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U.S. Cycling This Week: ’Cross on the coasts

It's all about cyclocross this weekend, with UCI races in Gloucester, Massachusetts, and San Dimas, California.

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With Boston’s TD Bank Mayor’s Cup closing out the road season for just about everyone in the U.S. last weekend, we’re in to full-on cyclocross mode. The big draws this weekend are a pair of UCI C2 events on opposite ends of the country — and in extremely different climates — in the Gran Prix of Gloucester and the Krosstober-fest Weekend.

Great Brewers Gran Prix of Gloucester – Gloucester, Massachusetts
October 2-3
2:30 p.m. (women) / 3:30 p.m. (men)
*NACT and VERGE New England Championship series

The North American Cyclocross Trophy series hits its second stop of the year when the Great Brewers GP of Gloucester tops the U.S. calendar this weekend. Many of the top U.S. pros will line up seaside at Stage Fort Park for the ‘New England Worlds.’ The weekend forecast has rainy skies drying up for now, but if the maritime weather turns wet, as it did on day 1 in 2009, the park should offer brutal, muddy run-ups and slick sidehills.

Gloucester is one of the top events on the calendar for locals Tim Johnson and Jeremy Powers (Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com) and Jesse Anthony (Cal Giant-Specialized). Johnson and Powers were unmatchable at the Planet Bike Cup USGP last week, but Anthony has another week of post-road season recoup in his legs and should go better than he did in Madison, Wisconsin, or Las Vegas. Also on the startlist are Jamey Driscoll (Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com), Davide Frattini (Hudz-Subaru) and Ryan Trebon (Kona). Frattini rode well in Madison and Trebon has been a one-man Cannondale chase machine in the early rounds this season; he no doubt wants a result to match the strength he’s shown. Now that the top Europeans have returned home following a two-week U.S. commitment, a rider that may see himself even closer to the front than he has been is Italian Luca Damiani (Kenda-Geargrinder), who has looked strong in the early season.

2008 Gloucester winner Amy Dombroski appears to be the lone Luna Chix rider in the field. Without the three-headed monster that dominated CrossVegas, she’ll go womano-a-mano against Maureen Bruno-Roy (Bob’s Red Mille-Seven Cycles), Meredith Miller (Cal Giant-Specialized) and Kaitlin Antonneau (Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com). While Miller will look to Gloucester to erase a frustrating opening cross week, Laura Van Gilder (C3-Athletes Serving Athletes) has dominated the Mid-Atlantic scene up to this point and should make up for a quiet showing at CrossVegas.

The biggest story of last weekend was the latest in a series of run-ins between Johnson, Powers and Jonathan Page (Planet Bike). The latter closed his North American season at his sponsor’s home race last week and won’t be at Gloucester. It was day 2 at the Gran Prix last year where Johnson and Page tangled ahead of a sandpit and Page crashed as Johnson took the line.

Krosstober-fest Weekend – San Dimas, California
October 2-3
2:15 p.m. (women) / 3:15 p.m. (men)
*Southern California Prestige Series

UCI elite ’cross returns to the West Coast this weekend as the costumes and classic bikes come out of the closet for the Krosstober-fest Weekend at Bonelli Park North Shore in San Dimas. The two-day event will include men’s and women’s elite races along with a full run of amateur races and other ancillary events, including a classic bike show and freaky bike people parade.

Four-time Danish champion Joachim Parbo (Kch Leopard Cycles) continues his U.S. tour in Southern California and will face off against a motivated Chris Jones and Zach McDonald (Rapha-Focus), whose bike sponsor is the presenting sponsor of the weekend’s festivities. Molly Cameron (Cinelli USA), Chris Sheppard (Rocky Mountain) and Tyler Wren (Boo Cycles) should start as well. The ’cross set will look to outdo bunny-hopping mountain bike guns Sid Taberlay (Sho-Air) and Australian world champion Brent Prenzlow (Celo Pacific).

The women’s field looks to be short any of the top end riders, but should be a good South/North, young/old battle as youngsters Teal Stetson-Lee (Cal Giant-Specialized) and Kendall and Alexis Ryan (TEAM SoCalCross) hit out against veterans Sarah Kerlin (HRS/Rock Lobster) and Barbara Howe (Ibis Cycles). Also in the mix should be former collegiate champion Devon Haskell (Bike Station Aptos). Stetson-Lee had a great ride at the Planet Bike Cup USGP last weekend and may be on race-winning form in SoCal.

The Krosstober courses look to be fast, grass and dirt affairs and with record high temps in the area this week, the races will be battles of attrition.