Kaitie Antonneau runs the barriers. photo: Amy Dykema

by Kat Statman

It’s time to really start thinking about ’cross season, maybe even starting to glue up some tires if you haven’t already. Now that it’s that time of the year again, heading out and pinning, or zip-tying, numbers up is probably a good idea. The Pro racers have that in mind too as they’re out getting the race miles in to prepare for a strong ’cross season.

This week, the Tour of California is being absolutely dominated by ’cross riders, with Jamey Driscoll, Jesse Anthony, Jeremy Powers, Lars Boom and Ben Jacques-Maynes all making appearances at the front of the race. [See some of our race coverage of Stage 2, Stage 3 and Stage 4.] Sven Nys is on his way to his second Olympic games after a second place finish to Julien Absalon. John Gadret came oh-so-close last week to a stage win at the Giro, but clearly that wasn’t good enough for the Frenchmen, as he sealed the deal this week with a Stage 11 win. Is Kaitlin Antonneau making a switch to the mountain bike? Rumors are brewing that the USGP may make a stop in Bend, OR. This week’s Working Man’s Edition takes another look at Justin Lindine as he heads to Canada for the Coupe de Quebeque and Spencer Paxson as he crosses the pond for the Dalby Forest World Cup.
Jamey Driscoll and Ben Jacques-Maynes Setting Out to Put Their Stamp on California
Jamey Driscoll: two consecutive days in the breakaway, Most Aggressive Rider at Day 1 of the Amgen Tour of California…Big paycheck? Yes, I think so! Jamey is clearly well known for his cyclocross skills with many podium appearances at the front of the US racing scene. But racing road bikes fast is not the same as racing ’cross bikes fast, and Jamey does them both really well. However, this isn’t his first big break-out road ride, for those of you who don’t follow road racing all that closely. In 2009, Jamey rode away from the Collegiate Division 1 field on the final climb at the Collegiate Road National Championships in Fort Collins, CO, to take home a stars-and-stripes jersey for the University of Vermont. Now that Jamey has finished school and won’t be splitting his time as much between cycling and other ventures, expect him to be riding even faster both on the road and in the dirt.

Ben Jacques-Maynes, another rider well known for his ’cross racing, spent the first stage of the Amgen Tour of California in the break with Driscoll. Though Ben is not currently as well-known at the front-end of the US ’cross racing scene, he has still been known to show up on some knobbies from time to time and show the world that roadies can drive their bikes too.  And, of course, Jacques-Maynes has quite the cyclocross pedigree: he was the 2000 U23 national champion and represented the US at Worlds that year. However, a crash in Stage 5 and a broken collarbone eliminated Jacques-Maynes from the Tour.

For more Tour of California ’cross news check out all of the stage-by-stage action: Stage Two, Stage Three, Stage Four.

Sven Nys Easily on His Way to the London Mountain Bike Olympics
Sven Nys took second to Julien Absalon, who is arguably the most accomplished XC racer on the circuit. Look for Nys to continue a strong riding streak as he heads to the Dalby Forest World Cup this weekend, a course that even with its significant elevation gain should suit the Belgian, with it’s technical features and lack of sustained climbing sections.

Gadret Gets Cheeky at the Giro d’Italia
Gadret wins a stage of the Giro d’Italia … This is Gadret’s first Grand Tour stage win, and it definitely is a big deal. Not only is the stage win huge, but he’s been trying for it the whole Giro so far and just had not been lucky enough to pull it off. But as the peloton screamed into Castelfidardo, Gadret burst to the front on the 10-percent uphill grade towards the finish, ripping by Daniel Moreno as if he were standing still to seal the victory. Good on you, Gadret, well played!

Antonneau Turning Away from Those Smooth Skinny Tires?
It’s well documented that Antonneau has been working with Katie Compton as her coach for some time. Clearly, that has helped her as she has taken home multiple stars-and-stripes jerseys under Compton’s tutelage. Well, it seems that Compton is clearly rubbing off on her a bit more and has her out riding trails! Will we see Antonneau add another discipline to her resume to dominate? Well, women’s mountain bike fields can always get stronger and bigger, and Antonneau would be a great addition, so this might not be a bad thing.

Rumor Has It That the USGP May Head to Bend
A few rumors have been floating around via Twitter and other online social media networks that Bend, OR, may grab a USGP spot at some point in the near future. The past two National Championships held in the small town in Oregon have been some of the best organized events of the year, with great courses, well above average spectators and a huge weekend for all, so this is not much of a surprise. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see if we’re heading back to Bend for some big-time ’cross racing in the home town of Ryan Trebon and Adam Craig.

Working Man’s Edition: Justin Lindine and Spencer Paxson
This week the Working Man’s Edition is a bit slow with a break in the major racing action around the US. But this weekend there are two notable Working Man’s riders who deserve some extra attention. We’ve already talked about Justin Lindine on many occasions. After a strong ride at the Mellow Johnny’s Pro XCT race in Austin, Texas, Lindine is heading to Mount Tremblant in Quebec to contest a round of the Coupe de Quebeque, a category 1 UCI mountain bike race. Lindine finished just outside of the UCI points at Mellow Johnny’s, so look for a strong ride from him and hopefully a spot in the top 10. But those Canadians are wily and ride bikes pretty quick, so he has his work cut out for him.

Another working man rider who deserves attention is Spencer Paxson. Spencer is not a full on ’crosser, but he has been known to mix it up at UCI races around the country as well as at the Cross Crusade series during the fall. This weekend, Spencer is making a big trip across the ocean to race the Dalby Forest World Cup. With a strong ride there, which is easily attainable after his sixth place at Mellow Johnny’s, Spencer is a shoe-in for the US Olympic Team Long List. The gnarly and technical course will also suit the rider from Seattle with his quick bike-handling skills.