by Kat Statman
This week has been the biggest news week we’ve had yet during the off-season, especially with team transfers and strong rides from ’crossers that mix it up in the other disciplines. Kathy Sherwin’s mountain bike exploits continue as she and Jenny Smith nearly took a stage win at the Andalucia Bike Race; Lars Boom did not topple Spartacus in the Tirreno-Adriatico time trial but was nearly there; Specialized is rumored to have signed a big name to be racing in the US, do we have a Euro coming over full time? Ryan Trebon: still no official word on his 2011/12 plans, but has something been leaked? Peter Dlask isn’t cutting it for Telenet-Fidea but will continue to drive the fields. Finally, you all know we had to talk about it, Jeremy Powers opens up the front of the field of US ’Cross and signs with Rapha–Focus, a little report from an early morning chat with JPows!
Kathy Sherwin and Jenny Smith Continue to Show their Mettle
The Andalucia mountain bike stage race has been over for a few weeks now, but Kathy’s ride is more than relevant enough to talk about. During the last stage, as she told Cyclocross Magazine, she and her teammate were vying for the stage win. Unfortunately they were undersupported and weren’t able to take the win, but they came darn close. Kathy was definitely excited about the top result and is looking forward to the rest of her season with the new No Tubes Elite Women’s Mountain Bike Team. However, she has made it equally clear that one of her big goals for this year is to make the US World Championship Cyclocross team. Sherwin topped off her 2010 season with a fourth place at Nationals in Bend. Keep on putting in those long base miles, Kathy, we know they are going to work out for you!
Lars Boom Fails to Topple Spartacus
Last week we mentioned Boom’s leadership role at Rabobank during the Tirreno-Adriatico stage race, where Rabobank took the lead and put Boom in the blue jersey. However, Boom was philosophical about his chances as an overall contender and stated publicly that he was looking towards taking a stage win in the final time trial. The final stage was exceptionally short (9.3 kilometers), which suits a rider of Boom’s pedigree perfectly. Unfortunately he had to contend with Spartacus himself, the current and multi-time world time trial champion Fabian Cancellara. Boom came darn close and finished with a time of 10 minutes and 42 seconds, just nine seconds behind Cancellara. Have to say, not too shabby.
Specialized is Rumored to Have Signed Someone BIG?
From an exclusive source we have learned that Specialized is rumored to have signed a big marquee rider (as if Todd Wells weren’t enough) to race ’cross throughout the US. There is no info on who this big name rider is, but rumors are circulating that he’s a European star. A Euro racing full time on US soil, or even just for more than a handful of races at the beginning of the year, is HUGE for US ’cross. I have to admit things are looking better and better every year as we just get bigger and bigger at all levels of US ’cross racing.
Ryan Trebon: Nothing Official
Officially there has been no announcement from Ryan, and we know that things are progressing a little bit slower than many had anticipated. However, this is pro ’cross rumors and rumblings, and we did catch a whiff that Fuji is another company that might be connected to the tall man. (Update: Ryan Trebon signs with Felt – we got the “F” right) Fuji has a pretty long history in the US ’cross market having Davide Frattini riding for them two seasons ago and just this year releasing a new full carbon ’cross rig at Interbike. Long time ’cross star Mark McCormack has also been involved both with the company as a sales rep and as the leader of Team Fuji-Clif Bar. For Fuji to partner with Trebon would be a great move for the brand, but this is no official announcement, just a rumor that could very well prove false. Keep your eyes and ears peeled, folks, and if you see Trebon out on the roads or trails in team clothing that might indicate where he’s going for the year give us a holler.
Peter Dlask Didn’t Make the Cut
European teams are well known for the cut-throat nature. You either win races or you don’t stay on. It’s been officially reported that Peter Dlask will no longer be driving the fields in the Telenet-Fidea colors. From the team website it has been stated that he is sad to leave his family and that the past couple of season have just been one problem after another, not allowing him to ride the way he knows he can. Don’t expect Dlask to just roll over and walk away from the sport, though: He has every intention of continuing to be in the mix in the biggest races, but for which team? We don’t know. We’ll keep an eye out for any info involving Dlask.
Powers Changes the Face of US ’Cross with a Move to New Team
With the big news of Powers moving to the Rapha-Focus team, I caught up with Jeremy early this morning to grab a few exclusive insights. As can be expected, Jeremy only had good things to say about the new program, but he was really excited about working with two companies that wanted to work exclusively with him. He is also really excited to be on Focus bikes year-round (his Jelly Belly road team is sponsored by Focus as well). But Jeremy’s also looking forward to an end to the persistent question that every journalist asked him last year: “Will you chase down your own teammate?” That was probably the most asked question during the last season, and Powers is ready to put that line of questioning behind him.
“That was beaten like a dead horse,” said Powers. “People have wanted to see that race between Tim and me for a long time. [At the USGP in] Portland, whoever won that day was going to be the winner of the series, and there were two people that really wanted to win that jersey. We fought all the way to the last corner. At the end of the day, Tim was really great and helped me come from someone who won occasionally to someone who is able to win consistently. But I am definitely looking forward to not having to answer that question anymore.” That’s not to say that he doesn’t hold great respect for his former teammate – he still thinks Tim Johnson and the whole Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com team are an outstanding program. Stu Thorne was and is like a father for Powers, but this was the perfect opportunity for Jeremy to move out on his own.
We were also able to get a few words in with Tim Johnson, who told Cyclocross Magazine that he’s excited for his long-time ’cross teammate and friend on the new project. In Tim’s own words, “I think it’s great for the sport that there are teams stepping up their programs and that Jeremy has the opportunity to lead Rapha-Focus. He’s a great friend and teammate, and for him to be successful is very fulfilling for Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld. Our program sets the bar for support and sets goals that gives us, as riders, everything we need to win on and off the bike…We’ll continue to do that and now it just means that when we’re out on course racing, it’s going to be a battle.”
Congrats Jeremy, we are looking forward to watching another great season with you hopping the barriers and mixing it up at the front. Now that, as you’ve told us, the face of US ’cross has been rediversified with big names more spread out between teams, things are going to be that much more exciting in 2011-2012.