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Sprinters fired up for new US Pro course

The top sprinters across the United States of America are chomping at the bit to contest the AT&T US Pro Criterium Championships, relocated to the Village of Glencoe, Illinois, on Saturday, August 14. The championship event was relocated this year after being held in Downers Grove for 23 years.

Race director Jon Knouse is the promoter of the original Glencoe Grand Prix Bike Race, a series of criteriums for eite men and women category one-five, masters and juniors. Knouse is now working with Special Events Management to host the US Pro Criterium Championships, where the men will contest a 100km race on a two-kilometre criterium circuit.

“In my view, I think everyone will love it,” said Knouse. “This is a case in point. Tactics for this race are unknown. Some may try to get away or it may end up in a bunch sprint, that’s the beauty of the new venue. We’ll all be watching the tactics and race unfold for the very first time together which is unbelievably exciting to us.

“The Glencoe Grand Prix was voted race of the year in 2008 and 2009 by the Illinois Cycling Association, so we were committed to putting on a first class regional bike race even before USA Cycling graciously allowed us to host this year’s event,” he added. “And we are working overtime to ensure that folks will remember Glencoe for a long time as a very enthusiastic cycling town.”

Defending champion John Murphy (BMC Racing), who placed second to Australian Ben Kersten (Fly V Australia) last year, will not be competing in the championship event. He is currently racing at the Tour de L'Ain in France.

“Of course we would have loved to have him with us, it’s always good for races when the current champion defends his title,” Knouse said. “But we’ve got a first-rate field and plenty of folks including Rahsaan Bahati, who, had he not fallen in Downers Grove last year, would probably have won the race, Jonathan Cantwell, Karl Menzies and Ivan Dominguez among others, who frankly could very easily make this year’s crowd forget that Murphy is racing in France instead.”

Despite Murphy’s absence the field will include an international mix of sprinters lead by last year’s race winner Kersten. The event has a long history of being recognised as a dual event allowing foreign riders to participate alongside the Americans. The first American rider to cross the line will win the prestigious stars and stripes jersey.

“I think the field is excellent and I can’t wait for them to race in our town,” Knouse said.

The field will include a full roster from nearly every Continental team that competes in the US in support of Amerian sprinters such as Ivan Dominguez (Jamis-Sutter Home), Kyle Wamsley (Bissell), Michael Friedman (Jelly Belly-Kenda), Alex Candelario (Kelly Benefit Strategies), Jake Keough (UnitedHealthcare-Maxxis), Rahsaan Bahati (Bahati Foundation), Ken Hanson (Team Type 1), Chad Hartley (Kenda-Geargrinder), Issac Howe (Mountain Khakis-Jittery Joes), Zachary Davies (Fly V Australia) and Cody Stevenson (Adageo Energy).

“I think that the venue has improved the quality of the field from the standpoint that it is new,” Knouse said. “There is a palpable buzz about this being different and while tradition is always important, a fresh viewpoint on a classic idea can be very exciting. This is what we plan to offer.”

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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.

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