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By Press Release
Crank Brothers cyclocross series takes on European flairBOSTON – Reigning Italian national champion Daniele Pontoni is planningto race all six events in the inaugural Crank Brothers U.S. Gran Prix ofCyclocross, bringing all the luster of a former two-time world championto the series, which kicks off on Saturday Oct. 9th with the CannondaleStumptown Cyclocross Classic, in Portland, Oregon.Pontoni, who finished fourth in the World Championship last February,is no stranger to either the American cyclocross scene or the North Americanfavorites. He raced here in Supercup events in 1999 and 2000, and thosewho competed against him know what kind of impact the Italian is likelyto have in 2004.“If Pontoni competes in the whole series, he’ll be the man to beat fromwhat I’ve seen of him,” said Clif Bar-Colvita Olive Oil rider Mark McCormack,himself a former national champion. “He was untouchable last time.”“I think it will be good for the series,” said another former U.S. nationalchampion, Todd Wells, who is riding for GT-Hyundai this year. “The more‘fast guys’ in the race, the less tactical it will be. That means the strongestriders will win, and that will make for more exciting races.”Neither McCormack nor Wells appear intimidated by Pontoni’s presencein the races. They still expect fierce competition from each other andan exceptional list of favorites, which include Marc Gullickson (Redline),Team Kona’s Dale Knapp and Eric Tonkin, Ryan Trebon and the Team Maxxis-Gianttrio of Geoff Kabush, Adam Craig and Jonny Sundt.“All the top guys will be racing the Gran Prix events,” Kabush saidfrom his home in Victoria, British Columbia. “With Pontoni coming over,it’ll be exciting. Still, with six races, someone will beat him – you can’thelp but have a bad day.”Kabush’s Maxxis-Giant team has already been identified as perhaps theforce to be reckoned with in the series. Kabush and Craig – a six timenational cyclocross champion in his own right – have posted sterling seasonson the mountain bike circuit and come into the cross season with greatlegs. Sundt, meanwhile, has already won several early season events thisyear and is clearly hungry for more.“The team is super solid and I’m very excited about the U.S Gran Prixof Cyclocross,” said team manager Eric Wallace, ticking off his team’ssuccesses.Wallace credits the new series and its title sponsor Crank Brotherswith bringing all the top North American riders – and now Pontoni – togetherto compete head to head. “We all remember the days of the Super Cup andthe caliber of athletes that followed that series,” Wallace notes. “TheU.S Gran Prix of Cyclocross will certainly take over the footsteps vacatedby Super Cup and reestablish a single series that holds cache value andprestige.”In addition to Crank Brothers, other sponsors of the U.S Gran Prix ofCyclocross include presenting sponsor VeloNews, Selle Italia, Mavic, ClifBar, Adidas, and BikeReg.com.
The Crank Brothers U.S. Gran Prix of Cyclocross Series schedulefor 2004 is as follows:
Race 1: October 9 – Cannondale Stumptown Cyclocross Classic, Portland,OR.
Race 2: October 10 – Clif Bar Grand Prix, Ft. Steilacoom Park, Tacoma,WA.
Race 3: October 30- Michelob Ultra Gran Prix of Gloucester #1, StageFort Park, Gloucester, MA.
Race 4: October 31- Michelob Ultra Gran Prix of Gloucester #2, StageFort Park, Gloucester, MA.
Race 5: November 20- Beacon CX, Bridgeton, NJ.
Race 6: November 21- Highland Park Cyclocross, Donaldson Park, HighlandPark, NJ.
All six races will be held under UCI category and competition regulations.U.S. Gran Prix of Cyclocross Series leaders will be recognized at the conclusionof each event. Overall winners in the Elite Men, Elite Women, U-23, andJunior Men categories will receive automatic selection to the World CyclocrossChampionships in St. Wendel, Germany in February, 2005. Master 35+ Menwill also be ranked. Races in Massachusetts and New Jersey are part ofthe Verge NECCS and Verge MACCS.For complete U.S. Gran Prix of Cyclocross details, go to www.usgpcyclocross.com.
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