The Ardennes Classics are over. The weather is getting warm. Big road races are moving away from one day 260-300 km epics to seven-plus-day stage races. The skinny climbers are coming out to play. That must mean we are getting closer and closer to ’cross season, only a four short months away. As we keep gearing up for the best part of the year, here is what those pro ’crossers have been up to in the past week:
Jeremy Powers heads out for a mountain bike shred session in the wet; Sven Nys is logging some big miles in Mallorca; None other than current U23 US Cyclocross National Champion Danny Summerhill is in green at the SRAM Tour of the Gila; It’s official Zdenek Stybar will be coming to California; Three big ’crossers: Stybar, Boom and Powers all on the start list for the Tour of California; Francis Mourey, holding his own at the Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey; and Todd Wells puts up a top ten performance at the Pietermaritzburg round of the World Cup. Jeremy Powers Gets a Little “Pre-season” Dirt Training at the Root 66 Massasoit Lung Opener
Last weekend Jeremy Powers went out for a little bit of early season intensity and bike handling at the Root 66 Massasoit Lung Opener, the first race of New England’s regional mountain bike race series. So did the former mountain biker and now road and ’cross racer fair well in the cold, wet and muddy conditions? Well, report is he was riding pretty well, but a mechanical derailed his race. It’s still early in the year for Powers, so expect bigger things to start coming together for him, especially with the Tour of California coming up in just a few weeks.
Sven Nys is Logging the Huge Miles in Mallorca with Seven-Hour Training Days
With off-season base miles like that it’s no wonder he’s the most consistent euro crosser on the field. Last week when we reported that Nys was training with Stybar we didn’t realize the complete extent to Nys’ collaboration with the current world champion. It is no surprise Nys is putting in the big miles in one respect, he is PRO, and has some big goals on the horizon. Let’s hope these big miles do what they did for Stybar last winter as he was skipping World Cups to prepare for the World Championships.
Danny Summerhill in Green at the Sram Tour of the Gila
Danny is one of those multi-talented riders who seems to be able to have good form no matter what time of year it is. This past week it became clear that things are still going well for him on the road, as he is currently holding the green sprint jersey at the Tour of the Gila in Silver City, NM. Summerhill has been successful in both road and ’cross, but a success at a big NRC event like the Tour of the Gila might put Danny in another class as a road rider. Of course I’m hoping he doesn’t make the decision to leave cyclocross and focus on the road as the US will have lost a potential great. Previous CXM conversations with Summerhill indicate that cyclocross is very important to him, however.
Zdenek Stybar to the Tour of California
We knew that Quick Step was debating whether to send Stybar to the Tour de Romandie or the Tour of California. Well, with the Tour de Romandie started and Stybar absent from the start lists and the results sheet it is clear that we’ll be seeing the ’cross World Champion in California in just a few weeks. Will this be good for American ’cross? Well, it can’t hurt.
Tour of California Will Have a Serious ’Cross Contingent with Stbyar, Boom and Powers
Are we going to have the treat of a three man ’cross break with Powers, Stybar and Boom pulling their weight for hundreds of kilometers? If that happens maybe the extra power from Stybar will keep them away to the finish and we can have a three-up sprint for a stage win. Boom has been putting together a respectable spring season this year and we know that Stybar and Powers have been putting in the big miles to prepare for this race. Fingers crossed folks.
Francis Mourey Spends a Day in the Break at the Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey
’Crossers have been all over other disciplines this past week. Francis Mourey, the french star from Francaise des Jeux made his way into the break during stage four of the Presidentail Cycling Tour of Turkey. Unfortunately the Lampre-ISD team did a lot of work to bring the break back and set up Alessandro Petacchi for the sprint win. Good work this week Francis – whether it’s tarmac or dirt you seem to always shine.
Todd Wells Cracks the Top Ten at the St. Pietermaritzburg Round of the UCI World Cup
So we haven’t said anything about where ’crossers finished in the first round of the UCI World Mountain Bike World Cup, but Todd Wells, current US National Cross-County, Short Track and Cyclocross National Champion absolutely deserves one. Ever since Wells has moved to the Specialized Factory Team he has had his best seasons to date at both the national and international levels. Well, nothing has changed as he came out swinging in Pietermaritzburg this past weekend racking up a top ten and the best North American finish for the men. Those extra UCI points will certainly help in Wells’ bid for a third Olympic team birth and if he keeps riding like this, well, he certainly deserves it.