Here, Christian Heule has recaptured the Swiss national champion's title. Now, what can we expect from him in the US this season? File photo © Bart Hazen
Rumors have been flying about European racers coming stateside for the 2011/12 cyclocross season, and both the Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com team and Christian Heule featured prominently in those speculations. Stu Thorne made no secret about looking for someone to take the place vacated by Jeremy Powers, and Christian Heule announced a new team and a big change for the upcoming season, but hadn’t yet confirmed details. Well, now the secret’s out – Heule will ride alongside Tim Johnson, Jamey Driscoll and Kaitlin Antonneau for his final season, and he’ll mix a US-based schedule with some European swings.
Heule is the latest European addition to the American scene, as Bart Wellens and Rob Peeters (Telenet-Fidea) will make an early season swing, and Belgian Ben Berden will race the entire season for the Oregon-based Stoemper Bikes.
The Cannondale prepared by Cyclocrossworld.com professional cyclocross team has added another national champion to its ranks for the 2011 season. With an eye towards even more European success, current Swiss National Champion Christian Heule will join six-time U.S. National Champion Tim Johnson, Jamey Driscoll and current U23 U.S. National Champion Kaitlin Antonneau as they look to outdo their wildly successful 2010 season.
“I’ve known Tim for many years and the whole team was in my area last year before the World Cup in Aigle,” said Heule of the days when he first started thinking of Cannondale prepared by Cyclocrossworld.com. “Those few days where a good time and it was nice to see them again at the European races in January.
“I plan to retire after this season and it is the last chance to stay away from Switzerland for a longer time with my family. My son Tim has to go to kindergarten next year and my daughter Lena is not that far away anymore.
“It is a special thing to race for the US calendar for three months. We’ll get to see the country and lots of people for sure. I also hope my English will be much better after!”
Heule’s victory at the 2011 Swiss National Cyclocross Championships brought his championship total to six over his glittering career. Heule has been a regular feature on the early-season American cyclocross schedule in recent years, and in joining Cannondale prepared by Cyclocrossworld.com, he has committed to a full season in the United States. With the move, Heule becomes the highest finisher at the 2011 Cyclocross World Championships racing full time in the United States.
As far as season goals go, Christian isn’t setting anything concrete.
“I never have big goals. i always try to have a good season. I’ll try to win a first race soon and as much as possible after that one.
“I think I’ll try to win as much as possible in the USA and the Swiss National Championship. A top ten at the World Championships and on the UCI ranking would give me a good feeling on my last season
Heule’s eyes will not totally leave Europe, however, as he will head back across the Atlantic to contest a number of World Cups, with his ultimate goal the 2012 World Championships in Koksijde, Belgium.
It is this world-wise quality that is most exciting to the Cannondale prepared by Cyclocrossworld.com outfit and its fans. A seasoned campaigner, Heule has lots of experience that he can draw on and impart to the younger members of the team. Heule knows full well the rigors of a full European schedule – something that can only help his American teammates as they grow towards this year’s World Championships and the ultimate goal of the 2013 World Championships Louisville, Kentucky.
Born on April 2, 1975 in Widnau, Switzerland, Heule becomes the most senior member of the Cannondale prepared by Cyclocrossworld.com team. Heule came into cycling at the age of 12 and has since met with success both on the national and world stage. Heule’s six Swiss National Cyclocross Championships include three consecutive victories between 2006 and 2008.
Heule regained the Swiss title this year in Hittnau, Switzerland after a one-year absence, and looked close to retirement. The opportunity to race in America, and join a team that is at the height of the U.S. cyclocross game was too appealing to turn down.
Heule is no stranger to American racing. Heule won 2009’s North American Cyclocross Trophy opener, Star Crossed, in his first race on American soil. He has been at the last two editions of Cross Vegas, and stood on the podium of last year’s Star Crossed and Rad Racing.
“I raced 10 days in the fall in past years and I liked it very much. The cyclocross community is much more familiar in Europe. It’s not that there is stress between the European riders but I feel more comfortable in USA. In the United States, it’s more fun before and after the races. The hour of racing is no different. It’s the same fighting and suffering all over the world.”
In Heule, Cannondale prepared by Cyclocrossworld.com has added a key component that can help the team to continued success both domestically and abroad. Helue brings a competitive streak found in few riders, as well as the experience that can help bring out the best that Cannondale prepared by Cyclocrossworld.com has to offer.
“I’m looking forward to this new team more than any other new team I’ve joined. There is a bit of uncertainty how it will work but I’m pretty sure we all get it as we expect.”