USA Cycling’s US CUP Kicks Off 2015 Season with Bonelli Park Round 1


A top international field will descend on Frank G. Bonelli Park in San Dimas, California this weekend to compete in the first round of the US CUP Mountain Bike Race Series. 2014 overall champions Katerina Nash (Luna Pro Team) and Geoff Kabush (Scott-3Rox) will look to defend their US CUP titles against a field of North America’s best racers and international mountain bike racing’s top names.

“We’re going to run the classic Bonelli Park course for the first Bonelli C1 race this weekend,” said Scott Tedro, Sho-Air President and RideBiker founder. “The second Bonelli Park event April 11th will have a newly-configured course which will be very different than the traditional course. It’s going to be a great weekend. I love how some riders come here thinking it’s an easy course after a few warm up laps, however they quickly find out that at race pace it’s a different story. I think back to last year, when Marco {Aurelio Fontana} had a two-minute lead with two laps to go and was reeled in by the charging field, the heat and the relentless up-and-down of the course. It was fantastic! It’s a course that just slowly chews you up.”

Bonelli Park kicks off an historic second version of the US CUP under its current organization. With three UCI Hors Course races in 2015, the United States’ premier mountain bike series remains the richest race series in the country, and offers the most UCI points than any other series. Greatly-enhanced broadcast-quality coverage of a top international field means the US CUP has launched American mountain bike racing to heights not seen since the mountain bike glory years of the 1990’s.

Free Video Coverage Schedule Announced
Video coverage of US CUP Round 1 will be “live, tape delayed”. The race will be filmed live and then fully edited for television-quality delivery later in the day, in order to take production to the next level. The Elite Women race will stream starting at 7pm PST and the Elite Men at 9pm PST, allowing fans to enjoy their day and then watch a fantastic event with top-quality editing and production. The race will be viewable at uscup.net, uscup.tv  and also at a dedicated page under USA Cycling’s YouTube channel.

“Once again Ridebiker Alliance and Sho-Air step up to upgrade the top mountain bike series in North America,” said Micah Rice, Vice President of National Events for USA Cycling. “No doubt that this series will attract some of the world’s best riders who are gunning for UCI points on their road to the Olympic Games in Rio next year and we are excited to show this event on our USA Cycling YouTube channel.”

Series Point Structure and Prizes
Ridebiker Alliance (formerly Sho-Air Cycling Group) and USA Cycling are proud to again announce equal prize purses for men and women elite racers. “Equal prize purses is proof that the women’s cycling movement is for real,” stated Tedro. “Last year I challenged the ladies to come out in numbers and race this series and they backed it up big time. I’m so proud of them and can’t wait to get 2015 underway.”

US CUP races will follow UCI payout guidelines for their classification. This means that each HC round offers near $12,000 in total prize purses, split evenly between the men and women’s fields. In addition, UCI Junior prize purses will offer over $2,000 plus valuable UCI points for tomorrow’s stars to pursue their racing dreams.

Once again, USA Cycling US Cup Pro Series points will be awarded at each round, with two scales used to separate the HC races from the C1 and C3 races. The HC races will award 45 points to each race’s winner down to one point to each 20th place finisher while the C1 and C3 races will award 25 points to the winner with a scale down to 1 point for 20th place. All racers will receive an additional five points per start. The overall elite men’s and women’s series championship titles will go to the riders with the most points – with ties broken by number of wins, second and third place finishes. If there is still a tie, whoever finished best in the last race of the season will be awarded the championship.

As in 2014, the top five riders in each round will receive handsome custom designed trophies from Baghouse, while series leaders will don stylish jerseys from new series sponsor Sugoi Performance Apparel. Series winners will again earn coveted MMA-style championship belts, with additional belts awarded at the series finish for a separate U23 ranking!

The Field
The early date for the Bonelli Park Round #1 means that many contenders will either be making their season debut or continuing to build up for future rounds. That doesn’t mean that the racing will be tame, however, as the early-season UCI points and rankings are valuable in determining World Cup starting positions, not to mention the early season prize checks.

Saturday, March 14 Bonelli Park Race Schedule, all times Pacific Daylight Time / Local California Time
11h00 – 11h15 PDT: Elite women cross country – staging and call-up
11h15 – 13h15 PDT: Elite women cross country race
13h30 – 13h45 PDT: Elite men cross country – staging and call-up
13h45 – 15h45 PDT: Elite men cross country race
15h50 – 16h00 PDT: Elite women and men cross country podium ceremony

Photo ©  Christy Nicholson / EchelonDesignPhoto.com