Rapha-Focus recently announced that this Fall, Jeremy Powers would be joining their team for cyclocross, adding to the powerful duo of Chris Jones and U23 Zach McDonald. Jones sat down to chat with Cyclocross Magazine at the Rapha Cycle Club in San Francisco about his feelings on Powers leaving the Cyclocrossworld.com-Cannondale team and joining Rapha-Focus, his injury at the 2010 National Championships and his plans for this season.
Chris Jones is current focused on his skinny tire activities with the United Healthcare road team, and while his fellow Rapha Focus cyclocross teammates were racing against the world’s best at the 2011 Cyclocross World Championships in Saint Wendel, Germany, he was the fighting heat and humidity of Malaysia in Le Tour de Langkawi, where he finished an impressive 22nd.
With stage three of the Amgen Tour of California starting in Jones’ hometown of Auburn, California, he is motivated to put on a good show for his hometown fans. “It’d be pretty cool to have a jersey at the start of stage three in Auburn…we’ll see!” Jones will only have one opportunity to do so, with stage one cancelled yesterday due to snow, but Jones emphasized his primary goal and focus during the week is to support his team leader, Australian Rory Sutherland.
Jones is always raring to talk cyclocross, and for the 2011/2012 season, teamwork seems to be the game-plan, and he is more than happy to help push Powers to the podium. He said, “It’s good because if I’m having a race that’s going well, I can support him [Powers].”
Jones explained that since “road season always comes first” (as it pays the majority of his salary), with the long cyclocross season, he may not be able to support Powers in every race, but he would be excited to try to try to join Jeremy Powers in some of his plans to race five World Cups this season, with an eye towards finally making the US World Championships team. “It’s always the dream to do road worlds and cyclocross worlds in the same season.”
The shift in Powers’ team allegiance is more than a one-man shift in “power” though. It changes the game for a lot of racers, some of whom had come to expect podium dominance from the Cyclocrossworld.com-Cannondale team. Jones emphasized this point, saying that a podium isn’t as exciting if it’s dominated by the same team. He says, “For fans, it’s nice to see different teams win.”
Last year, Jones raced at Nationals and scored a 15th place finish in the Elite Men’s race—with broken ribs! “I didn’t realize until a few days later that the ribs were broken. I didn’t know, I just thought I sucked.”
However, this year he has higher hopes for Nationals, since the date has changed from mid-December to mid-January, giving racers some time to recover from a long season before the big race. “With Nationals moving [to mid-January], it will change the whole paradigm for cyclocross racers. But it actually might work out better for me!” (Read more about the 2012 Cyclocross National Championships, which will be held in Madison, WI next January.)
As far as support for team Rapha-Focus goes, Jones has nothing but praise: “We’ve got one of the best things going out there. We definitely have the best fans!”