A stellar field of world class skaters is headed to Round Rock this weekend for the first outdoor race of the 2011 National Roller Cup, the Texas Road Rash.
Topping the list of competitors is Atom Wheels’ Joey Mantia, 25, of Ocala, FL.
Mantia has collected dozens of world and marathon titles since emerging as the world's top inline speed skater five years ago.
The last time he skated the Road Rash, in 2008, he won it handily.
This year, he will be skating with two teammates: Harry Vogel and Michael Cheek, both representing Luigino/Atom Wheels.
Vogel, 28, of West Palm Beach, FL, is a four-time world champion. Cheek is a former world champion and brother of Olympic gold medalist Joey Cheek.
Trying to hold off the Luigino charge will be Justin Stelly and his Bont USA teammates. Stelly, 24, of Lafayette, LA, won last year’s NorthShore Inline Marathon in Duluth.
He will be joined by Bont teammates Colin Thomas and Norm Kirby. Thomas, 19, of Cypress, TX, is a 10-times national champion. Kirby, 44, of Colorado Springs, won the master’s division in last year’s National Roller Cup.
Another team that hopes to be in the mix is the Cado Motus team of James and Chris Springer, Ryan Weiderhold and Wesley Gandy.
In the women’s race, Bont USA’s Briana Kramer has to be considered the favorite. Kramer, 19, of West Jordan, Utah, won the women’s race at last year’s NorthShore.
She will be skating with teammate Sophie Webb, 19, of Kissimmee, FL.
Among the other women contending for the top spots will be two skaters from the big Asphalt Beach/K2 team: Candy Wong, who finished fourth in last year’s National Roller Cup, and Elisabeth White, 20 of Ft. Wayne, IN, who is in only her second season of inline racing.
The Road Rash starts at 4 p.m. Saturday (CDT) with elimination races and packet pickup at the Dell Diamond Parking Lot in Round Rock.
The marathon and half marathon start at 8 a.m. Sunday at Old Settlers Park. Skaters in the full marathon will loop the park six times.
The after race festivities are scheduled to start at 10:30 a.m.
The Inline Planet will begin live blog coverage of the marathon at 7:30 a.m. (CDT) Sunday.
Copyright © 2011 by Inline Planet