Top Belgian cyclo-cross professionals Bart Wellens and Rob Peeters will start their 2011-2012 season in the USA, beginning with the evening CrossVegas and StarCrossed events.
Both races are part of the new Cross After Dark series. The Telenet-Fidea team riders will also compete in the Rad Racing GP in Washington state.
CrossVegas kicks off the series on Wednesday, September 14 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The StarCrossed race follows on September 17 with the Rad Racing GP the following day, both in the Seattle area.
"We are extremely excited to begin our campaign in the U.S.," said Telenet Fidea manager Hans van Kasteren. "Bart has raced road on the east coast of the U.S. with Timothy Johnson, but looks forward to his U.S. cyclo-cross debut on the West Coast."
The American 'cross scene has attracted European riders in the past, but changes to the points rules and the arrival of the World Championships on US shores in 2013 could see an increased influx of talent from overseas. Last season Francis Mourey padded out his UCI points with victories in CrossVegas, StarCrossed and the Rad Racing GP, allowing him to start the European season fourth in the UCI rankings and on a front row start for the World Cup.
CrossVegas promoter Brook Watts said, "I've been preaching the benefits of the early season U.S. races to the Europeans for some time, I think we're at the tipping point now where they see the value in making a trip over here to compete against our top pros who start the season well prepped."
New for the 2011 season, the Cross After Dark national cyclo-cross series connects America's four premiere nighttime Cyclo-cross races: CrossVegas, StarCrossed, Gateway Cross Cup, and Spooky Cross.
CrossVegas kicks off the series with its mid-week race during the annual Interbike bicycle trade show in Las Vegas, Nevada on September 14th. StarCrossed celebrates its 10th Anniversary this year at a new venue, PGP Motorsports Park in Kent, Washington on September 17th.
The series moves to St. Louis, Missouri for the mid-week Gateway Cross Cup on September 21st, and then concludes on October 15th with a SoCal tradition, Spooky Cross in Irvine, California.
Complete Series details will be available at www.crossafterdark.com