The double UCI C2 events of StarCrossed p/b Stanley, round two of the Cross After Dark series, on Saturday, September 17 and the Rapha-Focus Gran Prix, formerly known as Rad Racing, on Sunday September 18 have attracted strong fields to the state of Washington. Among the heavy-hitting contenders are Czech National Champion Katerina Nash (Luna Pro Team) and former two-time world champion Bart Wellens (Telenet-Fidea) who while vie for victory at the events' new venue at Lake Sammamish Park in Issaquah.
Other strong contenders in the men's races are US national champion Todd Wells (Specialized Racing), Rob Peeters (Telenet-Fidea), Ben Berden (Stoemper), Fabio Ursi (CS Esercito), Ryan Trebon (LTS-Felt), Jonathan Page (Planet Bike-Blue) and Jeremy Powers and Zac McDonald (Rapha-Focus).
Nash will face steep competition during the women's races from her teammate, US mountain bike champion Georgia Gould, French national champion Carline Mani (SRAM), Maureen Bruno Roy and Kathy Sherwin.
Star Crossed p/b Stanley and Rapha-Focus Gran Prix will be held at the same venue at Lake Sammamish Park and will return to the traditional course at Marymoor Park in Redmond, Washington for next year.
"[There was a] scheduling conflict with a three-day event that King County could not pass up revenue-wise," said event co-promoter Terry Buchanan. "The course will be similar to Rad Racing GP from last year. It will be shorter, more spectator friendly. There will also be a fly-over bridge at the beer garden. Entry to the beer garden is under the bridge. We have also added the Lazer Helmets Beach "Day at the Beach" with two sand sections. We are hoping to have the Belgians show everyone how it is done in the sand."
StarCrossed p/b Stanley marks the second round of the newly designed Cross After Dark Series. The series kicked of this week at CrossVegas won by Nash and Under-23 cyclo-cross world champion Lars van der Haar (Rabobank Giant Offroad Team).
"StarCrossed is the original night cyclo-cross race in the US," Buchanan said. "We will be under the lights again in 2012. We worked to continue that in 2011 but the resources are not available. We will keep the night race tradition and streak going with the Singlespeed Shootout Eliminator Presented by MetaFilter/Bike Hugger. This will be a scratch race format on a short lit course using a track racing format."
Buchanan and his co-promoter Zac Daab took over Rad Racing GP from its previous owner, due to a personal matter, in order to keep the two back-to-back events thriving during the nation's early cyclo-cross season. Rapha-Focus came on board as a title sponsor and the event was newly named Rapha-Focus Gran Prix for the 2011 season.
"We have taken over the Rad Racing GP from Rad Racing NW," Buchanan said. "The director of Rad Racing NW's father passed away late in the summer. It turned his life upside down and his mom needed a lot of support. We took over to keep two great days of UCI racing going in the Seattle area. This is all part of the reason both races are at the same venue this year."