The newest addition to the North American Cyclocross Trophy Series, the GNC Toronto International Cyclo-Cross is both the mid-point of the series and the first time the NACT has raced in Canada. Organizers have put together two great courses for both “mountain goats and speedsters.” Racers will look for any advantages – flat and fast, or hilly and hard – to shuffle the NACT series standings and win a piece of the $24,500 in prize money.
Advantage: Elliott. Natasha Elliott (Louis Garneau) enters the third round of the NACT series in second place but is heading back north for home field advantage. Elliott went two for two in Gloucester and the Louis Garneau racer also took home double wins at Toronto in 2008. Challenging Elliott is Pepper Harlton (Juventus Cycling Club) at her first NACT race of the year. Harlton and Elliott recently finished second and third to newly-crowned Canadian national champion Alison Sydor and Toronto will be a rematch.
Advantage: Cannondale. Like Elliott, the Cannondale boys will be happy to return to Toronto. Last year, Tim Johnson and Jeremy Powers switched steps atop the podium on Saturday and Sunday. Look for a repeat of 2008 as both Powers and Johnson look to move closer to the top spot of the leader’s boards with strong performances in Toronto. With current leader Jonathon Page (Planet Bike) and second place Christian Heule racing in Europe, the top two steps are up for grabs. After finishing thirteenth at Star Crossed, Cannondale teammate Jamey Driscoll has consistently placed in the top five and leads both Johnson and Powers in the standings in third place overall. Bissell’s Andy Jacques-Maynes is another challenger to Cannondale contingent. Jacques-Maynes finished third and fourth in 2008 and is sandwiched between Johnson and Powers in the overall standings.
There will be plenty to see and do in Toronto this weekend. Urban Male Magazine in conjunction with Cameron’s Brewing Company, are hosting a pre-race party at downtown Toronto’s iconic Brunswick House at 481 Bloor Street West on Friday, October 16. Registration is open at www.bikereg.com and www.ontariocycling.org.