By Steve Medcroft
On December 9 through the 11th in Providence, Rhode Island, the best in U.S. cyclocross will come together to battle for the right to wear the national championship jersey in 2006. More than twenty championships will be awarded over the weekend in categories ranging from junior, collegiate, masters, and U23, to Saturday's elite men and Sunday's elite women's showcases.
In the men's race, three-time and defending national champion, Jonathan Page, is expected to return from the European cyclocross circuit, leaving the rest of field with the job of trying to match his form and skill. Defending women's national champion Katie Compton will lose the element of surpise that helped her win last year's race and will face currently on-form favorites like Ann Knapp and Barbara Howe in the women's race.
Held in historic Roger Williams Park in Providence, promoters have devised a challenging stage for the weekend. And if the curent predictions of snow and freezing temperatures hold, the weather could make the event as photogenic and memorable for spectators as the last two years when racers, on a Portland, Oregon course drenched by torrential downpours, raced through running rivers of mud.
Racing gets underway Friday with age-group and collegiate racing. Stay tuned to live.cyclingnews.com for live on-line race coverage of the following races:
Saturday, December 10
Elite U23, 12 noon, 50 minutes
Elite Juniors, 2pm, 40 minutes
Elite men, 3pm, 60 minutes
Sunday, December 11
Elite Women, 3pm, 40 minutes