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News Briefs: ‘cross moves back to mid-Atlantic region; Armstrong signs PowerBar deal and more

The U.S. chase for UCI cyclo-cross points returns to the mid-Atlantic region this weekend with Saturday’s Chameleon Cyclo-Cross Championship in Landisville, Pennsylvania. UCI points serve as the primary criteria for U.S. team selection to next February’s world cyclo-cross championships in Zolder, Belgium. Confirmed starters in the Men’s Elite field include reigning national champion Tim Johnson (Saturn), Jonathan Sundt (K2 Bike) and Adam Hodges Myerson (Bikereg.com). Other top riders expected to come in search of points include SuperCup National Series Champion - Marc Gullickson

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By VeloNews Interactive

The U.S. chase for UCI cyclo-cross points returns to the mid-Atlantic region this weekend with Saturday’s Chameleon Cyclo-Cross Championship in Landisville, Pennsylvania. UCI points serve as the primary criteria for U.S. team selection to next February’s world cyclo-cross championships in Zolder, Belgium.

Confirmed starters in the Men’s Elite field include reigning national champion Tim Johnson (Saturn), Jonathan Sundt (K2 Bike) and Adam Hodges Myerson (Bikereg.com). Other top riders expected to come in search of points include SuperCup National Series Champion – Marc Gullickson (Mongoose), Alex Candelario (Big Shark/Cannondale) and Todd Wells (Mongoose).

The Elite Women’s field will include the as-of-yet undefeated Lyne Bessette (Saturn). The 2001 season is Bessette’s first foray into cyclo-cross but that has made little difference to the Canadian road racer. Anne Grande (Kona/Voicestream), Carmen D’Aluisio (Clif Bar) and Jen Dial (Independent Fabrications) are just a few of the top women hoping to break her streak.

Saturday’s race is scheduled to be held on the grounds of Landisville’s Hempfield High School and proceeds will benefit Hempfield’s basketball program. The Elite Women’s race starts at noon and the Elite Men start at 1pm. Armstrong inks PowerBar dealPowerBar Inc. announced Thursday that the firm has signed a new endorsement contract with Lance Armstrong, “formalizing a relationship that has existed between the energy bar leader and cycling hero for several years.”

The three-year agreement becomes effective December 1, 2001, and will encompass worldwide exclusive category rights for PowerBar’s line of energy bars and gels throughout the 2002, 2003 and 2004 calendar years.

The terms of the contract allow PowerBar access to worldwide rights forArmstrong’s name, likeness, signature, voice and image. The company plans to capitalize on this arrangement immediately; in a photo shoot scheduled for next month, PowerBar will capture images of Armstrong for use in its “Be Great” national print advertising campaign, which already includes athletes like Brandi Chastain, Michael Johnson and Jonny Moseley.

“Lance Armstrong embodies the internal drive and passion needed to strive for a maximum level of performance every day, through all of life’s challenges,” said Cindy Vallar, PowerBar General Manager. “We’re proud to know that our products have helped to fuel Lance through his numerous cycling accomplishments over the years, and are thrilled to make the relationship official between our brand and one of the most respected names in sports.”

Top teams eye Tour Down Under

It used to be that January was down time for top road racers, but at least eight of the world’s top teams will be spending mid-January fighting out the 2002 Tour Down Under.

Thus far the teams confirmed for the 2002 event are Deutsche Telekom, Mapei, Lotto-Adecco, DOMO-Farm Frites, CSC-Tiscali, Saeco, AG2R and Credit Agricole, which boasts hometown hero Stuart O’Grady, attempting to win his third Tour Down Under. Riders so far confirmed include four reigning national champions.

Belgian road champion Ludovic Capelle will race with AG2R while CSC Tiscali has listed Danish champion Jakob Piil. Italian road champion Daniele Nardello will bolster Mapeis chances and DOMO Farm Frites, racing in the event for the first time, will include US champion Fred Rodriguez.

Race Director Mike Turtur said DOMO Farm Frites were set to be one of the strongest teams as they have also confirmed they are sending Dutchman Servais Knaven, winner of the 2001 Paris-Roubaix Classic.

“There has again been a big battle between teams to gain an invitation because its the perfect way to kick off the season,” defending champion O’Grady said.

O’Gradys 2001 victory came when he snatched the yellow jersey from German Telekom rider Kai Hundertmark in a nail biting finish.

The cyclists will race 733km over six days, from January 15 to the 20th.