It seems like there’s always a lot going on in the world of professional bike racing and bike racing in general. We’re always prepping for a new season or in the midst of another season. There is almost never a break: ’cross season rolls into road season which rolls into mountain bike season which rolls right back into ’cross season. And here we are rolling back into ’cross season, which means more and more ’cross pro rumors and rumblings! Sven Nys has ended his mountain bike season early to prep for ’cross. Tim Johnson and Johannes Huseby are sticking it to the Open Duo Men in Breckenridge. Jeremy Powers heads to Colorado for a little pre-race recon. Ryan Trebon takes on the Rapha Gentleman’s Race. Todd Wells climbs to the sky and beyond. In Memory: Marc Druyts, a Cyclocross Legend. This week’s Working Man’s Edition: Matter vs. Schouten; Lindine lines up for Leadville.
Sven Nys Ends His Mountain Bike Season Early? Climbs at Val di Sole too much for the king?
Have we seen a change? Is Nys going to come into the September races swinging and grabbing early season points? Or is this just the King seeing the Val di Sole race course and realizing a straight up and down affair in the Dolomites might not suit the ’cross legend? Whatever the reason, Nys has changed the early season predictor now that he may have the proper build up for the first race of the year, that is unless there is any warmth, a factor that the Belgian has struggled with throughout his career.
Tim Johnson Sticking It to the Open Duo Men at the Breck Epic.
Johnson has really been changing the game for those who are focusing on ’cross this year with a program that is as varied as can be, from joining the Rapha Continental crew in the spring, to riding the Tour of California route, to racing the Cascade Classic and the Leadville 100. Now, the day after the Leadville 100, he heads over the mountain to Breckenridge to race the six-day Breck Epic as part of a Men’s Duo team with Johs Huseby, Cannondale’s mountain bike product manager. Well, if you’re an A-gamer like Johnson is, then you can’t show up at a race and not try to win, which is exactly what Johnson and Huseby are doing. They are taking that Duo category by storm.
Jeremy Powers Preps for High Altitude Racing in Colorado
With Jeremy’s strong road season so far and his ability to handle altitude fairly well, it’s no surprise that Powers is on the roster for Jelly Belly with the USA Pro Cycling Challenge starting up Monday. Well, with a multitude of days heading over the highest passes, Powers thought it would be a good idea to go check out the stages and get a little training in. Let’s see, dirt road passes, winding descents and high wind areas with the possibility of rain and thunder every day will make this race one for the record books. Keep an eye out for Jeremy as he hopefully does us ’cross fans proud next week.
Ryan Trebon Slaps on the Fat Skinnies (28c to be exact) for the Rapha Gentleman’s Race
While Johnson does a week-long mountain bike stage race in Breckenridge and Powers does a week long road stage race through the state of Colorado, another big American ’crosser takes on probably the hardest “race” of the year, the Rapha Gentleman’s race in Oregon. If you haven’t seen the videos they’re worth checking out, but think of a long day on the bike in the middle of summer with dirt roads thrown in for good measure. Ouch! Trebon finished it solo last year, but will he be doing it with a team, the traditional way this year? I’m not sure. But then again, I’m not sure doing it with a team is any easier.
Todd Wells Goes to the Sky and Beyond
We all know, especially after the Lance effect took place, that Leadville is a destination race. That being said, because of the altitude, it’s one of the hardest days on a bike anyone will ever complete and is probably one of those Bucket List type summer events. Well, even without Lance or Levi, this year’s Leadville field was no walk in the park to navigate. Todd Wells, Jeremiah Bishop, Alban Lakata, Bart Brentjens and many more extremely fast bike racers lined up to see how fast they could get to the top of Columbine and back. Todd seems to have quite the knack for winning a variety of bike races this year, and he did it again. After setting a hard but sustainable pace early, he got away in the first half of the race. Eventually Lakata caught him on Columbine after flatting and the two rode together until it was clear that Lakata had used one too many matches at altitude to catch back up and was jettisoned out the back to finish second. Good job Todd, now let’s see if you can grab a medal over in Italy with all that extra oxygen carrying capacity in your lungs! Check out Molly’s article on Todd’s awesomeness.
In Memory: Marc Druyts, a Cyclocross Star
Cyclocross Magazine’s friend and all around ’cross aficionado Greg Keller of Mud and Cowbells has informed the world of another sad day in cycling news this year. Marc Druyts, multiple time Master’s ’Cross World Champion, has passed away from cardiac arrest after a road race near Kessel. Druyts was not a professional, but his love of ’cross, his dedication to the sport and his uncanny ability to go from back row to the front row almost immediately are something to be admired. I can’t say it any better than Greg:
Cyclocrossers – we lost a favorite son this weekend in Marc Druyts. Marc unfortunately passed away this weekend due to cardiac arrest after participating in a road race near Kessel, not far from his home. Druyts, 48, was the treasurer Flanders Mountain Cup series and an extremely well liked and well respected racer in the elite without contract and master’s races. Marc leaves behind a wife and two daughters. Keep them in your thoughts and prayers (www.mudandcowbells.com/Greg Keller).
Working Man’s Edition: Schouten vs. Matter; Lindine’s Leadville
Last week we reported on the impending throw-down in Michigan between Brian Matter and Tristan Schouten at the Ore to Shore mountain bike race. Turns out it was quite the battle, with a large group staying together for 30 miles of the race. Eventually things whittled down to just four: Brian Matter, Tristan Schouten, TJ Woodruff and Cole House. Everyone was worried about Cole for his well known sprinting ability (NRC Sprint Points Leader). But, with a last ditch effort in the final mile Matter gave it a go and held it to the line, taking his 11th career Ore to Shore win. Following closely behind were House and Schouten in second and third, respectively.
Justin Lindine was knocked down by altitude in Leadville. As Todd Wells was dislodging every other contender up and over Columbine last Saturday, working man Justin Lindine was trying to survive the oxygen debt inducing mountain bike race. For an eastern rider and not a marathon or even 100-mile specialist, I have to give Justin a huge shout out for his 28th place finish only 54 minutes down from Todd Wells. Good job, Justin, hopefully those high altitude miles will give you a little extra punch this fall!