New to the US Gran Prix of Cyclocross in 2009, the Planet Bike Cup kicks off the Series today and tomorrow at one of the most popular venues of the Wisconsin Cycling Association Series: Angell Park Speedway in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin. Cyclocross races have been held at Angell Park Speedway since 2003 and this year’s course is challenging and features terrain change, off-camber technical riding, a lot of u-turns and some short sharp climbs.
Racing for the Belgian squad Team Revor-Baboco-Champion System, three-time World Champion Erwin Vervecken headlines the strongest field of racers ever assembled for the USGP. He will face off against the likes of Planet Bike super power and World Championship Silver Medalist Jonathan Page; Swiss Champion Christian Heule (Rendementhypo) and his teammate Tim Van Nuffel. A field rich with domestic riders including Cannondale/CyclocrossWorld.com teammates Jeremy Powers and Jamey Driscoll who just won CrossVegas. Winner of last year’s USGP series Tim Johnson crashed in last weekend’s race in Portland and hurt his shoulder. He didn’t start last Sunday and did not finish the race in Vegas and while listed on the start list, might not be lining up today. Also present is current US National Cross Champion KONA’s Ryan Trebon and his teammate Barry Wicks, Troy Wells (Clif Bar), Andy Jacques-Maynes (BISSELL) and Canadian Champ Geoff Kabush (Maxxis).
The women’s fields for the Planet Bike Cup are no less stacked with talent. Planet Bike’s Katie Compton – herself five-time National Champion and World Championship Bronze medalist -will make one of her few US appearances before heading off to Europe to focus on the World Cup circuit. Compton will face off against the LUNA Chix juggernaut of USGP Champions Katerina Nash and Georgia Gould – alongside their newly un-retired LUNA teammate Alison Dunlap, and the likes of Alison Sydor (Maxxis-Rocky Mountain), Amy Dombroski and Sue Butler. (Monavie/Cannondale.com)
Two unknowns for this weekend are the impact of Interbike and CrossVegas on the competitors and the weather.
“I think it’s more how everyone else recovered from the whole week. I didn’t go to Vegas, everybody has been flying, racing in Vegas, partying in Vegas, so I think they all have a lot to recover from while I had a nice quiet week. ” said Jacques-Maynes who is started his cross season after returning to full-time pro racing on the road this year. “I had fun there last year but it also knocked me back a couple of steps. I still have Tour of Missouri in my legs and I’m trying to keep that rolling.”
As for the weather, it rained a bit overnight, and the forecast for today calls for highs of 69 and chances of rain at 30% with a few showers developing during the afternoon.
“If it’s slippery, I’ll just adjust my tire pressure, I brought some good tires with me.” said Jacques-Maynes about the possibility of rain.
The racing begins at 8am for amateur categories. Pro Women race at 1:45pm and the Pro Men go at 3pm.