The top ranked racers of the North American Cyclo-cross Trophy (NACT) eight-round series will take on rounds five and six at the UCI C2-ranked Colorado Cross Classic p/b Webroot held on Saturday, October 30 and the UCI C1-ranked Victory Circle Graphix Boulder Cup held on Sunday, October 31.
Wendy Simms (Front Runners-Ridley) will no doubt want to maintain her rank as the series' overall leader in the Elite women's category. On the Elite men's side, overall leader Francis Mourey (FDJ) has returned to France leaving the series wide open to a new rider to take the top spot in the standings.
The women's rows will be lined with talent including reigning US national champion and recent World Cup winner Katie Compton (Planet Bike) and the US Gran Prix of Cyclo-cross (USGP) leader Georgia Gould (Luna Pro). Also in the mix is Meredith Miller and Teal Stetson-Lee (Cal Giant-Specialized), Kathy Sherwin (Hudz-Subaru), Maureen Bruno Roy (Bob's Red Mill-Seven Cycles), Kerry Barnholt (Scott-Ritchey), and Barbara Howe (IBIS and the Danger Twins).
"The feeling is that the field is as good as it gets," said Tim Shea, Colorado Cross Classic promoter. "On the women's side the field is unbelievably strong. On the men's side, we are happy to report that we have a deep field, the who's who of top US racers are racing here this weekend. That speaks to these two races being part of the NACT, being UCI events and the location of Boulder."
Francis Mourey (FDJ) returned to his homeland along with strong overseas contenders Christian Heule (Champion System) and Jonathan Page (Planet Bike). However, the men's field will not suffer from a lack of talent with riders like US national champion Tim Johnson (Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld.com, who is tied with his teammate and USGP leader Jeremy Powers for second place in the series overall standings.
Other notable contenders include Ryan Trebon and Barry Wicks (Kona-FSA), Adam Craig (Rabobank-Giant Off Road Team), Chris Jones (Rapha-Focus), Todd Wells (Specialized-Cal Giant), Davide Frattini (Hudz-Subaru), Nick Weighall and Jesse Anthony (Cal Giant-Specialized), Geoff Kabush (Maxxis-Rocky Mountain), Danny Summerhill (Garmin) and Peter Webber (Boulder Cyclo Sport).
The weekend's racing will kick off with a C2 level event at the Colorado Cross Classic p/b Webroot on Saturday. The event marks round five of the NACT series. Organizers created a brand new course situated on a well-known cyclo-cross stomping ground at the Boulder Reservoir. Racers can expect several lengthy sand pits, a highlight of the site's natural terrain. Racers will be forced to dismount coming out of the sand in order to run up a newly created three-step stair case located on the sandpit exit.
"We have a ride out here commonly referred to as the Wednesday Worlds that attracts a lot of racers," Shea said. "This is an iconic venue used for big local races and some of the bigger national caliber races. I've hired Peter Webber, reigning Colorado State elite champion and national age group champion to lay out a new and different UCI caliber course."
The racing will continue on Halloween Day with a C1 level event at the Victory Circle Graphix Boulder Cup at the FlatIron Crossing Shopping Center & Frank Varra Park in Broomfield on Sunday. The event marks round six of the NACT series.
The Boulder Cup is recognized as one of the most popular cyclo-cross events in the nation. The course is held in a highly spectator friendly setting where fans will be able to watch nearly the entire race from several vantage points on the upper half. The stadium style venue will offer the racers a several grass climbs, a sand pit and lengthy straightaways. Racers can expect dry course conditions with temperatures in mid-70s Fahrenheit and minimal chance of precipitation on both days.
"There will be lots of off camber and a fair bit of deep grass," said press officer Jason Sumner. "There is substantial elevation change between the upper level, where the Mall is, and the base of the park on the lower level. The crux will be anytime you have to go from the lower area to the upper area. There is one run up with a set of barrier and a second hill that riders will likely be able to ride up."
Change to NACT series finale venue
The NACT Director Brook Watts recently announced that the series finale has been relocated to the UCI Bay State Cyclo-cross held on November 27 and 28 in Sterling, Massachusetts.
The series traditionally ended at the Whitmore's Landscaping Super Cross Cup for two seasons, however outdoor construction on the venue forced organizers to move its race to a new location in Long Island and lose its UCI C2 status. The event will now be a member of the Mid Atlantic Cyclo-cross (MAC) series. The newly instated NACT series finale in Sterling will decide the winners of the overall title and the prized heavy weight trophy belts.
"It's a natural fit for NACT," Watts said. "Race director Tom Stevens has a reputation for some of the best courses nationwide, the race attracts the cream of the cross field and the timing fits nicely with the season schedule."
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Kirsten Frattini is an honours graduate of Kinesiology and Health Science from York University in Toronto, Canada. She has been involved in cycling from the community and grassroots level to professional cycling's WorldTour. She has worked in both print and digital publishing, and started with Cyclingnews as a North American Correspondent in 2006. Moving into a Production Editor's role in 2014, she produces and publishes international race coverage for all men's and women's races including Spring Classics, Grand Tours, World Championships and Olympic Games, and writes and edits news and features. As the Women's Editor at Cyclingnews, Kirsten also coordinates and oversees the global coverage of races, news, features and podcasts about women's professional cycling.