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Editor’s Note: VeloNews.com is hosting live streaming video of the U.S. Gran Prix pro women’s and pro men’s races in Ft. Collins, Colorado, on Saturday and Sunday, thanks to a special partnership with CyclingDirt.org.
It’s all about Colorado this week on the national cyclocross calendar as the top names in the sport descend on Fort Collins for the third stop on the U.S. Gran Prix circuit. Snow and mud greet the riders, which many will welcome after an unusually warm and dry fall for most of the country. Katie Compton (Planet Bike) and Ryan Trebon (Kona-FSA) are on the mend after the recent Boulder NACT weekend and both should take the line Saturday on a course that suits them well.
U.S. Gran Prix of Cyclocross round 5 & 6 – Fort Collins, Colorado Springs
New Belgium Cup
November 13-14 1:45 p.m. (women) / 3:00 p.m. (men)
It’s all hands on deck for the inaugural New Belgium Cup in Fort Collins this weekend. The two C2 events are the only UCI bills in the country and will attract most of the nation’s top dogs, including series leaders Tim Johnson (Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com) and Georgia Gould (Luna). Tune into VeloNews.com for live video of both races each day.
Fort Collins replaces New Jersey’s Mercer Cup as the third stop of the series and the new site appears to be a brute. With more than 150 feet of elevation gain per lap, the course, which is set on large open space south of the city, should prove to separate the fields quickly. The year’s first heavy snowfall hit Fort Collins Wednesday night and the conditions this weekend should be messy.
Johnson and teammate Jeremy Powers have swapped the series lead at every stop thus far and both will be in Fort Collins. Trebon came off his groin injury last weekend and found the podium at the Griffith Park UCI races, but Todd Wells (Specialized) has been surging since returning from a break in early October and may prove the biggest threat to Johnson and Powers. Both riders climb well and the Fort Collins course should suit them perfectly. We may very well see the first USGP defeat handed to the Cyclocrossworld.com team on the steep, cold and muddy track in Fort Collins.
In the women’s race, Katie Compton appears to be recovering well from her own injuries in Boulder, where she crashed hard at full speed during her win in the Colorado Cross Classic. As usual, Compton is the favorite coming into the weekend, but we will get our first clear indication of how she has recovered from the inflamed knee and deep bruises she suffered two weeks ago – she abandoned the Boulder Cup when she went down for the second time in two days.
Locals Gould and Meredith Miller (Cal Giant-Specialized) will no doubt be heated up for a hometown result, but the latter will need to get past her day one, first lap jitters that have sent her out the back of the field each of the last four race weekends. Other women in contention should include Amy Domsbroski (Luna), and teammates Nicole Duke and Amanda Miller (Hudz-Subaru).
Between the weather, a somewhat fresh field coming away from a week off the bike and a ton of climbing each lap, the New Belgium courses should prove to be extremely selective. We’re a month out from nationals and the New Belgium Cup marks the beginning of the build for the nation’s top ’crossers.
Other events on the Calendar:
Chicago Cross Cup round 9 & 10 – Bloomingdale, Illinois
November 13-14: 10:45 a.m. (women) / 1:30 p.m. (men)
Hilton Indian Lakes Resort
Cross Crusade round 8 – Barton, Oregon
November 14 3 p.m. (men & women)
Ohio Valley Cyclocross round 11 – Columbus, Ohio
November 14: 2:45 p.m. (women) / 3:45 p.m. (men)
Cap City Cross at Infirmary Mound
Socal Prestige Series round 10 & 11 – Long Beach & Cambria, California
November 13: 2:15 p.m. (women) / 3:15 p.m. (men)
Long Beach Cyclocross Festival
November 14: 11:30 a.m. (women) / 2:00 p.m. (men)
Coast Union High School