US Gran Prix of Cyclo-cross kicks off at Planet Bike Cup

An overview of the competitors vying for the USGP overall title

Jeremy Powers and Georgia Gould are confirmed to start the series opener at the Planet Bike Cup. Powers’ four victories during last year’s series earned him the overall title ahead of Tim Johnson and Todd Wells. Gould’s double victories combined with consistent podium places during last season awarded her the overall title in the women’s category ahead of Meredith Miller (Cal Giant-Specialized) and her teammate Katerina Nash.

International riders confirmed to contest some of the series events include former two-time world champion Bart Wellens (Telenet-Fidea) who recently won back-to-back races at StarCrossed p/b Stanley and Rapha-Focus Gran Prix. He will be joined by his teammate Rob Peeters. Other world caliber riders include Ben Berden (Stoemper), who is committed to racing the entire series along with Tim van Nuffel and Christian Heule (Cannondale p/b

Domestic talents include Heule’s teammates Tim Johnson and Jamey Driscoll, Jonathan Page (Planet Bike-Blue), Ryan Trebon (LTS-Felt), Tristan Schouten (ISCorp), Cody Kaiser (Cal Giant-Specialized), Chris Jones and Zac McDonald (Rapha-Focus), Ryan Knapp (Bob’s Red Mill) and Todd Wells (Specialized Racing).

“Todd Wells will be racing a lighter cross schedule this season because his focus is on the Olympics for Mountain Bike but he is going to race in Sun Prairie for sure along with the other Specialized teammates Max Plaxton and Lea Davison,” Hanscom said.

One the women’s side, Gould and Nash will take the starting line at some events along with Compton, Katie Antonneau and Nicole Druse Duke (Cannondale p/b, Meredith Miller and Teal Stetson-Lee (Cal Giant-Specialized), Caroline Mani (SRAM), Ashley James (KCCX Elite) and Sue Butler (River City Bicycles-Ridley).

Exergy Development Group recently signed on as the title sponsor of the USGP series. The additional support will allow race promoters to provide equal prize money for the top five places among the elite men and women’s categories.

“We were the first national series to pay equal to the Pro women in the Elite fields to the top three spots and have been doing so for years including the C1 events,” Hanscom said. “This year we will pay equal for the women for the top five spots.”

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