cross Races where she won another two events back-to-back. Her four straight wins shot her into the NACT lead, leaps and bounds ahead of the rest of the competitors.

Elliott skipped the Blue Sky Velo Cup and Boulder Cup to avoid lengthy travel. UCI World Cup leader Katie Compton (Planet Bike) won both races and moved into fourth place in the overall standings before returning back to the UCI World Cup schedule.

United States Under 23 Cyclo-cross national champion, Amy Dombroski (Primus-Mootry) won the final two rounds at the Whitmore's Landscaping Super Cross Cup. Last season's NACT winner Georgia Gould (Luna) and pro mountain biker Kelli Emmett performed well. Elliott finished the final two rounds with a sixth place earning enough points to solidify her overall win.

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