Posted by Editoress on 04/10/15
The USA Cycling's US CUP presented by Cannondale returns to Frank G. Bonelli Park in San Dimas, California, this Saturday, April 11th, after two exciting rounds of cross country racing action. Interest in the US CUP is higher than ever, with a men's field expected to exceed 150, and a women's field that should reach upwards of 80, numbers not seen in years.
For this UCI HC event, a modified version of the Bonelli Park Round 1 C1 course will test athletes with new obstacles. While much-needed and expected rain could make the course perfect for a weekend of hard racing, Sho-Air Cycling Group is not taking any chances, adding 12,000 gallons of reclaimed water on Monday, with another application scheduled for later in the week to ensure optimal course conditions.
The US CUP has consistently attracted a top field of racers, but the Bonelli Park 2 race will feature a top name in world mountain biking. Past U23 and two-time Elite World Champion Nino Schurter (Scott Odlo) is scheduled to race the event, an addition that is sure to generate excitement from the fans and more than a little anxiety in the men's field.
"There will be some great new features on the course that should keep things interesting," said Scott Tedro, Sho-Air President and RideBiker founder. "The racing has been fantastic so far and I am thrilled that a three-time world champion like Nino is coming to race at Bonelli. It just shows how much interest the US CUP is getting from all over the world."
Katerina Nash, winner of Round 2 at Fontana City, is currently in the overall leaders' jersey by way of winning the higher-valued HC race in Fontana City. Round 1 winner Emily Batty (Trek Factory Racing) is second in the standings, followed by Nash's teammates Georgia Gould and Catharine Pendrel. Chloe Woodruff (Team Stan's NoTubes-Niner) rounds out the overall podium in fifth.
Outsider and surprise of the first two rounds, Larissa Connors (Ridebiker Alliance) is the only other rider to appear on a women's podium this season. Connors will look for a repeat performance that saw her shoot to the front with the lead group in Bonelli 1, to the surprise and delight of many.
Round 2 winner and overall men's leader Anton Cooper (Cannondale Factory Racing) will not be present in Bonelli, opting for a different build up to the World Cup season. Bonelli 1 winner Raphael Gagne has confirmed a change in his schedule that will allow him to dispute the remainder of the series and go for the overall title.
Cannondale's Marco Aurelio Fontana and Manuel Fumic will also scratch from Bonelli 2, leaving Brazilian teammate, 2015 Pan American MTB Champion and multiple times Brazilian national champion Henrique Avancini to fill some big shoes.
Trek Factory Racing's Sergio Mantecon is another consistent threat, having finished on the podium in each of the first two rounds.
Sho-Air/Cannondale's Max Plaxton will look to improve on his second-place finish in round one, while his young teammates Keegan Swenson and Stephen Ettinger will seek to build on rising form that saw Swenson take third place at the Pan American Mountain Bike Championships.
US CUP stalwart Todd Wells (Specialized Factory Racing), James Reid (Trek RECM), Derek Zandstra and 2014 US CUP winner Geoff Kabush (both Scott 3Rox Racing) can never be counted out as well, and we could see any of them or many others atop the podium Saturday afternoon.
New for the 2015 US CUP Series is that Bonelli Park will also include a UCI Junior race category for both men and women. The Junior XCO race will be held at 4:30pm Saturday, with more valuable UCI points and payout on offer.
Race times (PST)
11:30 am Women’s Pro XCT Race
2:00 pm Men’s Pro XCT Race
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