The U.S. Pro Cup mountain bike event will return to its Southern California racing roots after a four year hiatus from event promotion in the golden state on March 31st April 2nd at Vail Lake resort, located in Temecula, CA.
The 2023 U.S. Pro Cup p/b Orange Seal will be the first U.C.I. event held at the Vail Lake resort venue since 2019 and only the second U.C.I. event in the venue’s history. The 2020 edition was canceled due to the emerging COVID-19 pandemic in March.
2019 Vail lake winner Kate Courtney is happy to be back racing in Southern California after a four year hiatus. “Having these U.S. Cup events so close to home and in the U.S. is really great. It allows us to get some early season points and gain some race fitness before heading over to Europe to start the world cup season.”- Kate Courtney 2018 World XCO Champion and Tokyo Olympian
“We are really excited to be back racing in California, especially after what happened in 2020 with the pandemic,” comments race director Ty Kady. “We have a brand new course layout for the UCI and amateur racers which we think will be a big improvement over 2019. Also, with the addition of a live stream broadcast of all three days of racing, we want to plant our flag in the ground that the U.S. Pro Cup is back in Southern California where it all began.”
Brand new course layout in 2023
Former multi-national and world champion racer, Eric Carter has collaborated with Kady to totally revamp the Vail Lake venue with his Vailocity crew, making this year’s U.C.I. course more in line with a true world cup layout in terms of distance, climbing and technicality. The course also see’s Carter’s gravity background in the design and flow of the layout, as well as some of the course’s new sections.
“Eric Carter has put in hundreds of hours into these new course layouts. None of this would even be possible without him and his Vailocity crew at the helm. I just threw him U.C.I. specs, new ideas, and he turned that into reality. We are really grateful for EC’s help.” reflects Kady.
This year’s UCI XCO course will be 4.8km with 125 meters of climbing per lap with a lot of punchy single track, tricky off camber descents and a dual jump line to usher in a new era of cross-country style racing.
Trek Factory racing rider and local So. Cal resident Gwendalyn Gibson is looking forward to having a hometown race on the calendar.
“For me it feels extra special to have a UCI race at Vail lake. It’s just an hour drive from my hometown and is the venue of one of the first races I ever competed in.” commented Gibson. “ Having early season points available in the US is really important leading into the World Cup season and with the Olympics around the corner again.’
Kick off dates
Friday March 31st will kick off with Pro and amateur short track, followed by an all amateur cross-country day on Saturday April 1st, before the fireworks kick off on Sunday with U.C.I. C1 XCO race.
Tokyo Olympian, Haley Batten echoes the same sentiment as Courtney. “It is a great opportunity to have a UCI XCO and short-track event in the US. Prior to heading over to Europe for the World Cup series, it is extremely helpful that we can collect points for better placement of US riders on international start lines. The depth of US racing is continuing to rise every year (especially in the women’s field!) and it is a fun event for us to race together, push each other, and prepare for the rest of the season!”- Haley Batten Tokyo Olympian.
Sunday the women’s field in particular looks to be a star packed field with former world champion and Olympian Kate Courtney, taking on new Trek Factory rider Gwendalyn Gibson with Olympian Haley Batten slated to line up. Three of the US’s best female cross-country racers will be taking on some of the globe’s best female cross-country racers before their world cup campaign kicks off in May.
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