Organisers of the US Gran Prix of Cyclocross presented by Crankbrothers, (USGP) have announced the establishment of the CyclocrossWorld / USGP Junior Race Series.
As part of this series, the USGP can also announce that The Mercer Cup presented by Knapp's Cyclery and The Portland Cup presented by Stanley have been named the official U23 and Junior Worlds qualifying races and are the only UCI-sanctioned junior races on the American cyclo-cross calendar.
Series event director, Joan Hanscom said, "The history of the USGP has been all about the development of the sport of cyclocross in the US and about providing the best head to head competition for US athletes - especially for those who aspire to race successfully in Europe. With the additional support being offered by Stu Thorne and CyclocrossWorld.com this year we've been able to put together three solid race weekends at which the top Junior athletes will compete in Juniors only fields in front of enthusiastic crowds and gain valuable race experience."
When speaking about the selection of USGP race weekends, USA Cycling's cyclo-cross director, Marc Gullickson said, "The four selection races will be used to pick the best riders (using their best three out of four results) on the two weekends, and to do this we attempted to use the most appropriate and well-run events that fit into a very specific criteria. Both these race weekends will run two UCI junior races as the selection events so the 17-18 juniors will be the only riders on the course for their events and will receive appropriate UCI prize payouts."
Hanscom continued, "We've shown our commitment to the development of junior riders through ongoing programs such as the Clif Bar Kids' clinics and last season's sponsorship of an additional junior rider for the worlds team. Running dedicated UCI junior fields seemed like the next step in our natural progression and we are really pleased to provide a quality competitive environment for these young athletes to compete against each other."