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By Patrick O’Grady
Cyclo-cross ordinarily isn’t in the headlines during May – but USA Cycling has just submitted 18 ’cross races, twice as many as last season, to the UCI for its 2002 International Cyclo-cross Calendar.
Top-shelf racing will be on tap from coast to coast this year, with the inaugural Redline Cup series in Washington state, Salt Lake City and Napa, California; the Monkey Hill Cyclo-cross in Wilmington, Delaware; and other races in New Hampshire, Oregon, Maine, Colorado, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Ohio.
“The growth of the schedule is testament to the cooperation of promoters across the country,” said USA Cycling’s national events director, Eric Moore. “They essentially had the calendar put together, and all I had to do was submit it to the UCI.”
The pinnacle of the domestic season will be the U.S. Cyclo-cross National Championships, scheduled December 13-14 at the Domaine Chandon winery in Napa, the week after the Redline series finale there. GaleForce Sports Marketing, which promoted the 1999 nationals at the Presidio in San Francisco, is at the helm once more, and operations director Mitch Wippern concedes that his company has “a tall order to fill to go one step further.”
“We’re looking to create a more traditional-feeling course than the Presidio; wider, more fire road and paved sections, a steep paved climb and a gnarly dirt descent,” Wippern said. He also hopes for some grassy sections, and is considering a mountain-bike-style flyover “to make sure that we’re not too straight-laced in our approach.”
One item missing from this fall’s lineup is Lyle Fulkerson’s SuperCup series. Beset with sponsorship woes in its past couple incarnations, which have seen the SuperCup dwindle from a national series to a largely Eastern trio of events, its dates and venues have yet to be announced for this year.
“I keep hearing word about two or three races,” said Moore. As for Fulkerson, his reply to a recently e-mailed query about this year’s schedule was simply: “Nothing new to report.”