Fontana draws elite mountain bike stars for US Cup Series

  
  


Wells Chasing Bishop
Todd Wells chases Jeremiah Bishop at last year's Fontana race. 
Fontana, Calif. (March 20, 2014) -- Coming just one week after round 2 of the 2014 USA Cycling US Cup Series presented by Sho-Air Cycling Group in Bonelli Park, Fontana will host round 3 of the world-class mountain bike race series. Top racers, such as Bonelli Park winners Geoff Kabush (CAN/Scott-3Rox Racing) and Katerina Nash (CZE/Luna Pro Team), will be on the start line in Fontana, Calif., on Saturday, March 22.
 
"We're excited to host many of the world's best mountain bikers for a second week in a row here in California," said Sho-Air President Scott Tedro.  "We expect some more tight battles among North America's and Europe's elite stars in Fontana.”
 
The Fontana race will be a UCI categorized C1 race.
 
Series standings ahead of Fontana
 
At the halfway point of the USA Cycling US Cup Series, Canadian Geoff Kabush and Czech Republic native Katerina Nash head into round 3 in Fontana atop the standings.
Kabush leads the men's standings with 80 points ahead of round 1 Mellow Johnny's Classic winner Max Plaxton (CAN/Cannondale Factory Racing) with 64 points, US Short Track National Champion Todd Wells (Durango, Colo./Specialized Racing) with 56 points, Jeremiah Bishop (Harrisonburg, Va./Sho-Air Cannondale) with 45 points and Sergio Mantecon Gutierrez (ESP/Trek Factory Racing) with 37 points.
 
Nash is ranked number one among the women with 80 points after winning both the Mellow Johnny's Classic and Bonelli Park.  Her teammate Catherine Pendrel (CAN/Luna Pro Team) is second with 64 points while Emily Batty (CAN/Trek Factory Racing) has moved up to third overall with 57 points.  Daniela Campuzano (MEX/Mexican National Team) has 49 points in fourth while Geogia Gould (Fort Collins, Colo./Luna Pro Team) rounds out the top five with 47 points.
 
Standings could see a shakeup at Fontana, where the men's and women's winners will collect 25 points for their victories. And all racers, including the winners, will pick up an extra five points for lining up on the start line.
 
Complete US Cup Pro Series standings.
 
The elite men's contenders
 
USA Cycling US Cup Series leader Kabush will face some tough competition in the elite men's race in Fontana.  Kabush, a veteran racer with many years of experience, powered to victory last weekend at Bonelli Park after riding a tactically smart race while his rivals took turn attacking and tiring out their legs.
 
Among the other North Americans to watch are Plaxton, Wells and American Stephen Ettinger (Bozeman, Mont./BMC). Wells won in Fontana in 2010 and 2013 while Plaxton earned the victory there in 2011.  Both riders are highly motivated to do well in the series, with Plaxton now sitting in second place overall after his third-place Bonelli Park finish and Wells in third place overall after his fourth-place Bonelli Park finish.  US Cross Country National Champion Ettinger missed round 1, but came on strong in round 2 as the second-best placed American.
 
Plaxton's Cannondale European teammates, including Marco Fontana of Italy and Manuel Fumic of Germany cannot be counted out.  Fontana played a big role in the outcome of the Bonelli Park cross country with an attack mid-race, and he also won the short track race the next day.  
 
Bonelli Park runner-up Mantecon now sits in fifth place in the series after proving he is on form and able to mix it up with the best this past weekend.
 
Sho-Air/Cannondale will be well represented with top riders Bishop, Sam Schultz (Missoula, Mont.) and Alex Grant (Salt Lake City, Utah).  Bishop, who is currently fourth in the USA Cycling US Cup series, made it to Bonelli Park last weekend just in time to race after the birth of his second child while Schultz continues his comeback after nearly a year out of competition due to a back injury.
 
The elite women's contenders
 
After winning both the cross country and short track races at Bonelli Park and the USA Cycling US Cup series opener at Mellow Johnny's, Nash is undoubtedly the woman to beat in round 3 in Fontana.  She'll again have the support of her super strong teammates, Pendrel and Gould.  Between the three Luna ladies, they've got three of the top five spots in the USA Cycling US Cup Pro Series covered.  
 
Batty proved she was on form in Bonelli with a third-place finish.  The consistent Canadian, racing thus far without teammates, is sitting in third overall in the series.
 
Campuzana has showed up consistently at both rounds of the USA Cycling US Cup Pro Series so far and after finishing fourth at Bonelli Park, is fourth overall in the series.
 
Evelyn Dong's (Park City, Utah/Backcountry.com) fifth place finish at Bonelli Park did not go unnoticed and she continues to climb the elite domestic ranks.
 
The favorites can't count out Mary Mcconneloug (Chilmark, Mass./Kenda-Stans No Tubes) and Pua Mata (Yucaipa, Calif./Sho-Air - Cannondale) of the United States and the up and coming Mikaela Kofman (Scott 3 Rox Racing) of Canada.  All three put in top 10 finishes at Bonelli Park.
 
The course
 
Though it is essentially an urban race, the venue at Southridge Park in Fontana is much closer to the edge of the Los Angeles metropolis - nearly in the desert.  The "classic" mountain bike course covers 3.5 miles and has 650 feet of climbing per lap and features smooth, flowing singletrack on a bald, treeless hill.  It also includes lots of rocks and roots, which creates a racing experience unlike any other presently found within the US Cup circuit.
 
Free live video streaming
 
Building upon the success of the live video streaming offered for rounds 1 and 2 of the USA Cycling US Cup Series presented by the Sho-Air Cycling Group, round 3 at Fontana will again be streamed free online at a dedicated page under USA Cycling's (www.USACycling.org) YouTube page. The direct link is http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t0DP4EHdYmM.
 
Saturday, March 23 Bonelli Park Race Schedule, all times Pacific Daylight Time / Local California Time
 
11h00 - 11h15 PDT: Elite women cross country - staging and call-up
11h15 - 13h15 PDT: Elite women cross country race 
13h30 - 13h45 PDT: Elite men cross country - staging and call-up
13h45 - 15h45 PDT: Elite men cross country race 
15h50 - 16h00 PDT: Elite women and men cross country podium ceremony *
 
* Please note that the joint podium ceremony is different than previously published.
 
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