The USA Cycling’s US CUP presented by Cannondale returns to Frank G. Bonelli Park in San Dimas, California this Saturday, April 11, 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 Mtb Racing) 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.”
Free Video Coverage Schedule Announced
Video coverage of the US CUP Round 3 will be streamed live online. The Elite Womens’ race will start at 11:00am PST followed by the Elite Men at 1:30pm PST. The race will be viewable at uscup.net.
“The production quality of the US CUP races being put out by Ridebiker Alliance is outstanding,” said Micah Rice, Vice President of National Events for USA Cycling. “The visuals are impressive, the racing action is great and it feels like you’re watching a World Cup!”
The Womens’ Field
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. Her teammates Georgia Gould (3rd) and Catharine Pendrel (4th) follow Round 1 winner Emily Batty (Trek Factory Racing) in second. 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.
The Mens’ Field
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-placed 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 3 Rox Racing) can never be counted out as well, and we could see any of them or many others atop the podium Saturday afternoon.
UCI Junior Races
New for the 2015 US CUP Series is that Bonelli Park #2, Round 3 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.
Saturday, April 11 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
16h15 – 16h30 PDT: UCI Junior Women and Men – staging and call-up
16h30 – 17h40 PDT: UCI Junior Women and Men XCO Race