The nation’s top cross racers will return to Bend, OR for the Trek US Gran Prix of Cyclocross presented by Greenware® and WD-40 Bike for the series finale Deschutes Brewery Cup on December 8th and 9th. For elite riders hoping to be selected to the US World Championship team the races in Bend present the final opportunity to win valuable C1 points here at home and improve their chances for making the team. The World Cyclo-Cross Championships are being held in Louisville, KY on Feb 2nd and 3rd – the first time the event has run outside of Europe in the history of the sport – and competition to make the team and race on home soil has been fierce all season long.
The Elite fields will include Katerina Nash (LUNA) who returned to cross racing in November at the Derby City Cup and showed that her form has not suffered after taking time off by finishing second to World Cup leader Katie Compton (Trek Cyclocross Collective). Nash will be joined on the line by teammates Olympic bronze-medalist Georgia Gould and Teal-Stetson Lee – both of whom have been riding strong this season. Rapha-Focus riders Julie Krasniak and Gabby Day have been powerful forces on the bike this season as well and will be looking find the top step of the podium after coming close at the previous USGP events . California Giant Berry rider Meredith Miller will be returning to competition after breaking her hand in October and is highly motivated to get her season back on track with a couple of strong late season performances in Bend. Also returning to competition after changing teams is Nicole Duke (Alchemy) who has a knack for riding this course well and is looking to duplicate last year’s strong performances. Kaitlin Antonneau (Cannondale p/b CyclocrossWorld.com) has already assured herself a spot on the Worlds team by placing in the top ten of a World Cup race but is still looking for her first USGP win in Bend. The Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies trio of Amanda Miller, Carmen Small and Jade Wilcoxson have coming roaring out of road cycling and have threatened the cyclocross specialists and promise to do so in Bend as well.
On the men’s side teammates Tim Johnson, Jamey Driscoll and Bend resident Ryan Trebon (Cannondale) are all looking to find the top step of the USGP for the first time this year. Trebon has been consistently strong and characteristically aggressive all season long while Johnson has shown emerging good form after a slow start to the season. They will face off against Belgian strongman Ben Berden (Raleigh Clement) and his teammate Allen Krughoff. Another Bend resident hopeful of Worlds team selection, Adam Craig (RaboBank/Giant), suffered bad luck in the form of mechanical issues in Louisville but also revealed very good form and will be ready to race at home. Rapha Focus riders Chris Jones and Zach McDonald have also been showing strong form – McDonald already secured his place on the Worlds team with a top ten performance in a World Cup as well and will come to the line ready to race. Former World Championship Silver Medalist Danny Summerhill (Chipotle Development Team) has been a force this season and is coming to Bend motivated as well.
The USGP is not just for the pros though. Amateur, junior and masters racers all have the opportunity to come out and race a full slate of events both Saturday and Sunday beginning at 8am. In addition, several non-UCI USGP Series Champions will be named. It remains to be seen if anybody can knock SingleSpeed juggernaut Craig Etheridge (Raleigh-Clement) off the top step in that category and Mark Savery (Trek Midwest) will be looking to defend his lock on the Masters 35+ category. 45+ Series leader Mark Legg-Compton (Trek Cyclocross Collective) will not be racing but does have the series overall locked up.
The weekend kicks off Thursday, December 6th with the 2nd Annual CxMas Party at Powered by Bowen – a fundraiser to support junior cyclocross racers from the Bend area. On Friday, racer can pre-ride the course from 2-4pm (weather permitting) and then the pros from CLIF Bar take to the course and offer a free ‘cross clinic for junior at 4pm. After that all riders are encouraged to attend a number presentation party at the Deschutes Brewery Warehouse from 5:00-7:00pm where they can enjoy some Deschutes beer and light snacks while mingling with the pro riders.
Race action kicks off each day at 8am and concludes by 4:30 pm each day.