By Laura Weislo
The last two races of the US Gran Prix of Cyclo-cross in Portland, Oregon this weekend will have much more at stake than just UCI points. For the elite men, the weekend will decide the series champion in a contest which is still wide open. In the women's race, it is a battle between teammates Georgia Gould and Katerina Nash (Luna), who have traded blows in the first four events.
The weekend races will also be decisive for the junior men's field, who will not only earn UCI points, but will have the eyes of the USA Cycling coaches on them as the two races are one of the criteria which will be used to select the junior team for the world championships.
The under-23 men will race with the elites, but like the juniors, the Espoirs will also be strutting their stuff for the national selectors.
With 50 points for the winner each day, there are six or seven riders in the elite men's field who could take the series title this weekend. Todd Wells (GT) took only one win on the second day in New Jersey, but consistent high placings put him into the lead with 147 points. Jeremy Powers (Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com) lies in second with 132 points, while his teammate and national champion Tim Johnson is in third with 123.
Johnson missed out on the second race in New Jersey after he injured his knee, but is still in the running for the series after coming in second place last year. He's trailed by last year's series champion Ryan Trebon (Kona) who dropped out of the second race in Louisville, Kentucky after taking the win in the opening round.
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