First race of new US cross country series March 29

Big names coming to Southridge, California

The nation’s new professional cross country mountain bike series, the USA Cycling Pro Mountain Bike Cross Country Tour presented by Sho-Air (ProXCT), will kick-off on March 29 with the Fontana City National in Southridge, California. 

The Fontana National is the first of seven International Cycling Union (UCI) sanctioned races making up the 2009 Pro XCT. The Pro XCT is designed to offer top off road racers a consistent competitive stage, and according to organisers, is the only one of its kind in America made up exclusively of events offering UCI points.

A stacked field of more than 80 of the continent’s top riders will be showcased in Sunday’s men’s pro race, scheduled for 2:30 p.m. Nearly every top American rider -- including U.S. Olympians Adam Craig (Giant) and Todd Wells (Specialized) -- as well as Canadian and Australian champions Max Plaxton (Sho-air/Specialized) and Sid Taberlay, will test their fitness in southern California. Former road, mountain bike and triathlon racer Steve Larsen will also battle it out during five laps on the 5.2-mile loop just outside of Southridge.

Women's race

The 11:30 a.m. women’s event will offer similar star-power, with Subaru-Gary Fisher’s Heather Irmiger and Willow Koerber facing off against Luna’s Georgia Gould and Canadian Catharine Pendrel.

The three-man USA Cycling Mountain Bike National Development Team will also kick-off their 2009 campaign at Fontana. Youngsters Tad Elliott, Ethan Gilmour and Rob Squire will test their skills against North America’s best as they prepare for a season which will include a number of European races and four UCI World Cup events.

The Pro XCT will also include a leader’s jersey and number plates for the top 15 riders as well as comprehensive individual and team series rankings. The Fontana kick-off of the Pro XCT will also mark the beginning of the new USA Cycling mountain bike domestic pro team programme.

US Cup Series continues

The Fontana National, also the second stop on the Kenda Cup West portion of the U.S. Cup Series, will begin on March 28 and will also include amateur cross country competitions. For more information, visit www.southridgeusa.com.

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