CXM columnist Ben Popper’s quest for just one UCI point may have just gotten a bit harder. He is heading to Canada this weekend, a race that might be off the radar of most top U.S. talent. But at least two stars are joining him on the trek.
The Cyclocrossworld.com / Cannondale duo of Tim Johnson and Jeremy Powers will headline the UCI C1 Toronto International Cyclocross races at Centennial Park, Toronto, Ontario on November 8 and 9, 2008.
Johnson, the current U.S. Cyclocross National Champion will be making his return to the Canadian cyclocross scene that last saw him win here in 2005. In the meantime the sport of cyclocross has grown immensely in the province. Ontario now hosts two of the largest cyclocross race series in Canada with a combined total of 27 races from September to the end of November. The crown jewel is the Toronto International Cyclocross at Centennial Park.
Johnson’s teammate Jeremy Powers may prove to be his biggest competition in the two UCI C1 events in Toronto. Powers, the leader in USA Cycling’s cyclocross standings seems to always find his way to the podium this season in the states. Up to the challenge are local favorites including the 2007 Canadian National Champion and 2008 silver medallist Mike Garrigan (la Bicicletta / Jet Power), 2008 bronze medallist Derrick St John (Steven’s Cross) and last year’s Toronto International winner and Southern Ontario Cyclocross series leader Andrew Watson (Norco Evolution team). Along with the local favorites, a slew of top ranked North American and International riders will be on hand to challenge for their share of the weekend’s $21,000 in cash.
The Women’s field is still wide open with last year’s winner and current National Champion Wendy Simms (Kona) away racing in Europe. Last year’s silver medallist Natasha Elliott (Steven’s Cross) from Ottawa, Ontario may be the class of the field. But with registration open until the end of the week, Elliott may still have her work cut out for her.
Centennial Park offers a wide variety of terrain to challenge the riders. Each day offers a completely different course.
Saturday’s course is situated in a tree lined valley and suites a rider with a lot of power and speed. It’s been described as part Formula 1 course and part human powered roller coaster.
Sunday’s course traverses the ski hill where a rider with climbing legs and strong technical skills will rule the day.
Both courses are extremely spectator friendly, you can watch all the action course side or in the comfort of the Cameron’s Brewing Co beer tent. “Get your cowbells out! With this level of competition, it’s sure to be non stop excitement” said Scott Doel, Technical Director for the race.
The Toronto International Cyclocross is proudly sponsored by: GNC, Clearview Marketing Communications, Specialized Canada, 3 Rox Racing / Scott, Ridley Bicycles, Sidi, Assos, Nissan and Norco Performance Bicycles.
For more information and registration for the Toronto International Cyclocross UCI C1 go to www.torontocyclocross.com
Online registration is available at www.ontariocycling.org