Fierce women’s field at CrossVegas

Top contenders contest C1 event

CrossVegas is the first C1 event of the USA Cycling Cyclo-cross National Calendar (CXNC) and most of the top 10 finishers of the 2009 series will vie for top honours in Las Vegas on Wednesday evening. The defending series champion Maureen Bruno Roy (Bob’s Red Mill p/b Seven Cycles) will be just one of many stars on the start line.

"I have been able to choose my schedule a little bit differently because I have a little bit of sponsorship with Bob’s Red Mill," said Bruno Roy who did not race CrossVegas last year. "They stepped up this year as my title sponsor. Having sponsorship for this year is great and that is in part because I won the USA Cycling overall 'cross points. That really helped put me up at a level to acquire some sponsorship, and I can be more ambitious this year about my racing schedule."

The CXNC’s 53-round series kicked off at the Nittany Lion Cross in Trexlertown, Pennsylvania on September 11 and will conclude at the USA Cycling Cyclo-cross National Championships in Bend, Oregon on December 12. Cyclingnews looks at the top ten riders in the Elite women’s category from last year's standing, most of whom are making an appearance at CrossVegas and many of the series' races across the country.

"I think for a lot of women CrossVegas is a season opener," Bruno Roy said. "For most people this starts the beginning of the season where everyone sees everybody, sponsors and athletes, because of the Interbike trade show. There is a lot of everyone coming together and it is a huge kick off event."

Bruno-Roy is a professional mountain biker and cyclo-cross specialist with three Masters 30-34 national ‘cross titles under her belt captured in 2005, 2007 and 2008. She put forth a commanding season in 2009, winning the CXNC overall title and earning a spot on the USA Cycling World Championships team.

"I will be racing all of the US Grand Prix of Cyclocross events, CrossVegas, targeting a bunch of other races on the calendar and hope to build up to qualify for Worlds again," Bruno Roy said. "Worlds went well last year and I was able to do a couple of World Cups beforehand. Being 23rd and 25th, I was so close to being inside the top 20 and I think that is doable this year by being at more of the races. I want to get closer to the top 15 and more comfortable inside the top 20."

Slotting into second place on the national calendar was Mary McConneloug (Kenda/Seven/Notubes). She is a former national mountain bike champion and Olympian in 2004. Last year she placed on the podium in many of the nations top cyclo-cross events.

Third place rider Laura Van Gilder (C3-Athletes Serving Athletes) is a legendary American sprinter who has been racing bikes for nearly two decades. In that time she has captured more than 300 career victories in road racing and cyclo-cross combined. She started racing cyclo-cross in 2008 and ended her first two season as a member of the USA Cycling World Cyclocross Championships team. She kicked off her season with back-to-back wins at the Charm City Cross events in Maryland.

"I put value into the US calendar and it helps me chose races but I also enjoy racing as many varied ‘cross races as I can," Van Gilder said. "It would be nice to win it again but it is not my specific goal. I just want to remain consistent this 'cross season and have as much success as I can. I still consider myself new to it and I am still trying to hone in on my skills. I think the field is going to be, yet again, competitive this year so I hope to have some success."

Katerina Nash (Luna Pro Team) was ranked fourth last year and is a two-time defending champion of the US Grand Prix of Cyclo-cross (USGP series). She put a stamp on international cyclo-cross when she won the UCI World Cup in Roubaix and placed fourth in the UCI World Cyclo-cross Championships in Czech Republic last year. She recently kicked off the season with back-to-back wins at StarCrossed and Rad Racing Grand Prix last weekend.

Amy Dombroski’s fifth place last year may have help earn her a spot alongside Nash on the Luna Pro Team for the 2010-2011 cyclo-cross season. Her top ten rank can largely be attributed to her double wins at the Super Cross Cup, numerous podium finishes throughout the season and third place at the USA Cycling Cyclo-cross National Championships held in Bend, Oregon. She is also a three-time Under 23 Cyclo-cross national champion and the Under 23 road race national champion.

Katie Compton (Planet Bike) placed sixth in the series despite taking on a reduced US schedule in favor of a European campaign. Compton is the defending champion at CrossVegas, but injuries will prevent her from starting the event this year. She is a six-time national champion and captured the hearts of nearly every cyclo-cross fan in the nation after outstanding performances on international stage. She is a fierce world-class contender and last year won two UCI World-Cups in Treviso and Nommay. Her highest placing at the UCI World Cyclo-cross Championships was a silver medal in 2007.

Seventh placed Meredith Miller (California Giant/Specialized) is quite possibly the fastest rising star in American cyclo-cross. She hails from a long career as a professional road racer and is a former US National Road Champion. She was one spot away from capturing a cyclo-cross national title last year. She was the only cyclist earn a role as a member of the USA Cycling World Championships team in both Road and Cyclo-cross.

Georgia Gould (Luna Pro Team) is a full-time mountain biker and one of the most successful cyclo-cross racers on the national circuit placing eighth. She is a proven consistent contender on the American cyclo-cross circuit having won both the USGP and the North American Cyclo-cross Trophy (NACT) in her career.

Reigning Canadian National Champion Natasha Elliott (Garneau Club Chaussure Ogilvy) found success in many of the events on the American calendar. She captured the NACT series title after winning double headers in both Grand Prix of Gloucester and Toronto Cyclo-cross last year.

Deidre Winfield (C3-Athletes Serving Athletes) rounds out the standings in tenth place after a season full of consistent top ten and podium finishes. Like her teammate Van Gilder, Winfield started racing cyclo-cross later in life and found immediate success. In 2006 she captured multiple UCI victories and podium finishes and has continued her top ten results in nearly race she has entered during the previous four seasons. Winfield is not scheduled to compete at CrossVegas.

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