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U.S. Cycling This Week: Head to PA to start the UCI cyclocross season and end the UCI America Tour

This weekend's Nittany Lion Cross is the first UCI cyclocross race of the season, while an hour away, the Univest Grand Prix closes out the UCI America Tour.

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Univest Grand Prix 2008, Lucas Euser
2008, Lucas Euser wins a rainy Univest

Early September sees a convergence of late-season road racing and early season cyclocross and nowhere is that crossroads more apparent than Pennsylvania this weekend. The USA Cycling Pro Championships are a week away and the men’s peloton stops off in Souderton for the Univest Grand Prix Saturday and Sunday. Less than an hour up the road in Breinigsville, the Nittany Cross opens the UCI and Mid-Atlantic Cyclocross calendars for 2010-11 on Saturday.

Univest Grand Prix – Souderton, Pennsylvania

September 11-12
Univest is back in 2010 as the final event on the UCI America Tour and the penultimate race of the USAC Pro Tour. Gone this year is the team time trial that debuted in 2009, but on tap Saturday is a new format for the road race. For the UCI 1.2 road race, riders will face 11 laps on the full, 5.8-mile Souderton-Franconia-Telford circuit before finishing with five laps on a 3.8-mile Souderton-Telford circuit.

Sunday’s criterium in Doylestown is not UCI sanctioned, but should not lack any excitement in its seventh running. The eight-corner, 1.4-mile course will see riders spin 35 laps for a total of 50 miles.

Day 1: Univest Grand Prix
September 11 11:30 a.m.
83 miles
*UCI America Tour / USAC Pro Tour

Day 2: Univest Grand Prix Criterium of Doylestown
September 12 11:00 a.m.
50 miles (35 laps)

Nittany Lion Cross – Breinigsville, Pennsylvania

September 11

1:15 pm (men) / 2:35 p.m. (women)
60 min (men) / 40 min (women)

2009 Toronto UCI cyclocross start
They're off! No, this is not the Nittany Lion Cross; it's the Toronto UCI race last year. But we think it illustrates the start of the 'cross season.

The U.S. ’cross season opens this week from Kirkland, Washington, to Bedford, Massachusetts. Breinigsville is home to the world’s first UCI event of the new season and the first event on the USA Cycling Cyclocross Calendar, as the Nittany Lion Cross kicks off a full weekend of Lehigh Valley ’cross. The early-season points chasers should see temperatures in the upper 70’s Saturday for the UCI category 2-level event.

For the second year in a row, the race will take place over three kilometers of rolling, mostly grass terrain around the Lehigh Valley Velodrome. The fourth-year event will start on a solemn note with a member of the local fire company leading a September 11 memorial and singing the national anthem.

Nittany organizers are offering equal prize money to the top three elite men and women. That fact and the chance to gain start position in upcoming UCI events should attract strong fields for early September. Defending MAC series champion Valentin Scherz (Cyfac-Champion System) is on the early start list, as are Jeremy Powers (Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com) and Adam Myerson (Cycle-Smart). Laura Van Gilder (C3-Athletes Serving Athletes) opened her MAC title run a year ago with a win at Nittany Lion Cross and she’ll be back this weekend to defend.