This will be the best contested Star Crossed yet. It's always weird at the first race of the season, but there shouldn't be to many surprises. The big names include, the Wells' brothers, Cyclocrossworld's Powers and Johnson, Team Giant Graig and Decker, Team Kona Trebon, Wicks, Tonkin, and Sneddon, westside all stars Cameron, Skerrit, Woras, Stevenson, Swanson, Iddings, and Neyens. We've also got 06 champ Andy Jacque Maynes. I looked into any early season training and found a couple tips. My pick for Star Crossed is Trebon. He's got a teammate in Wicks who will make the final selection. Don't be surprised if Wicks goes for the W. Sometimes in the early season Trebon works for Wicks. It depends on who's feeling good. My top 5 is Trebon, Powers, Wicks, Craig, and Johnson. While he's my favorite crosser Timmy J is coming off the Tour of Missouri and probably hasn't put to much cross specific training in. Besides he never has a good early season, and the non technical course doesn't favor him. Trebon ends up being to powerful. Expect most of the top 15 to be covered by the pros listed above. If your looking for sleepers and up and comers here's a brief run-down for cross nerds like myself; Chris Parrish is one to watch, he's a WWU grad and seems to get better every year, he placed well at U23 nats last year and if he has a good race watch for him in the top 15. Bart Gillespie, yes the best working man cyclist will be there, the guy is a killer and don't be surprised to seem him riding comfortably with the front group. Other up and comers Kyle McGivalry, Ben Chaddock, two young guys with great cross specific skills, mostly just racing the local scenes but I wouldn't put a top 20 past either of them.
As for sleepers in the front group watch out for Russell Stevenson. This cagey veteran doesn't like losing in the Seattle area. Also, don't forget Carl Decker has won this race twice and knows the course well. The Vanilla boys always race well. If they get together in a group look for them to teach a lesson on team cross tactics. Last on my list is Steve Fischer. One of Rad Racing's finest has the potential to ride with the big boys.
So where will our only MT Crosser Doug finish? Ole Dale hates these predictions so Doug if your reading up to this point, STOP NOW.
Dale's got a big engine and a good start, two things you need to do well at Star Crossed. A stacked field and bad starting position work against the big Whitefish native. I think he'll ride into the top 35. :)
Stayed tuned for the ladies preview tomorrow.
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