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By Patrick O’Grady
Left out of the SuperCup cyclo-cross series for the past two years, the West Coast is striking out on its own for 2002 with the three-race Redline Cup of Cyclo-cross series, according to Redline’s Tim Rutledge.
The inaugural series of UCI-approved Category 3 races begins October 20 in Tacoma, Washington, the day after a UCI Cat. 3 event scheduled in Portland, Oregon. It continues November 23 in Salt Lake City, Utah, and concludes December 8 in Napa, California, where Rick Sutton and GaleForce Sports Marketing — who promoted the 1999 U.S. national championships at the Presidio in San Francisco — reportedly intend to run this year’s nationals December 13-14 at Domaine Chandon, the 29-year-old winery that once hosted the Napa UCI World Cup mountain-bike race.
Redline, based in Kent, Washington, has supported some top-flight ’crossers in the past, including Dale Knapp, Ann Grande and Katie Blincoe, but this is its first foray into serious event sponsorship, according to Rutledge. “With the current situation in the sport, we weighed the option of pleasing a team of five compared to pleasing hundreds of West Coast racers who have been without a major series for the past two years,” he said.
If all goes well, Rutledge continued, he’d like to expand the series to five events for 2003, adding venues in Portland and Colorado. This year, with a tight budget, he decided it was better “to walk before you run.”
Jim Brown of Rad Racing will handle the Tacoma event, while Utah ’crosser Thomas Cooke tackles Salt Lake and Napa Valley Velo’s Dave Carr ramrods the wine-country ’cross, which is likely to be held on a course similar to the one planned for nationals. Rutledge said he will have final approval for safety and compliance with UCI standards.
The Redline series will be good news for Western ’cross fiends — last year’s SuperCup series, run by Lyle Fulkerson of the Kiron Group, was limited to three events in Boston, Chicago and Baltimore, and in 2000 it ventured no further west than Boulder, Colorado.