On tap: USGP Mercer Cup

Posted on 13. Nov, 2009 by in race

With only one month to go before the US Cross National Championships, the rivalries are heating up and the battles for the overall in the USGP series could not be tighter. Jamey Driscoll (Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com) and Ryan Trebon (KONA) are tied on points going into the third of four weekends in New Jersey for the U.S Gran Prix of Cyclocross Mercer Cup Races. The New Jersey races will also bring a convergence of the New England racers and the USGP racers, the first time for some to compete against each other as they prepare for Nationals. And to make it even better, there should be mud for Saturday’s race as tropical storm Ida unleashed wind and rain in New Jersey. Sunday’s weather forecast calls for sun.

Racing begins on Saturday and Sunday at 8:00 am with the amateur categories and builds throughout the day until the Pro Women take to the course at 1:45pm. The Pro Men’s race begins at 3:00pm. I will be twittering live updates of the Elite Women’s and Men’s race, follow @podiuminsight.

Driscoll will have one teammate Johnson to count on

Driscoll will have one teammate Johnson to count on

Two against two. With his  teammate Jeremy Powers sitting out the weekend due to a cold, Driscoll will have only one teammate to help him out, defending USGP champion and former US Cross Champion Tim Johnson. On the other side, current US Cross Champion Trebon will have Barry Wicks in his corner.

The last time that these four competed against each other at a race, Trebon bested Driscoll & Johnson to take the win on the first day in Louisville and Johnson soloed to victory on Sunday and Trebon crashed out. Since then, Driscoll has continued to podium and took the win on last Sunday’s Cycle-Smart International II after getting a fast start which it not something he is know for, definitely  a confidence builder.  Johnson swept both NACT races in Colorado, where in both victories, he escaped the field early on to solo to the line.  After his crash in Louisville, Trebon sat out the following two weekends of UCI races but did come back to racing with a win at CrossCrusade on November 8th and Wicks quietly won two CrossCrusade races the previous weekend.

Trebon and Wicks get to the barriers first

Trebon and Wicks get to the barriers first

Last year, Johnson triumphed in the mud on Saturday in New Jersey while Trebon swept in 2007.   The slight advantage is with the boys in green who have been on a roll lately, but Trebon is coming out swinging.

Riders hoping to take advantage of the rivalry are Canadian Champion Geoff Kabush (Rocky Mountain-Maxxis) who sits in third place overall, Chris Jones (Champion Systems) who has come close to a podium in previous races,  U23 US Cross Champ Nick Weighall (CalGiant-Specialized) and Todd Wells (specialized) and his younger brother Troy (Clif Bar) who went 1-2 in the Sunday race last year. With no UCI points, Adam Craig (Giant MTB Team) has been starting in the last row for the past two weekends, and has managed to crack the top 10 even after being caught behind major crashes at the start. Well, the UCI standings have been updated, and the mountain biker will be starting closer to the front, what can he do? It will also be interesting to see what Dan Timmerman (Richard Sachs-GM) will do as he has been  strong in the New England UCI races so far this year.

In the Elite U23 Men’s race, Dave Hackworthy has a 56 point lead on Joseph Schmaltz, and 58 points on Chance Noble. Noble was leading the series after the first weekend but missed the second due to illness.

Katerina Nash has a solid lead

Katerina Nash has a solid lead

In the Elite Women’s race, Katerina Nash dominated the last two races and has a solid lead on her Luna Chix teammate Georgia Gould. Hoping to make it on the podium are  Alison Dunap the third Luna Chix,  Canadian Champ Alison Sydor (Rocky Mountain-Maxxis), Meredith Miller (CalGiant-Specialized), Sue Butler (Monavie-Cannondale), Amy Dombroski, Natasha Elliott (Garneau-Club Chaussure) and C3/Athletes teammates Laura Van Gilder and DeeDee Winfield.   Also present for her first USGP weekend is Maureen Bruno-Roy (MM Racing/Seven) who is leading the USAC Cross standings and the MAC and NECCS series.

Another tight race is the Elite Men Jr 17-18 category where Cody Kaiser (CalGiant-Specialized) has a lead of 20 points on Yannick Eckmann (Clif Bar). This weekend is also the first time that  NECCS leader Jesse Keough (Champion) will  show up to race at a USGP event.

See list of pre-registered riders at BikeReg.com

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