International cyclo-cross commences on Saturday with the first UCI race of the new season at Rohrbach’s Ellison Park Cyclocross, a two-day UCI C2 event in Rochester, New York.
Jonathan Page will headline this year's Elite men's field, which includes 2011 winner Nicolas Bazin from the French Pro Continental Team Big-Mat Auber. Bazin's teammate, Flavien Dassonville, is scheduled to race this year as well. Redline's Justin Lindine, the only other winner of the race since it achieved UCI status in 2010, is also scheduled for the start line both days. Seven-time British national champion Helen Wyman (Kona), the 2010 and 2011 Elite women's winner in Rochester, will return this year to try and make it three consecutive wins.
Bazin beat British rider Ian Field (Hargrove Cycles) and Belgian Tom Van den Bosch (AA Drink-leontien.nl) to win last year's race. Lindine was the top US finisher last year in fourth. Wyman rode away with the 2011 women's race, beating Belgian Joyce Vanderbeken by 43 seconds. Carolyn Popovic was the top US finisher in third, 45 seconds behind Wyman.
Rohrbach’s Ellison Park Cyclocross began in 2008 as an amateur event and expanded to a one-day UCI pro and amateur race for 2010 and 2011. This year the race has expanded to a two-day UCI event for both pros and amateurs on Saturday, Sept. 8, and Sunday, Sept. 9.
UCI cyclo-cross in the US travels to Breiningsville, Pennsylvania, and Williston, Vermont, the following weekend for two separate UCI C2 two-day races on Sept. 15 and 16. CrossVegas, three days later on Wednesday, Sept. 19, marks the first UCI C1 event in the US. The high-profile Interbike interruption in Vegas is quickly followed by the two-day Planet Bike Cup in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, on Sept. 22-23, the first weekend of the Trek US Gran Prix of Cyclocross series.
Of the eight USGP races, only four, the Saturday events, have the C1 UCI ranking. CrossVegas, Jingle Cross, Cincy3 Harbin Park International and two races from the New England Pro Cyclocross Series are the only other US C1 races, which are important to riders hoping to build UCI points before the world championships in Louisville, Kentucky, on February 2-3 because they can only accumulate points from a limited number of C2 events.
After the quick start in September, the US professional cyclo-cross schedule takes off in myriad directions during the month of October and beyond; there are more than 50 races listed on the 2012/13 USA Cycling Professional Cyclocross Calendar between Sept. 8, 2012, and Jan. 26, 2013. Madison, Wisconsin, will once again host the USA Cycling Cyclo-cross National Championships, January 12-13, before the world invades Louisville for the world championships three weeks later.