One month into the cross season and the third weekend of both the Exergy US Gran Prix of Cyclocross (USGP) is upon us. Pretty much everyone is in Louisville to check out the course in preparation for 2013 World Championships. And it’s a fun long course, with a combination of technical and power sections.
On the men’s side, the fight for the top step has been a battle of two men, Ryan Trebon (LTS/Felt) and Jeremy Powers (Rapha-Focus). The rest have been, so far, a step behind and not truly able to battle it out day in and day out. Yet. The form is ramping up for many of the riders, and the presence of Todd Wells (Specialized), Geoff Kabush (Maxxis-Rocky Mountain) at his weekend’s races should up the tempo.
Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com has had a slow, disappointing, start to the season with Christian Heule injured and Tim Johnson taking longer to find his form. Jamey Driscoll showed his diesel engine a few times but has not been consistent yet.
After taking multiple wins on the East Coast UCI races, Justin Lindine (BikeReg.com / Joe’s Garage) will be racing in Louisville. How will he stack up against the rest of the field?
Also interesting has been the presence of some of the young up and comers in the top 10, riders such as Mitch Hoke (Clif Bar), Allen Krughoff (Boulder Cycle Sport), Sean Babcock (Kona) and the U23s, Yannick Eckmann (Pearl Izumi), Cody Kaiser (CalGiant) and Zach McDonald (Rapha-Focus).
On the women’s side, both Katerina Nash (Luna) and Katie Compton (Rabobank Giant) have dominated the races they started but finally this weekend, we’ll have a face to face on American soil. Nash has a strong lead in the USGP series on her teammate and you can bet that Nash and Compton will take each other on. As usual, where either of those two show up at races, the battle is behind for the rest of the podium. French National Champion Caroline Mani has been part of most of those and with Louisville her final weekend in the USA, she will be not only gunning for that holeshot but for the podium. Meredith Miller (CalGiant), Sue Butler (River City Bicycles) are also riding strong.
One name missing is of course USGP defending champion Georgia Gould (Luna) who had difficulty and finished a disappointing – for her – sixth at the Cincy3 races. But Gould, in a moment of brilliance, embraced it and launched her #heckleme twitter campaign. That’s why we love Georgia!
Of note, is U23 Kaitie Antonneau (Cannondale-cyclocrossworld.com) who has been having a great season, making it often into the top 5.
All and all, the racing in Louisville should be exciting. Follow along on @podium_live for live updates.