by Kat Statman
Tour de France is happening, the Olympics are coming up, and it’s Friday the 13th. Is there a better time to address the rumors and rumblings in the world of pro ’crossers? So what’s been going on since the last installment, you ask? Todd Wells has been unseated, in part, while Georgia Gould may no longer need much heckling (then again …), Katie Compton wins the Blitz to the Barrel in Bend, Ore. while Marianne Vos dominates another Giro Donne, Stybar takes on the Czech Republic in Poland, and finally, Nys is “the machine,” while Wellens and Co. have their second child.
Wells Unseated (only a little though) and Georgia is 100% back
Todd has had a pretty good season this year, save the little injury in South Africa. He won the Pan Am championships, was picked for the Olympic team, and put himself back into the World Cup Top 10 during the most recent visit to ’Merica. But push came to shove in Sun Valley, Idaho last weekend when a flat tire derailed his day. Not really saying much for his fitness, but on the cross country circuit, it looks like he will no longer be sporting the stars and stripes. One important thing to note about Todd’s little feat was that he was the first person to pull off both Cross Country Nationals and ’Cross Nationals in the same year since Ryan Trebon did it in 2006.
As for Georgia … well, she may not really need the heckling anymore. After nearly winning two World Cups in a row (heartbreaking, but at least it was her teammate who took home the gold), she put together another rocking National Championships and just left the world in her wake. If this speed keeps up through London, will we see the first Olympic gold for an American in mountain bike racing? That would be pretty cool. But as for heckling, maybe we should wait till ’cross season gets going; she may deserve a good bit of it come September.
Katie Compton Wins Blitz to the Barrel While Marianne Vos wins the Giro Donne
Every year, there is a lot of anticipation surrounding what is going to happen between Vos and Compton at the World Championships and the World Cups. It’s even more exciting this year because it is on Katie’s sort-of home turf. So what is the best thing to do when this happens? Check out their off-season racing/training programs! Katie headed up to Bend, Ore., home of many pro bike racers and jumped into a local race called Blitz to the Barrel (starting at point A, which is higher in altitude than point B, each participant must shoot off a gun, and the first one to reach the finish line and to polish off a beer wins a bunch of money). She totally rocked it (Adam Craig won the men’s race)! While that was going on, Marianne Vos was taking a very different approach: stage racing in Italy at the Giro Donne, where it turns out she has some speed! She won a few stages and never let go of the overall; a typical Vos domination. So does this tell us anything about World Championships? No, but it is interesting to see the different “getting ready during the summer” techniques. We’re just going to hold our breaths, and then scream as loud as we can come February in Louisville.
Stybar Grabs a Win in Pologne
Stybar. We all know he’s quick. He’s won stages on the road before, and he clearly has the ’cross palmares of a near ’cross god (though with moving to the road and seemingly not likely to come back full time, it is unlikely that he will make it there) so is this any surprise? Not really, but what is surprising is that if you check out the finish photo, it looks like a sprint of at least a few riders, though Stybar has not rid himself of that sprinting up the barriers thing that ’crossers do all the time, as he is riding with his arms raised right next to the barriers. While there is always a good reason for why you are there, that whole cardboard hand thing with Thor quite a few years ago makes it seem at least slightly unadvisable. Then again, he won, didn’t he? Hopefully, he acquired some important points to keep his contract with Quick Step for next year.
Nys Becomes a Machine while Wellens and Co. Have Another Child
We’ve already begun addressing differing summer programs with Katie and Marianne above. However, Nys and Wellens take it to a whole new extreme. Sporza has reported that all Nys is doing is eating, sleeping, and training in preparation for the Olympics. Meanwhile, Wellens welcomed his second child into the world (congrats, Bartje, by the way!). Clearly a different thing is going on here; Nys is acting like a bike riding machine, while Bartje is doing the dad thing. Which one will be faster in the fall? I don’t know, maybe Nys will be tired by ’cross season. Then again, even at his ripe old age, he is still quite the force to be reckoned with. Or maybe Bartje’s second child will give him that extra motivation and we’ll see a true resurgence of the great Fidea leader. Only time will tell.