Cyclocross Weekend Preview: North America & International

Photo: Natalia Boltukhova | Pedal Power Photography | 2011

North America

Cross After Dark Round #4 – Spooky Cross (C2/C2)

The inagural Cross After Dark series winds down this weekend in Irvine, CA. The four race series (CrossVegas,StarCrossed, Gateway Cross Cup) has seen a different winner at each of its previous three races. Nearly all of the current top-ten are in Europe for the first round of the World Cup. As a result, Ben Berden, who is currently second overall, looks to be in the driver’s seat for the overall.

The two day UCI event should provide some great action in Southern California. Ryan Trebon should be the heavy favorite, but surprises are usually the name of the game in SoCal. Last year, Chris Horner made an appearance, but right now there is no word on whether on not he’ll be there this year.

Granouge (C2/C2)

Often considered the “Queen of the Mid Atlantic,” Granouge delivers two days of UCI action in northern Delaware on the beautiful DuPont estate. Despite it being a virtual who’s-who of mid Atlantic talent, the winner will most likely come from outside of the region. The heavy favorite is Justin Lindine, who is fresh off of a pair of back-to-back UCI victories. Canadians Mike Garrigan and Derrick St. John have been racing well over the past few weeks and a win for either rider is not out of the question. Troy Wells will make the trip to Delaware and, after his success last weekend, could prove to be the spoiler.

The Philadelphia Cyclocross School is bringing a full squad to Granouge and, despite their Swiss nationality, they could be the mid Atlantic’s best hope for a victory. Local rider Jeff Bahnson will be making his long awaited debut as a U23 rider. All eyes will be on the youngster to see how he fairs against this strong field. Finally, the battle of the Keough brothers will be in full swing with Jesse, Luke and Nick all making the trip.

Europe

IX Cyclocross de Villarcayo (C2)

Villarcayo, Spain hosts the only European UCI race this weekend (except for World Cup Round 1). Last year the race was dominated by a couple of Belgians who made the trip to pick up UCI points. Odds are that the predominately Spanish race will once again see a few foreign riders making the trip. If Sven Beelen makes the trip, he will be the odds on favorite. The top Spanish rider should be Isaac Fernandez, but my pick for would be Spanish National Champion Javier Ibanez.

The big deal over in Europe is, of course, the World Cup race in Plzen. You can check out our full preview of the World Cup published separately this morning. 

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