Crank Bros US Grand Prix of Cyclocross Series takes on European Flair Friday, October 01, 2004
BOSTON – Reigning Italian national champion Daniele
Pontoni is planning to race all six events in the
inaugural Crank Brothers U.S. Gran Prix of Cyclocross,
bringing all the luster of a former two-time world
champion to the series, which kicks off on Saturday
Oct. 9th with the Cannondale Stumptown Cyclocross
Classic, in Portland, Oregon.
Pontoni, who finished fourth in the World Championship
last February, is no stranger to either the American
cyclocross scene or the North American favorites. He
raced here in Supercup events in 1999 and 2000, and
those who competed against him know what kind of
impact the Italian is likely to have in 2004.
“If Pontoni competes in the whole series, he’ll be the
man to beat from what I’ve seen of him,” said Clif
Bar-Colvita Olive Oil rider Mark McCormack, himself a
former national champion. “He was untouchable last
“I think it will be good for the series,” said another
former U.S. national champion, Todd Wells, who is
riding for GT-Hyundai this year. “The more ‘fast guys’
in the race, the less tactical it will be. That means
the strongest riders will win, and that will make for
more exciting races.”
Neither McCormack nor Wells appear intimidated by
Pontoni’s presence in the races. They still expect
fierce competition from each other and an exceptional
list of favorites, which include Marc Gullickson
(Redline), Team Kona’s Dale Knapp and Eric Tonkin,
Ryan Trebon and the Team Maxxis-Giant trio of Geoff
Kabush, Adam Craig and Jonny Sundt.
“All the top guys will be racing the Gran Prix
events,” Kabush said from his home in Victoria,
British Columbia. “With Pontoni coming over, it’ll be
exciting. Still, with six races, someone will beat him
– you can’t help but have a bad day.”
Kabush’s Maxxis-Giant team has already been identified
as perhaps the force to be reckoned with in the
series. Kabush and Craig – a six time national
cyclocross champion in his own right – have posted
sterling seasons on the mountain bike circuit and come
into the cross season with great legs. Sundt,
meanwhile, has already won several early season events
this year and is clearly hungry for more.
“The team is super solid and I’m very excited about
the U.S Gran Prix of Cyclocross,” said team manager
Eric Wallace, ticking off his team’s successes.
Wallace credits the new series and its title sponsor
Crank Brothers with bringing all the top North
American riders – and now Pontoni – together to
compete head to head. “We all remember the days of the
Super Cup and the caliber of athletes that followed
that series,” Wallace notes. “The U.S Gran Prix of
Cyclocross will certainly take over the footsteps
vacated by Super Cup and reestablish a single series
that holds cache value and prestige.”
In addition to Crank Brothers, other sponsors of the
U.S Gran Prix of Cyclocross include presenting sponsor
VeloNews, Selle Italia, Mavic, Clif Bar, Adidas, and
The Crank Brothers U.S. Gran Prix of Cyclocross Series
schedule for 2004 is as follows:
Race 1: October 9 – Cannondale Stumptown Cyclocross
Classic, Portland, OR.
Race 2: October 10 – Clif Bar Grand Prix, Ft.
Steilacoom Park, Tacoma, WA.
Race 3: October 30- Michelob Ultra Gran Prix of
Gloucester #1, Stage Fort Park, Gloucester, MA.
Race 4: October 31- Michelob Ultra Gran Prix of
Gloucester #2, Stage Fort Park, Gloucester, MA.
Race 5: November 20- Beacon CX, Bridgeton, NJ.
Race 6: November 21- Highland Park Cyclocross,
Donaldson Park, Highland Park, NJ.
All six races will be held under UCI category and
competition regulations. U.S. Gran Prix of Cyclocross
Series leaders will be recognized at the conclusion of
each event. Overall winners in the Elite Men, Elite
Women, U-23, and Junior Men categories will receive
automatic selection to the World Cyclocross
Championships in St. Wendel, Germany in February,
2005. Master 35+ Men will also be ranked. Races in
Massachusetts and New Jersey are part of the Verge
NECCS and Verge MACCS.
For complete U.S. Gran Prix of Cyclocross details, go
to www.usgpcyclocross.com .