February 17, 2021
USA Cycling has released the Pro CX calendar for the 2021 season. Pro CX contains many (although not all) of the most important cyclocross races for elite athletes happening on USA soil in 2021.
Let's take a look at the Pro CX calendar and the implications of some of the dates on it.
USA Cycling's Professional Cyclocross ("Pro CX") is a national series of ranked races, with the goal of establishing the best individual male and female cyclocross riders in the United States.
This doesn't mean that the Pro CX is a complete listing of all the cyclocross races in the USA, far from it. USA cycling has created another, second series called the American Cyclocross Calendar, ("ACXC") for non-UCI events that may seek to become part of the Pro CX calendar in the future. It's intended to be a "feeder" system into the Pro CX calendar. The ACCX calendar is here.
Generally, the Pro CX calendar for 2021 contains every 2021 cyclocross race on USA soil that is designated as a UCI C1 or C2 event. Those are:
|Sept. 18||GO Cross presented by Deschutes Brewery||Roanoke, VA||C2|
|Sept. 19||GO Cross presented by Deschutes Brewery||Roanoke, VA||C2|
|Sept. 25||Rochester Cyclocross||Rochester, NY||C1|
|Sept. 26||Rochester Cyclocross||Rochester, NY||C2|
|Oct. 2||Charm City Cross||Baltimore, MD||
|Oct. 3||Charm City Cross||Baltimore, MD||C2|
|Oct. 8||Trek Cup||Waterloo, WI||C2|
|Oct. 15||Jingle Cross||Iowa City, IA||C2|
|Oct. 16||Jingle Cross||Iowa City, IA||
|Oct. 23||Kings CX||Mason, OH||C1|
|Oct. 24||Kings CX||Mason, OH||C2|
|Oct. 30||Major Taylor 'Cross Cup||Indianapolis, IN||
|Oct. 31||Major Taylor 'Cross Cup||Indianapolis, IN||
|Nov. 6||The Northampton International||Northampton, MA||C2|
|Nov. 7||The Northampton International||Northampton, MA||C2|
|Nov. 13||Really Rad Festival of Cyclocross||Falmouth, MA||C2|
|Nov. 14||Really Rad Festival of Cyclocross||Falmouth, MA||C2|
|Nov. 20||North Carolina Grand Prix||Hendersonville, NC||C2|
|Nov. 21||North Carolina Grand Prix||Hendersonville, NC||C2|
At the beginning of the 2021 season, the United States hosts three World Cup events - none of these three world-level races are part of the Pro CX calendar, but since they are on USA soil (unusual) they will certainly attract all the heavy-hitters.
Cyclocross clearly spills into 2022 (the World Championships come to Fayetteville, Arkansas, USA at the end of January 2022) but the Pro CX portion of the calendar ends with the North Carolina Grand Prix, Nov. 21, 2021. So what happens after the Pro CX calendar ends?
Athletes will still have some key events remaining:
That means an athlete named to the World Championship team would need to fill 6 weeks in between events - too long to go without racing, so that small circle of athletes will need to look elsewhere to maintain their race fitness - outside of the Pro CX calendar domestically, or perhaps Europe.
Additionally, there are plenty of great local, even national-calibre events, who may elect not to pursue a UCI event. DCCX, for example, has indicated they will move forward with a Fall 2021 event, but it won't be under the UCI umbrella as it has been in the past.
It won't be possible for an athlete to pursue both the UCI World Cup and the Pro CX calendar at the same time. In addition to the massive (impossible) travel requirements, many of the dates are in conflict, so athletes chasing a season-long ranking will select one or the other.
On the Elite women's side, fan favorite Katie Compton has announced her retirement, following the 2021/22 cyclocross season. Additionally, she'll plan to race only in the United States, skipping Europe for her final season. Previously, she has missed many domestic events as her focus has been in Europe. The start of the Pro CX is many months away, but she'll be a force to be reckoned with.
For the Elite men, I think it's safe to count Curtis White out, based on his recent comments regarding his 2020/21 European campaign. He seems to have his eyes on Europe for future growth. That would leave Kerry Werner or Gage Hecht as a possible front-runner, depending on their European campaign plans.
The vast majority of the 2020/21 cyclocross scene was cancelled in the United States due to the pandemic. It's too early to consider the possible impacts for 2021/22, perhaps we'll know more by July.
Until then ride safe and watch this space.
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