by USA Cycling

Kansas City, Missouri – Defending Elite Men’s champion Tim Johnson (Middleton, Mass.) and Women’s Elite champion Katie Compton (Colorado Springs, Colo.) are among the nation’s best athletes ready to line up at this week’s USA Cycling Cyclo-cross National Championships in Kansas City, Kan. Nearly 1,800 entries have been received for the 38 races between Thursday and Sunday at Kansas City’s Tiffany Springs Park. The complete event schedule and more information are available here.

Compton, of Colorado Springs, Colo., has won the past four women’s elite titles and was the silver medalist at the 2007 UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships. Fresh off three top-five World Cup finishes, the 29-year-old is currently the number seven-ranked female cyclo-cross racer in the world, according to the latest UCI ratings. Her strongest competition in the 90-rider elite women’s field is expected to come from current USA Cycling Cyclocross National Calendar standings leader and 2008 Olympian in the discipline of mountain biking Georgia Gould (Fort Collins, Colo./Luna). Another multi-discipline rider, road racing veteran, Laura Van Gilder (Cresco, Pa./c3 Sollay) will be looking to challenge a new discipline after much success on the domestic cyclo-cross scene this season and a top-20 World Cup finish. Last year’s runner-up Rachel Lloyd (Fairfax, Calif./California Giant Berry Farms-Specialized) will be looking to repeat her impressive performance, as will the currently fourth-ranked rider in the USA Cycling Cyclo-cross National Calendar standings Maureen Bruno-Roy (Arlington, Mass./MM Racing-Seven Cycles).

After wrapping up the overall USGP series title last week, Johnson will be looking to defend his title against a talented 122-rider elite men’s field. After being out paced by Johnson by just under one minute in last year’s national title contest, three-time national cyclo-cross champion Jonathan Page (Northfield, N.H./Planet Bike) will be looking for retribution following his 13th-place finish in last weekend’s World Cup contest in Spain. The cyclo-cross specialist is expected to be strongly challenged by a host of contenders that includes 2006 national cyclo-cross champion and current USA Cycling Cyclo-cross National Calendar standings leader Ryan Trebon (Bend, Ore./Kona), two-time Olympic mountain biker Todd Wells (Durango, Colo./GT) and the current runner-up in the USA Cycling Cyclo-cross National Calendar standings Jeremy Powers (Niantic, Conn./

In addition to Johnson and Compton, 30 others are expected to return to Kansas City to defend their national titles:

Collegiate Men Division I: Jamey Driscoll (Jericho, Vt./University of New Hampshire)

Collegiate Women Division I: Kasey Manderfield (Davisburg, Mich./Lees-McRae College)

Singlespeed National Champion: Marko Lalonde (Madison, Wis.)

U23 Women: Amy Dombroski (Boulder, Colo.)

U23 Men: Bjorn Selander (Hudson, Wis.)

Men 10-12: Austin Vincent (Weatogue, Conn.)

Men 13-14: Logan Owen (Bremerton, Wash.)

Men 15-16: Jeff Bahnson (Newark, Del.)

Men 17-18: Luke Keough (Sandwich, Mass.)

Women 10-12: Andrea Casebolt (Olympia, Wash.)

Women 13-14: Elizabeth White (Bedford, N.H.)

Women 15-16: Coryn Rivera (Tustin, Calif.)

Women 17-18: Anna Young (Madison, Wis.)

Master Men 30-34: Andy Jacques-Maynes (Capitola, Calif.)

Master Men 35-39: Brandon Dwight (Boulder, Colo.)

Master Men 40-44: James Coats (Campbell, Calif.)

Master Men 45-49: Steve Tilford (Topeka, Kan.)

Master Men 50-54: Ned Overend (Durango, Colo.)

Master Men 55-59: Fred Wittwer (Charlottesville, Va.)

Master Men 60-64: Lewis Rollins (Salt Lake City, Utah)

Master Men 65-69: R. Willmore (Seal Beach, Calif.)

Master Men 70+: Walt Axthelm (Durango, Colo.)

Master Women 30-34: Josie Jacques-Maynes (Capitola, CA) Maureen Bruno-Roy (Arlington, Mass.) [CXM Correction]

Master Women 35-39: Sue Butler (Portland, Ore.)

Master Women 40-44: Shannon Gibson (El Paso, Texas)

Master Women 45-49: Catherine Walberg (Topeka, Kan.)

Master Women 50-54: Kathy Sarvary (Lunenburg, Mass.)

Master Women 55-59: Diane Ostenso (Cottage Grove, Wis.)

Master Women 60-64: Nancy Brown (Bennet, Neb.)

Master Women 65+: Julie Lockhart (Dunstable, Mass.)

Tilford and Walberg are two “local” favorites who will be racing on what can be considered their “home turf.” Tilford, 47, is a five-time cyclo-cross national champion and Walberg, 44, is a four-time Kansas State Cyclocross champion.

In addition to the racing action, all junior riders and collegiate teams are invited to attend a collegiate-junior recruiting informational session from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 13 at the Homewood Suites Hotel. Please contact USA Cycling’s Collegiate Manager Daniel Matheny for more information.