Mercer County, NJ – The premier cyclocross series is the US storms into New Jersey this weekend with races three and four of the US Gran Prix of Cyclocross presented by Crankbrothers at the Mercer Cup presented by Knapp’s Cyclery in Mercer County Park, West Windsor, NJ.
“Coming off of an exciting seasoner opener in Louisville, KY the USGP is gearing up once again for a great weekend of ‘cross action in Mercer County Park,” said Bruce Fina, Executive Director, US Gran Prix of Cyclocross. “Thanks to the support of Knapp’s Cyclery, Mercer County and the Mercer County Sports Commission we’re bringing the biggest show in cyclocross – featuring the sport’s top athletes- to New Jersey.”
The course, adjacent to the Marina at Mercer County Park, will face a blustery conditions thanks to the near constant wind coming off the lake. Similar to the first two races in Louisville, the course will feature a fly-over and some very technical areas. With rain in the forecast for the week and clearing conditions for the weekend, the course’s grassy and off-camber technical sections could have greater tactical significance for the racers. The distinguishing feature of the Mercer course is the three long sand pits lined up in a row which will challenge the field the entire weekend.
The Mercer Cup presented by Knapp’s Cyclery kicks off the CyclocrossWorld.com Junior Race Series. The series has tremendous significance for Junior racers with international aspirations because the USGP’s Mercer Cup (and The Portland Cup) have been named the official U23 and Junior Worlds qualifying races and are the only sanctioned UCI Junior races on the American CX calendar.
USA Cycling’s Cyclocross Director, Marc Gullickson said, “These 4 selection races will be used to pick the best riders (using their best 3 out of 4 results) on the 2 weekends and to do this we attempted to use the most appropriate and well run events that fit into a very specific criteria. ”
In the Elite men’s race, the rivalry continues between the old guard and the youth movement in a clash of cyclocross titans. Team Jamis’s Jesse Anthony will try to defend his series leader’s jersey against the likes of CyclocrossWorld.com/ Cannondale’s Tim Johnson and the USA’s top UCI ranked rider Jeremy Powers. Looking to get back in the top spot will be the boys from Kona with Ryan Trebon and Barry Wicks will be battling it out to stay in the hunt for the USGP jersey.
In the Elite Women’s field the races will see LUNA’s Katerina Nash – fresh off the Podium at the season’s third World Cup in Pijnacker, Netherlands- defending her leader’s jersey. Challenging her for the top step will be Olympian and teammate Georgia Gould, Wendy Simms’ – also returning from a strong European campaign, Canandian Natasha Elliott, and the mid-Atlantic’s very own Laura Van Guilder who after a long and distinguished road racing career is making a big impact in women’s cross in her debut season.
2008 Mercer Cup presented by Knapp’s Cyclery Schedule of Events:
Clif Bar Kid’s Clinic
Friday, 4:00 – 5:00 pm The weekend kicks off with the Friday afternoon Clif Bar Kids’ Cross Clinic with the athletes of Team Clif Bar – registration is free and limited to the first 25 kids ages 10-16 on BikeReg.com.
Friday Night Number Presentation Ceremony and Rider Registration: Fans can get a head start on the weekend’s fun by attending the Number Presentation Ceremony at the Knapp’s Cyclery – 1761 Princeton Ave, Lawrenceville, NJ 08648, 6 – 9 pm where top athletes will receive their start numbers. Racers in all categories who have pre-registered can get a head start on their weekend by picking up their race numbers as well.
Saturday and Sunday – USGP Race #3 and #4
The USGP Mercer Cup presented by Knapp’s Cyclery features two full days of racing for amateurs and pros. Spectators can shop the expo for the latest cycling gear, and hang out all day to watch the non-stop cyclocross action. Racing begins at 8:00 am and the Pros start at 1:45 pm.
8:00 am–Cat 4 Men
8:45 am–Cat 3/4 Women, Junior 10-16
9:30 am–Cat 2/3 Men
10:30 am– Masters 45+ / 55+
11:30 am–UCI Junior 17, 18
12:30 pm–Masters 35+ Race
1:45 pm–UCI Elite Women Race
3:00 pm–UCI Elite Men/U-23 Men Race
About the US Gran Prix of Cyclocross presented by Crankbrothers
The Mercer Cup presented by Knapp’s Cyclery is part of the US Gran Prix of Cyclocross presented by Crankbrothers — the premier cyclocross series in the United States. The six race series attracts the best racers from across North America who compete for the series overall championship and an automatic USA Cycling world championship berth.
The US Gran Prix of Cyclocross presented by Crank Brothers kicked off October 25 – 26 in Louisville, Kentucky with the Papa John’s Derby City Cup presented by Toyota. The second stop will be the USGP Mercer Cup presented by Knapp’s Cyclery in West Windsor, NJ on November 15-16 The series will then return to Portland, Oregon for the fourth consecutive year for the Toyota Portland Cup on December 6-7.
For more information on the USGP, visit www.usgpcyclocross.com.