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With March not far off, the first race of a new national mountain bike series is attracting top racers, according to event organizers.
Expected at the first US Cup Triple Crown All Mountain Series race in Southern California’s Bonelli Park on March 13-14 is Cannondale Factory Racing’s Jeremiah Bishop and Tinker Juarez; 2009 mountain bike world championship silver medalist Lene Byberg of the Specialized Factory team and her teammate Todd Wells, said Ty Kady, US Cup marketing director.
The president of US Cup is Scott Tedro, the man behind Team Sho-Air/Specialized. That team will be sending five-time Australian champion Sid Taberlay, along with Max Plaxton and Tad Elliot. Taberlay won the men’s race at Bonelli Park in 2009.
Kady said he expects some of the Kenda/Felt team, as well as racers from the Subaru-Gary Fisher squad. He said it is possible Geoff Kabush and his Rocky Mountain/Maxxis team will race.
“We look forward to having the team and riders participate in the H2O Overdrive Triple Crown events,” said Jon Rourke, the Subaru-Gary Fisher team manager, in a US Cup release. “The overall concept of the Triple Crown should prove to be interesting both from racing dynamics and strategy perspective.”
The second round of the Triple Crown is the Chalk Creek Stampede May 15-16, which is part of the Mountain States Cup series. The third and final stop is at Massanutten Resort in Virginia June. 19-20.
The Triple Crown series will include cross-country, Super D and short track. A rider’s best two of three events will be calculated to crown a winner at each race and ultimately the overall series champion. For more on series structure and guidelines go here.
Tedro’s main goal, however, is a deeper payout — 10 deep in each discipline — versus international points geared for racers focusing on the World Cup and Olympics. Tedro’s US Cup split with USA Cycling late last year mainly because of issues around UCI requirements.
“Industry feedback has been really positive on the new concept and the H2O Overdrive Triple Crown seems to be gaining momentum with the sponsors, teams and riders,” Kady said. “But let’s not forget about all the privateers, both regionally and nationally, that can come stake their claim. We could be paying as deep as 30 spots, and we have a top U23 and top Senior rider bonus too.”
In addition, the US Cup will continue with its network of Kenda Cup’s that act as local and regional qualifiers. The Kenda Cups feature 15 locations across the U.S., from Ashland Oregon to French Lick Indiana. The US Cup Invitational shootout will be on Sept. 11-12. The US Cup will also manage a “high-level” West Coast-based series that incorporates the Triple Crown opener, Pro XCT race and other California favorite venues.