This coming December, a contingency of American riders lead by elite rider Ryan Trebon (LTS/ Felt) will descend upon Belgium for another intense two-week period of cyclocross racing. The riders will compete in not only the iconic Christmas-time races in Zolder, Diegem and Loenhout, but will also supplement the big races with some smaller national races in tiny Flandrian hamlets like Lichtervelde, Maldegem and Balagem.
Trebon will be one of two elite riders at this year’s Camp. This will be Trebon’s fifth trip to Belgium with Camp director Geoff Proctor. “Ryan has been a critical component of the Camp in years past, but more recently, has done his own program. To have Ryan back, to see him again want to go up against the best guys in the world, and to have that level of experience and success is huge for us this year,” says Proctor.
Over the last several months, Proctor has been tirelessly combing results, talking with riders and tracking progress to pick the best group of racers. “We have many of the best riders representing all categories this year. The Junior, U23 and Elite groups at this year’s Camp each have some our nation’s best. The level keeps getting higher. It’ll be exciting to watch their progress.”
EuroCrossCamp has been at the forefront of rider development in the United States. Some of the biggest names in US ‘cross racing have come through the program and nearly all of the top ten riders in all levels at this year’s USGP have EuroCrossCamp roots: Jeremy Powers, Ryan Trebon, Jamey Driscoll, Danny Summerhill, Barry Wicks, Troy Wells, Tristan Schouten, Brian Matter are some of the names. A cross pollination has also followed, with many riders getting their first international experience at the Camp and then moving to success on the road. Bjorn Selander, Jesse Anthony, Morgan Schmitt and Andy Jaques-Maynes, to name a few.At ECXC this year, the biggest group of Junior racers yet will tackle the wintry cyclocross scene in Belgium – 14 Juniors in all. Proctor had some hard decisions to make when it came to Junior selections this year. “The number and level of Junior riders have increased dramatically in the last few years. I had so many young riders interested in coming with us. It was a hard decision to make.”
In years past, Proctor has tried to have a more even split between Juniors and Espoirs, with a few Elite riders in the mix to mentor the younger riders. Part of this strategy is purely logistical. But, “taking 14 riders in one category to one race will be hard, especially when you have a double pit in a muddy race. That’s a lot of bikes and mechanics in one race to organize, and a lot of riders to keep an eye on. But we’ll build a plan and execute it, just like we’ve been doing all along.”
Riders to watch on the international scene this year will be Trebon; coming off a stellar domestic scene, he’ll be a strong contender. In the Junior ranks, Andrew Dillman (Bob’s Red Mill Cyclocross Team), Zane Godby (Clif Bar Cyclocross Development Team), Curtis White (Clif Bar Cyclocross Development Team), Tobin Ortenblad (Giant-Specialized) and Logan Owen (Redline Bicycles, featured in Cyclocross Magazine Issue 13!) stand out as very promising riders. In the U23s, riders to watch will be Yannick Eckmann (Pearl Izumi-Shimano) and Zach McDonald (Rapha-Focus).
EuroCrossCamp started in 2003 as a way to prepare riders for the World Championships and to offer an opportunity for young riders to gain experience in the European cyclocross peloton. Proctor saw a hole in the schedule between the December US Nationals and the late January Worlds. ECXC slotted perfectly into the schedule and took advantage of the “kersteperiode” — the intense two-week period of racing that has upwards of 12 Elite level and World Cup races. With the US National Championships now in early January, the Camp becomes even more conducive to the overarching objectives of gaining experience and building form.
EuroCrossCamp IX 2011-2012 roster
Ryan Trebon (USA19810305); Bend OR; LTS-Felt
Jake Wells (USA19780628); Avon CO; Stan’s No Tubes Elite Cyclocross Team
Yannick Eckmann (GER19931130); Boulder, CO; Pearl Izumi-Shimano
Zach McDonald (USA19910213); Bainbridge Island, WA; Rapha-Focus
Dan Gerow (USA19910318); Grosse Pointe Farms, MI; Wolverine-ACFSTORES.COM
Kolben Preble (USA19931108); USA Forest Grove, OR; Clif Bar Cyclocross Development Team
Andrew Dillman (USA19940401); Fairdale, KY; Bob’s Red Mill Cyclocross Team
Zane Godby (USA19941117); Louisville, CO; Clif Bar Cyclocross Development Team Curtis White (USA19950928); Duanesburg, NY; Clif Bar Cyclocross Development Team Tobin Ortenblad (USA19940929); Santa Cruz, CA; California Giant-Specialized
Logan Owen (USA19950325); Bremerton, WA; Redline Bicycles
Jordan Cullen (USA19950711); Hudson, WI; Clif Bar Cyclocross Development Team Cypress Gorry (USA19940110); Payson, AZ; Whole Athlete-Specialized
Lionel Rocheleau (USA19950608); Waukesha, WI; Team Geargrinder
Luke Haley (USA19941013); Louisville, KY; Red Zone Cycling Team
John Francisco (USA19951103); Louisville, KY; Red Zone Cycling Team
Sam O’Keefe (USA19940124); Baltimore, MD; C3-Athletes Serving Athletes
Nate Morse (USA19950117); Cohasset, MA; cyclocrossworld.com
Stephen Bassett (USA19950327); Knoxville, TN; Bob’s Red Mill Cyclocross Team Spencer Downing (USA19950620); Boulder, CO; Clif Bar Cyclocross Development Team
Stay tuned to cxmagazine.com for more to come on EuroCrossCamp.