With a combination of toughness and wits, Raleigh-Clement’s team leader Ben Berden won his first race of the year this weekend at the hugely popular Providence Cyclocross Festival in Rhode Island. Berden earned second place on day one of the weekend, behind the unstoppable Jeremy Powers. But on day two, Powers called in sick and Berden marked a surging Tim Johnson throughout the race, setting up a two-man sprint which favored Ben's explosive kick.
At 38, Berden is one of the most experienced riders in the field. While his victories at major European cyclocross races in the 1990s were big milestones, his move to U.S. cyclocross racing in 2011 has been most exciting and rewarding. Since then, he's found a home at Raleigh-Clement and consistently lands on the podium among the top North American racers. His win caps off an opening month of cyclocross racing in which the Raleigh-Clement Cyclocross Team has enjoyed remarkable success and momentum.
But victory at Providence did not come easily. Berden has a herniated disc in his spine, requiring him to rest just two weeks prior to the start of the cross season. But with his team behind him, Berden kept going. He had excruciating pains in his back prior to Starcrossed, the first race of the year, but Berden said, “I told myself: suck it up. You know what to do. And my old body still had it!” He ended up in third place and remained in the top-five in the majority of the next races prior to the Providence victory.
The rest of the team had a strong race, as well. Craig Etheridge had another impressive win in the singlespeed category. Jamey Driscoll finished in ninth and Allen Krughoff in 14th, while Caroline Mani was in 13th for the women on day one. In day two, Driscoll had an eighth place result and Krughoff was in 15th, while Mani finished 14th. Colorado’s Boulder Cup weekend is the next stop for the Raleigh-Clement team. Good luck!