US Pro GRT to kick off in Port Angeles, Washington

South African Greg Minnaar (Santa Cruz Syndicate) was the quickest over the course.

South African Greg Minnaar (Santa Cruz Syndicate) was the quickest over the course. (Image credit: Tour of Japan)

Although the World Cup cross country racers are busy getting underway with their opening round in Dalby, United Kingdom, this weekend, the gravity racers still have nearly a month to go until their World Cup opens in Slovenia. That said, many of the top international racers who journeyed to the Sea Otter Classic last weekend have decided to race the US Pro GRT opener in Port Angeles, Washington, this weekend.

The first of five rounds will include racers such as former World Champion Greg Minnaar (Santa Cruz Syndicate) and former World Cup Champ Josh Bryceland (Santa Cruz Syndicate), as well as 17-year-old American phenom Neko Mulally (Trek World Racing) and reigning USA Cycling National Champion Aaron Gwin (Yeti-Fox Shox). Other American riders to keep an eye on will be Duncan Riffle (Team Giant), Joey Schusler (Yeti-Fox Shox), and Chris Boice (Yeti-Fox Shox).

Justin Leov (Trek World Racing), Jared Rando (Giant), Danny Hart (Giant), Bryn Atkinson (Transition), Lars Sternberg (Transition), Luke Strobel (MS Evil), Steve Smith (MS Evil), Dan Atherton (Commencal), Ben Reid (Dirt Norco) and Dan Stanbridge (Dirt Norco) are some others who could podium.

In the women's competition, 2008 Olympic bronze medalist Jill Kintner (Transition Racing) will be up against other world-class riders like former World Champion Rachel Atherton (Commencal) and former World Cup champ Tracy Moseley (Trek World Racing).

The action officially gets under way with a Pro GRT kick-off party on Friday night, seeding runs on Saturday, and the finals on Sunday.

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Sue George is an editor at Cyclingnews.  She coordinates all of the site's mountain bike race coverage and assists with the road, 'cross and track coverage.