For the second straight weekend, Southern California will host a selection of the world’s best cross country racers as the USA Cycling’s US CUP Series presented by Cannondale continues with Round 2 in Fontana.
Round 1 winners Raphael Gagne (Rocky Mountain Bicycles) and Emily Batty (Trek Factory Racing) will look to defend their lead in the overall rankings, as the Fontana race will be a UCI HC category race, offering higher UCI points, series points and a richer prize purse than the first round in Bonelli Park.
“I’m really happy with how I went against such a strong international field in Bonelli and am proud to wear the leader’s jersey going into Fontana,” said Gagne. “I placed two spots better in Fontana than Bonelli last year, so I hope to be up front again. The long climb suits me, and the descent on the back side is real fun so it’s going to be another good weekend.”
Women’s revelation Larissa Connors (Ridebiker Alliance), 4th in Bonelli, was characteristically enthusiastic about heading into Fontana City. “I’m so excited to race again this weekend. Last week was an incredible rush, to race up front with the best girls in the world. I’m ready to go out there and give it another go. The response to my ride at Bonelli was just incredible. Now I just have to put my head down, do the work, turn the legs and try to get up there again!”
Free Video Coverage Schedule Announced
Ridebiker Alliance is proud to announce that video coverage of USA Cycling’s US CUP presented by Cannondale Round 2 will be aired live, with a one-hour condensed highlight reel featuring advertising and special offers from our sponsors to air beginning Wednesday afternoon. Both the live feed and highlight reel will be viewable at uscup.net, uscup.tv and also at a dedicated page under USA Cycling’s YouTube channel.
Elite Men’s Contenders
Men’s leader and Round 1 winner Raphael Gagne stayed in Southern California to prepare for his defence in Fontana City. He will face a determined field of top talent trying to knock him out of the lead, including fellow Canadian Max Plaxton, who fought hard in Bonelli Park.
Cannondale Factory Racing is one team that showed itself at the front of the Bonelli Park race and will want to continue that trend at Fontana. Both Marco Aurelio Fontana and Manuel Fumic took their turns in the race lead, but it was young Anton Cooper who would finish on the podium (third) with a very consistent ride.
Continuing down the Bonelli results, the next three riders are aboard Trek Bicycles and all will be fighting to move up in the rankings on Saturday. James Reid from Trek RECM was a bit of a surprise to some, but will be out to prove he belongs at the front of the race in Fontana. Reid finished in the top twenty in Fontana in 2014 and his fourth at Bonelli on Saturday is reason to believe he on fine form. Sergio Mantecon was second in Bonelli and sixth in Fontana last year and currently lies in fifth while teammate Adam Morka lies in sixth place.
Scott 3 Rox Racing’s Canadian duo of Derek Zandstra and Geoff Kabush are next in the overall, while some big names such as Fumic, Todd Wells (Specialized Factory Racing), Russell Finsterwald (SRAM/TLD Race Team), Keegan Swenson and Stephen Ettinger (both Sho-Air / Cannondale) will look to improve upon their Bonelli Park results.
Elite Women’s Contenders
The Luna Pro Team led by Catharine Pendrel, Georgia Gould and Katerina Nash will be out to reclaim the top podium spot after they were unable to shake a determined and in-form Emily Batty at Bonelli Park. Larissa Connors is out to prove that Saturday’s fourth place was no fluke while top contenders Erin Huck (Scott 3 Rox), Evelyn Dong (Sho-Air / Cannondale), Maghalie Rochette (Luna Pro Team) and Rose Grant (Stans NoTubes Elite Women) will be determined to displace Batty, the Luna duo of Pendrel and Gould, Connors and Chloe Woodruff (Stans NoTubes/Niner) from their podium spots.
UCI Junior Races
New for the 2015 US CUP Series is that the Fontana City Round will also include a UCI Junior race category for both men and women. The Junior XCO race will be held at 8:30 Saturday morning, with valuable UCI points and payout on offer.
Saturday, March 21 Fontana City Race Schedule, all times Pacific Daylight Time / Local California Time
08h30 – 09h40 PDF: UCI Junior women and men cross country – staging and call-up
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
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