Colorado Springs, Colo. (Dec. 28, 2011) — Nearly 1,000 of the nation’s top off-road bicycle racers will descend upon Madison, Wisconsin for the first USA Cycling national championship of the 2012 season. The USA Cycling Cyclo-cross National Championships will kick-off the New Year, Jan. 4-8 in Dane County’s Badger Prairie Park.
After successfully hosting the previous two editions of the USA Cycling Collegiate Road National Championships, bike-friendly Madison has proven itself a worthy host of USA Cycling’s most highly participated national championship. Traditionally taking place the second week of December, the 2012 edition will mark the first time the cyclo-cross national championships will be held in the month of January; better aligning with the international calendar.
Thirty-six national titles will be on the line as ‘cross racers of all ages battle each other, and mother nature, in a race described as the steeple chase of bike racing. The 2.1-mile European-style course is sure to challenge competitors with world-class obstacles like run-ups and fly-overs and features a gradual climb beginning approximately a half-mile from the start of each lap and plenty of width to allow passing nearly throughout. View the complete course profile here. The festival-like cyclo-cross atmosphere at Badger Prairie Park will include an ice shanty contest, tech and gear expo, various food vendors, beer gardens, warm-up tents provided by Saris and a slew of ancillary activities.
For the first time, with the exception of the elite, U23, and collegiate categories, riders will earn start spots based on their USA Cycling ranking.
Top Elite Contenders
The nation’s top elite men’s and women’s cyclo-cross racers, including 2009 national champion Tim Johnson (Beverly, Mass./Cannondale) and world championship silver medalist Katie Compton (Colorado Springs, Colo./Rabobank), are expected to toe the line on Sunday in defense of their coveted Stars-and-Stripes national championship jerseys.
Johnson will be up against riders like U.S. Intl. Cyclo-cross Calendar leader Jeremy Powers (East Hampton, Mass.), as well as 2008 champ Ryan Trebon (Bend, Ore./KONA). Lee Unwin (Madison, Wisc.) will be amongst the local riders looking to pull off the upset in the elite men’s division.
For Compton, who is once again in the hunt for the overall World Cup title and a strong contender for the world title, a win in Madison would signify her eighth consecutive elite ‘cross national title. Expected to join her on course will be several other strong female contenders, including: last year’s bronze medalist Meredith Miller (Fort Collins, Colo./Team TIBCO) and Amy Dombroski (Boulder, Colo.) who has been hot on the World Cup circuit. Nineteen year-old Kaitlin Antonneau of Racine, Wisconsin (Cannondale p/b Cyclo-crossWorld.com) is also likely to make waves in the elite women’s contest after scoring top 10 finishes in elite world cup competition this season.
The nation’s top collegiate cyclo-cross racers will take to the Badger Prairie course Saturday and Sunday as the 2011-2012 collegiate cycling season continues with the third of five national championship events. Individual champions will be awarded in both Division I and Division II as well as a team overall champion factoring in both men’s and women’s placings.