Some serious hot racing in some cold conditions for the third weekend of the Greenware US Gran Prix of Cyclocross in Fort Collins CO this weekend. For the first time, the series heads to Colorado for some altitude racing at The New Belgium Cup, and for finally mud and snow, conditions that most have not seen this season. (See video of the Friday pre-ride)
The course offers up some interesting challenges with off-camber sections, three climbs and descents, a fly-over and barriers and all could get quite slippery if the weather predictions hold. Saturday’s forecast calls for variable clouds with snow showers with a high of 36F while Sunday should be sunny with a high around 41F.
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So far only two Elite Men have worn the leader’s jersey, Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld.com teammates Jeremy Powers and Tim Johnson who are tied on points with Powers taking over the jersey after his win on Sunday at USGP Derby City Cup. The pair are also the only ones to have won a USGP race this year. Will that change this weekend?
After a weekend off of racing, both are coming fresh, along with third teammate Jamey Driscoll. They’ll be facing some competition from Todd Wells (Specialized) who sits in 3rd on the series,Tristan Schouten (cyclocrossracing.com/Blue/Rolf) in 4th and defending USGP champion Ryan Trebon (Kona) in 5th. One rider that everyone will be watching is Adam Craig (Giant) who just swept the LA DAM Cross weekend and looks to ne carrying some good form. (See complete Elite Men Standings)
The race in the U23 men is also tight with Luke Keough (Champion System p/b Keough cyclocross) in the lead with 34 points on Jeremy Ferguson and 44 points on Cody Kaiser, both of California Giant/Specialized. Joseph Schmalz (KCCX Verge p/b Challenge Tires) is in 4th with David Hackworthy (CyclocrossRacing.com p/b Blue) in 5th. US U23 National Champion Danny Summerhill (Team Holowesko Partners) who swept the Louisville weekend will probably be sitting out the weekend after a shoulder injury during a training ride last weekend. With no UCI points to their name this season, both Kaiser and Schmalz will have their work cut out for them as they will be starting from the back of the field after picking nos 69 and 66 (respectively) in the random draw.
A who’s who of American cross racers is showing to battle in the Elite Women’s race with Katie Compton (Planet Bike/Stevens), Georgia Gould and Amy Dombroski (Luna), Meredith Miller (CalGiant), Laura Van Gilder (C3 Athletes Serving Athletes), Maureen Bruno Roy (Bob’s Red Mill), Kathy Sherwin and Amanda Miller (HUDZ Subaru). And after racing in Europe, Katerina Nash (Luna) will also be at the party. While registered Sue Butler (HUDZ Subaru) will probably not be starting due to illness.
Gould leads with series with 58 points on Miller and 80 points on Compton. However, Compton has not lost a USGP race this season but this is also the first time that last year’s overall winner Nash will be facing the two at a USGP this year. And if more reasons were needed to get excited about the race, Miller, Compton and Gould all live in Colorado. It should be a doozy. (See complete Elite Women Standings)
One rider has won all four of the USGP races this year, Yannick Eckmann (Hot Tubes Development Cycling) who has a commanding lead in the Men Jr 17/18 category. Luke Haley (Red Zone Cycling) sits in 2nd and Jeffrey Bahnson (Van Dessel Factory Team) in 3rd. After skipping the first weekend, mudder Bahnson gave Eckmann a run for his money in Louisville and should be even tougher this weekend with conditions suiting his skills. Local Skyler Trujillo will also be looking to climb on that podium and so will Andrew Dillman (Red Zone Cycling).
Of note, for this first time this year, the juniors raced will count for UCI points and therefore they riders will not be racing with other categories and they did in the previous races. (See complete Men Jr 17/18 standings)
The Men Junior 17/18 starts at 11:30am, the Elite Women at 1:45pm and the Elite/U23 Men at 3pm, all times MT.
Photo Gallery of Friday’s Pre-Ride Click for larger images