University City, Missouri – Following the launch of the International professional cyclocross season in Las Vegas, the top athletes in the sport are preparing to compete at the inaugural Gateway Cross Cup, Wednesday, September 21st at Heman Park in University City, Missouri.  A first for the region, athletes from across the United States and Europe will be competing for prize money and coveted UCI ranking points that are up for grabs at this internationally sanctioned event.

The field for the event is a who’s who in competitive racing featuring the top professional men and women in the sport. Key American racers are former National Champions Tim Johnson (Cannondale/Cyclocrossworld.com), Jonathan Page (Planet Bike/Blue Bicycles), Ryan Trebon (Felt Bicycles) as well as current US National Champion and Olympian Todd Wells (California Giant Berry/Specialized) and Silver Medalist Jeremy Powers (Team Rapha-Focus).  Top European riders confirmed for the event are Swiss National Champion, Christian Heule, former Belgian U23 Champion Ben Berden and former Hungarian Champion Zoltan Tisza. The International Cyclocross season was launched September 14th in Las Vegas at CrossVegas during the North American international cycling tradeshow, Interbike. Many of the top finishers at CrossVegas will take the line in St. Louis on Wednesday, September 21st.

The women’s field features former US National Road Racing champion Meredith Miller (California Giant Berry/Specialized), US Collegiate National Champion Teal Stetson-Lee (California Giant Berry/Specialized), former Belgian national champion Joyce Vanderbeken as well as local favorite and professional triathlete Sunny Gilbert (Michelob Ultra/Big Shark Racing).

The racing begins in the early afternoon with amateur events beginning at 1:30pm. Prior to the men’s and women’s professional events there will be a fun race for children and a 5K held on the race course. The professional events occur in the evening under the lights with the women’s race at 7:50pm and the men’s race at 9:00pm.

The Gateway Cross Cup is a cyclocross race, the fastest growing segment of bicycle racing in the U.S. and combines the speed of road bike races with the terrain of mountain bike events by adding hurdles and uphill climbs. The bicycles resemble road bikes with slightly wider, knobby tires for traction on turf and on pavement. Athletes hop off and shoulder their bicycles uphill and over barriers. A 1.7 kilometer course, approximately one mile in length, will be laid out in Heman Park that takes advantage of the naturally challenging terrain and provide great viewing for the spectators.

The Gateway Cross Cup is an extension of CrossVegas, the largest cyclocross race on the North American calendar. CrossVegas is held on September 14 and attracts over 10,000 spectators annually to Las Vegas. CrossVegas organizer Watts Marketing is teaming with St. Louis event promoter Mike Weiss to bring the excitement of a mid-week evening race to new markets – starting with St. Louis in 2011.  Both races are part of the “Cross after Dark” cyclocross series that unites several nighttime races nationwide.  Riders will be chasing a large prize list at the end of the series in late October.