Tim Johnson is congratulated by fans along the finish line at cyclocross Nationals, now that he's back and stronger than ever. ©Tim Westmore
by Kat Statman
Another few weeks, a whole lot of news compressed, and always more to talk about than we have time and/or space. This week, Johnson does a double week; Vos is victim of that finicky and fragile bone near our shoulders; Compton forges her own path for glory; Barry Wicks really is back and Sea Otter was no fluke; Stybar recons Olympic road course; The Tour of Belgium was a Who’s Who of cyclocross stars.
Tim Johnson Takes First Season Win
If you had any doubts about Tim after last year’s semi-subpar season (fewer wins than usual, and struggling with the pace on occasion from beginning to end), those should be gone as of now. After racing in the Tour of Killington in Vermont, Johnson hopped in the car, drove eight hours to State College, Penn., and started racing the Transylvanian Epic, a week-long mountain bike stage race across the gnarliest Pennsylvania singletrack. Well, it only took a few days for him to get the hang of this mountain bike racing thing, and with teammate Jeremiah Bishop, he stormed away from the field and then proceeded to take the win. Does this mean the old Johnson is quite possible back? Or maybe even a new and improved Johnson? This could make this fall even more interesting.
Marianne Vos, Victim of the Dreaded Collarbone
I regret to report that for at least a few weeks we won’t see much of Marianne Vos storming to the front of this race or that race. Unfortunately, she is a victim of what seems like the most common cycling injury in the world: a broken collarbone. Well, that can mean only one thing: we will have a rested Vos for the Olympic road race and cyclocross season, though that never seems to be a problem for her. Good luck resting up, Marianne, looking forward to seeing your duels with Katie this winter.
Katie Compton Leaves Rabobank and Forges her Own Path
Finally, Katie gets her priorities straight! Katie, I know that you’re an awesome mountain biker and just destroy people when you show up at summer mountain bike races, but man, has it been tough watching you race this past year. But only because we know that your potential is so much higher. Well, now that you’ve left Rabobank Off-Road to focus on cyclocross, we’ll get to see that, and more importantly, we may finally have that US gold in Louisville this January!
The Return of Barry Wicks
If you wrote Barry Wicks off after his past few years, well put him back on that list. He’s looking lean and mean and ready to crush some souls, and in 2012, he already has. We already talked about his return at Sea Otter, but since then he’s taken a notch out of Jeremiah Bishop, the best placed American at the La Bresse World Cup, by attacking at the end of stages in Transylvania and showing Bishop what’s what. Unfortunately, a few of the mountain bike gods aren’t too happy with Barry at this point, as he flatted on the two stages after, which put him off his “creeping up on Jeremiah” race plan, but still, two stage wins against a possible Olympic team member? Not bad! Stay tuned for more Transylvania reporting, since New England cyclocrosser and working man pro Justin Lindine was crushing a few souls of his own out there, with two third places so far.
Stybar Checks Out the Olympic Road Race Course
The Olympics really are getting closer by the day, and it is clear that the racers that are on the short or long list are making sure they are prepared. Stybar headed to London to see if the hill really was that tough, and he claims it is. I’m not sure if he’ll be a member of the Czech Olympic road team, but after his performance in the Tour of Belgium it would not surprise me. That just means more chances to see cyclocross Olympic domination of everything, with Nys possibly on the mountain bike and Stybar on the road.
Cyclocrossers in the Tour of Belgium
Yes, the Giro was clearly at the top of most cycling viewership (even mine, as Ryder put on such a stellar performance and I couldn’t drag myself away from it), but if you were paying attention (and I hope you were), the Tour of Belgium looked like a Who’s Who of cyclocross stars: Nys, Pauwels, Stybar, Boom, Vanthourenhout, Keough, Wellens, Peeters, Meeusen, Albert, Simunek, D. Vanthourenhout, Walsleben, Vantornout, and any others I may have missed. Though this won’t tell us anything about where everyone really stacks up for next season, they are all on good enough form to be there, and at this point that is what counts. Keep your eyes peeled as we get closer to the season though, since as always, things will be getting interesting.