Still Tough Times for ‘Cross Elite
After watching some of the nation’s most talented ‘cross racers scrambling to put together sponsorships and teams for this year, it’s no surprise that some are still searching. A nation of ‘cross fans breathed a collective sigh of relief when we learned that top-ranked Katie Compton finally landed a solid home with Planet Bike, but other riders have been less lucky.
Among them is Junior 17-18 National Champion Zach McDonald, whose top finishes in last year’s junior fields should have helped him land some support for what’s sure to be an expansive – and expensive – season. Yet, McDonald, whose palmares include wins at both days of the USGP Mercer Cup and both days of the USGP Portland Cup as well as a podium at the UCI World Cup in Roubaix, hasn’t yet landed on a team.
“I would have thought that with the consistency of my results someone would have been interested,” McDonald told Cyclocross Magazine. Though he’s lacking support, he still loves the sport and hopes to tough it out for a full season including USGP and NACT races, plus hopes to have a second year of EuroCrossCamp and World Cup racing. Recently, he chased down the top Elite men in the Seattle Cyclocross opener and finished an impressive third, within ten seconds of the winner. He is still hoping to find sponsors, but with or without will have a season loaded with broad, international visibility and hopefully some podium repeats.
Stories like this don’t bode well for our budding discipline, and tough times for top talent could make it even harder for the USA to assemble teams to tackle European fields in World Cups and other venues. Hopefully an improving economy and expanding visibility for ‘Cross can turn this tide.
Interested teams and sponsors cancontact Zach through our online cyclocross community.