Ten-time Cyclocross National Champion Logan Owen has called it a season after a long road campaign. The phenom from Washington enters his last season as a U23 on the road with the Axeon Hagens Berman team, and will be focusing on preparing for the 2017 road campaign.
Owen announced this decision on social media yesterday:
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Preparation for the 2017 Road Season has begun. I've decided to take a break from cyclocross this year to put 100% focus on road racing for this next year. This also has given me time to address some issues I've been having with my body and focus on making myself a better cyclist all around by working on my weaknesses. Looking forward to a great 2017 season and my last year as a U23 with @axeonhb and @axelmerckx!💪🏼🏋 📷 @thejoeholmes
Just last week Owen teased his followers with the following video, suggesting his cyclocross season debut might not be far away:
Owen would have lined up at any domestic cyclocross race this season as a podium favorite, after finishing third behind Jeremy Powers and Stephen Hyde at the 2016 National Championships in Asheville, where he was racing with the Elite Men despite still being third-year U23.
Owen had a shortened cyclocross season last year after a long road campaign, and was easily the top two-discipline Elite men’s racer at Nationals. Owen also turned heads before Nationals by finishing just three seconds behind Powers and 40 seconds ahead of Hyde last year at Jingle Cross.
With the decision, Owen confirmed what many cyclocross fans have feared for a few seasons: that the champion would be lured away from cyclocross to focus solely on the road.
Despite his commitment to cyclocross and love for the sport, Owen has never denied the possibility that road racing may command more of his attention in the future, largely due to the earning potential. At the Valmont Bike Park after his first U23 Nationals win in 2014, both Owen and his parents both acknowledged to Cyclocross Magazine that the road scene may be more important in the future because the potential salaries and number of jobs on the paved side are greater.
Last season on New Year’s Eve we spoke with Owen about the upcoming 2016 Nationals and his future plans, and at the time, he hinted at the looming importance of the road scene:
“I’ve been 50-50 for the most part, splitting time equally. I never chose one over the other. I’m not sure where I’ll end up and it depends in part on the how the coming seasons for both disciplines go. I could make a good career in cyclocross, for sure. But I think slowly, in the future, road may be more of an option in terms of earning a living.”
While some cyclocross fans may think that ten months later doesn’t quite match their definition of “slowly,” Owen also didn’t foresee having some physical issues either.
Fans can also hope that Owen immerses himself so much into the road scene that he’ll follow a very traditional European road racer plan—and return to cyclocross for winter training for the road season.