Winston-Salem the next test for USA National Calendar contenders

The USA Cycling national road and criterium calendar series continue this weekend in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, just days after the country's governing body announced the city will host next year's US Pro and masters national championship races.

Defending women's road race winner Shelley Olds said she was excited to come back to her home country after racing with her Bigla team in Europe.

“We just found out that our national championships for 2016-2017 (road race) will be in Winston-Salem, so that makes it even more exciting there this weekend. I expect the racing to be very exciting this year, with the field growing and including more international professional teams," Olds said.

The women's field is far more international than the men's this year, with Swiss team Bigla being joined by Alé-Cipollini from Italy, Kazakhstan's Astana Acca Due O, BTC City Ljubljana from Slovenia, the Colombian national team, Grassi Pro Cycling from Mexico, Hitec Products of Norway, Canada's SAS-Mazda Macogep team and Velocio-SRAM from Germany in addition to all of the top US teams.

Missing from the roster is the Boels-Dolmans team of new US champion Megan Guarnier, but the field is still stacked with talent including runner-up Coryn Rivera (UnitedHealthcare), Canadian champion Leah Kirchmann (Optum), Carmen Small (Twenty16) and Lauren Stephens (Team Tibco-SVB).

On the men's side, defending champion Travis McCabe (Team SmartStop) returns with teammate and US criterium champion Eric Marcotte. UnitedHealthcare will be looking for revenge after a puncture took Keil Reijnen out of the running for the US Pro national championship last weekend.

Toms Skujins, who led the Tour of California for three stages, will compete with his Hincapie Racing team, and Chris Horner and his Airgas-Safeway squad will look to finally score a victory.

The racing begins on Saturday with the NCC Winston-Salem Criterium (17:00 women, 18:30 men EDT) and concludes on Sunday with the UCI 1.2-ranked Winston-Salem Classic road race (12:30 women, 15:30 men). Both can be watched live on Cyclingnews.

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