Four more UCI Cross races in the US this weekend: the USGP of Cyclocross Derby City Cup presented by Papa John’s Pizza 1 & 2 in Louisville KY, and the Downeast Cyclocross Day 1 and Day 2 in New Gloucester ME.
It’s wide open in the Men’s Elite, U23 Men’s and Elite Women’s competition for the USGP title as the current leaders will not be present this weekend; Erwin Vervecken is back racing in Europe, Katie Compton (Planet Bike) is training at home and Chance Noble (CalGiant) is sick and skipping the races.
The boys in green & black, Jeremy Powers, Jamey Driscoll and USGP defending champion Tim Johnson of the Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com team, have been having a great season so far, sweeping the UCI3 races, the NACT Toronto races, winning at CrossVegas… can they keep the pace up? US Cross Champ Ryan Trebon (KONA) seems to be back on form after fighting a head cold as he just won the two last races of the MAC series, is he? We’ll know the answers soon.
This weekend should be a fight between the Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com trio and the KONA duo to the forefront as Powers is sitting in second place overall with just three points on Trebon. The strong men’s field also includes Trebon’s teammate Barry Wicks who has podiumed many times but is still looking to be on the top step, Jesse Anthony (Jamis), Troy Wells (Clif Bar), Andy Jacques-Maynes (BISSELL), Davide Frattini (Fuji), Joachim Parbo (CCV Leopard) and newly crowned Canadian National Champion Geoff Kabush (Rocky Mountain-Maxxis).
In previous races, the battle behind Compton has been fierce, and with the US Champ sitting this one out, it just became hotter as the Luna Chix Georgia Gould and USGP defending champion Katerina Nash have their eye set on the top of the standings. But they’ll have to fight off Canadian National Champion Alyson Sydor (Rocky Mountain-Maxxis), Amy Dombrowski (RGM-Richard Sachs), Sue Butler (Monavie-Cannondale), Laura Van Guilder and her C3 Athletes Serving Athletes teammate DeeDee Winfield, Kelli Emmet and Meredith Miller (CalGiant).
In the Men’s U23 race, Joseph Schmalz (KCCX/Verge) will be taking on David Hackworthy (Ridley Factory Team) as they are tied on second place behind leader Noble. (see list of registered riders at bikereg.com)
The race is held in Champions’ Park (formerly River Road Country Club) which is a former private course that the city of Louisville took over several years ago with plans to incorporate it into the city’s waterfront development for sports facilities.” The local cycling clubs have been using the old golf course for four years now and the park has hosted the state CX championships the past three years.
The approximately 3.5 km course, by USGP Executive Director Bruce Fina, is described as “very smooth and fast” in the race bible. It utilizes the old fairways with liberal use of the old sand traps and rough areas and features fast straights, twisty turns, sand, several run-ups, a ﬂyover and a ﬂat, fast ﬁnish. “Depending on the weather the course can be fast when it’s dry, but the deep sand in the traps serves to quickly regulate your speed down several notches or if wet they can prove to almost halt the acceleration process as it becomes deep, wet sand.”
So what will the weather be? The predictions call for early rain on Friday morning and cloudy to mostly sunny on Saturday and Sunday, with highs in low 50s to low 60s.
The racing starts on Saturday with the Cat 4 Men at 8:30, the Elite Women go off at 1:45 and the U23/Elite Men at 3:00pm. See full schedule here.
The Verge NECCS Cross-toberfest concludes this weekend with the return of the Downeast Cyclocross Weekend. For two days, the idyllic rolling hills of New Gloucester will be disturbed by a hard-charging pack of elite New England talent.
Last a part of the series in 2006, the courses have been completely redesigned but the venue has stayed the same. Pineland Farm boasts over 5000 acres of mixed-use land with a working farm, Nordic ski trails and a diverse array of businesses. Race organizers Lee Strout and John Grenier have brought all the facets of the farmland into play with a melange of off-cambers, challenging descents, fast stretches on Nordic ski trails and even a pass through a barn (the barn, Strout hastened to add, doesn’t actually have any animals living in it).
With the USGP in Kentucky this weekend, many of the national figures have headed south leaving all the leaders’ jerseys up for grabs. In the women’s field, Amanda Carey (Kenda/trainwitheric.com) is looking to continue her consistent finishes while Minuteman Road Club rider Andrea Smith is looking to take another step after her second place finish last weekend at Granogue. Not to be forgotten, Mary McConneloug (Kenda/Seven/NoTubes) is continuing her return to local racing and is a definite favorite to take victory.
The men’s field should see some of the best competition of the season with a who’s who of younger elites taking aim at the podium including no less than three Keoughs (the youngest of whom, Luke, is the current U23 leader) and two Goguens (Manny currently sits third in the U23 field). Jerome Townsend (bikereg.com/Joe’s Garage/IF) comes in fifth overall in the series and second in the U23 and will definitely be looking to make up some ground.
Racing starts at 9:30 Saturday morning with the Category 4 men and continues through Sunday at 3pm when the Elite men go off for the second time. Registration can be found online at bikereg.com.
Stay tuned for live updates from Louisville.