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Cyclocross

Rain on tap as top riders eye the USGP series leader’s jersey this weekend at the Mercer Cup.

[nid:85117]It was already raining Friday at West Windsor, New Jersey's Mercer County Park as top riders checked out the course prior to the middle weekend of the three-city 2008 Crankbrothers US Grand Prix of Cyclocross series: the Mercer Cup presented by Knapp's Cyclery. "It's muddy, the sand is like oatmeal," Jeremy Powers (Cyclocrossworld.com-Cannondale) told VeloNews Friday.

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By Steve Frothingham

USGP Mercer Cup 2007: Trebon leads Powers through the mud last year.

USGP Mercer Cup 2007: Trebon leads Powers through the mud last year.

Photo: Ben Ross

USGP Mercer Cup 2007: Gould won both days in New Jersey last year.

USGP Mercer Cup 2007: Gould won both days in New Jersey last year.

Photo: Ben Ross

It was already raining Friday at West Windsor, New Jersey’s Mercer County Park as top riders checked out the course prior to the middle weekend of the three-city 2008 Crankbrothers US Grand Prix of Cyclocross series: the Mercer Cup presented by Knapp’s Cyclery.

“It’s muddy, the sand is like oatmeal,” Jeremy Powers (Cyclocrossworld.com-Cannondale) told VeloNews Friday.

Showers, including possible heavy rain and thunderstorms, are expected to continue through Saturday and Saturday night, according to the National Weather Service. Sunday’s forecast is for dry and cooler weather.

Powers’ teammate Tim Johnson predicted “this weekend will determine a lot in the USGP series.”

Jesse Anthony (Jamis) leads the men’s series after earning two second places at the first weekend in Louisville, Kentucky.

Ryan Trebon (Kona) and Johnson are each relying on a series rule that throws out a rider’s worst result in determining the final standings. In Kentucky, Johnson won Sunday but was sixth on Saturday. Trebon won Saturday but DNF’d Sunday.


Elite men’s USGP standings
Rider, Team, Points

1. Jesse Anthony Team Jamis 80
2. Timothy Johnson Cannondale/Cyclocrossworld.com 73
3. Jeremy Powers Cannondale/Cyclocorossworld.com 68
4. Todd Wells GT 56
5. Ryan Trebon Kona 50
6. Troy Wells Team Clifbar 44
7. James Driscoll Cannondale/Cyclocrossworld.com 43
8. Matt Shriver Jittery Joe’s 43
9. Barry Wicks Kona 34
10. Andy Jacques-Maynes California Giant Strawberries 29

Women’s series standings
1. Katerina Nash Luna 90
2. Georgia Gould Luna 84
3. Rachel Lloyd California Giant Strawberries 74
4. Susan Butler Monavie/Cannondale 60
5. Laura Van Gilder Cheerwine 52
6. Natasha Elliott Emd/Sorono/Stevens 40
7. Deirdre Winfield Velo Bella Kona 40
8. Maureen Bruno Roy MM Racing/Seven 40
9. Devon Haskell The Pony Shop 28
10. Rebecca Wellons NEBC/Cycleloft/Devonshire 21

“I think it’s still very feasible (to win the series),” Trebon said on Friday. Trebon said muddy conditions could make it more of a power race and less of a tactical battle between the Cyclocrossworld.com-Cannondale team and he and his Kona teammate Barry Wicks.

“(Mud) makes it a little easier. It will be more just racing. And the course is relatively difficult,” he said. Trebon won both races at the USGP weekend in New Jersey last year.

Intra-team battle in the women’s field

In the women’s race, Luna teammates Katarina Nash and Georgia Gould will likely find themselves in familiar territory, racing each other for wins and the series lead.

“We are kind of used to it, we battle all year with the NORBA,” said Nash, who leads Gould in the series following the Kentucky weekend. Since that weekend, Nash has been to Europe, where she placed third in the European Championships and the Pijnacker World Cup. Nash, who is from the Czech Republic, returned to the U.S. on Tuesday.

“It’s been a pretty good ‘cross season. It’s good to go to Europe and see that Katie (Compton) came in second at the World Cup and I was third. It shows that we have very strong fields here,” she said.

Gould said she was looking forward to racing in the sloppy conditions. “That’s what makes ‘cross fun and exciting. It’s been to hot and dry and Colorado,” she said.

At the Mercer Cup, the Luna duo also will have to deal with Kona’s Wendy Simms, who also has been racing in Europe, coming in 14th at Pijnacker. Rachel Lloyd (California Giant Strawberries), who finished second to Gould both days at the Boulder Cup weekend, also is expected to challenge in New Jersey.

Junior action

The Mercer Cup kicks off the CyclocrossWorld.com Junior Race Series, which comprises qualifying races for the U23 and Junior world championships, the only UCI-sanctioned junior races in the U.S. The Mercer Cup weekend and the series finals in Portland, Oregon, are the four events in the junior series.

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