Jake Wells representing Colorado on Mt Krumpit run-up © Kate Hannah

File Photo © Kate Hannah

by Kat Statman

It’s only two weeks away folks, and the UCI season opener is upon us in Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley. If you’re reading this, you can’t deny that it’s an amazingly exciting time of year. In some places the morning temperatures have dropped that that point where arm and knee warmers are required for the early morning ’cross practice. I’ve even heard that those in the hotter parts of the country are pulling out the practice barriers and getting things in gear. So, with that in mind, what are the pros doing now? Jeremy Powers and Chris Jones are in the high country honing their form. Ryan Trebon, though not racing, has taken some time in the Colorado high country with Team Manager and Mechanic Dusty Labarr to prep the bikes and fitness. Sven Nys is already heading to the perfect weather of Mallorca for some pre-season training. Keeping tabs on World Champ Stybar has been tricky, well sort of. Vannoppen gets uppity with the papers. Katie Compton preps for the Mountain Bike World Champs and switches back to a 29er. This week’s working man’s edition goes to Jake Wells and his new Stan’s No Tubes Team.

The Most Important Racers in Colorado Right Now!
You can’t deny that the US Pro Cycling Challenge is a big deal. Everyone and their mother in the cycling world is talking about it. But most people are talking about the boring aspects of the race. Like, oh, Leipheimer is the leader but lost it to Van Garderen. Really, folks? It should be expected that we are going to trounce in our own major stage race, we tend to be really good at that, just look at the Tour of California the past, uh, how many years? So, what is important? Well, there are some big name ’crossers in there, for example, ’cross teammates Jeremy Powers and Chris Jones. How are they doing? Well, rumor is that Powers had to be dragged by his teammates up some heinous climbs at 11,000 feet above sea level to make it to the finish, but he apparently did. Otherwise I haven’t heard things about Jones too much, though I assume with Rory Sutherland sitting up there that he has his work cut out for him guarding their GC guy. But with all this high altitude Pro-Tour level racing going on for these two, we may just see a pink and black and whatever other colors are on their kits machine this fall!

Ryan and Dusty Getting Ready to WIN!
Ryan Trebon has been pretty quiet this year in general. He’s gotten to the front of a few mountain bike races and shown that his form for the fall and winter is consistently growing, and he will undoubtedly be one of the many to beat. So, what has he really been up to in order to get stronger and faster with so little racing? I heard that he did the Rapha Gentleman’s race (something we reported on last week). That 140 miles of mixed paved and gravel roads in Oregon must have given him a jump and now a trip to the high country and home of his team manager and mechanic Dusty Labarr will really put him over the edge. Trebon has always seemed like the type of racer to walk out of a long training period guns firing and ready to win. Let’s see if he can do that at Cross Vegas again this year!

Nys to Mallorca. Is it that Cold in Belgium Already?
It may only be August, but Nys is already making trips to the land of nice training weather, Mallorca. Seems a little odd, but if that is where you feel at home for preseason training, awesome. The real question that nobody should have on their minds, but we all do, is can Nys continue to ride at the front and as dominantly as he has for so long? Even this past year the beginning of the season seemed like the King was finally succumbing to his old age, but then things cooled off and he won the most races of anyone. Hmmm … I guess we shouldn’t question the King just yet, huh?

Where in the World is Zdenek Stybar?
Stybar has been particularly easy to keep track of. He’s one of the few ’crossers out there that has a reasonably consistent update policy, I guess, for his twitter account. But it is so darn boring. So what is he doing? Well, he may be at some race, or he’s training a lot somewhere, but he’s not telling us anything interesting. So, Styby, we want some info. Is Merckx really making you custom ’cross rigs for this year? Where and when will you be racing? 11- or 10-speed campy when it gets muddy? Are you going for any of the Series titles or just doing a Lars Boom and showing up for a few races to destroy everyone with Pro Tour speed?

Vannoppen Lashes Out at the Papers
“Dopers Suck!” We all agree with that, I hope, and a little part of us throws a little party in our head when they are caught and we read about it in the press. Well, when Vannoppen was popped for cocaine use this summer, yes I was surprised, but he’s Belgian, he’s had some good results (second to Mario De Clerq at the 2002 World Championships), so he must have developed a Tom Boonen ego. Apparently, whatever he developed was not that. Fairly recently Vannoppen lashed out at the press for misreporting his drug bust. He was actually using sibutramine, a drug to help burn fat by speeding up the metabolism. OK, so you weren’t using cocaine, but you were using another banned substance. Well, I can say good on you for coming clean with the facts, but still to this day, “Dopers Suck!”

Katie to Tackle the World Mountain Bike Champs on Big Wheels
It’s been a bit since Katie has graced these pages, and she is clearly deserving for her racing performances this season. Katie has been putting together a solid World Cup mountain biking season, even after a long ’cross season that saw her just miss the rainbow stripes. So, what is she up to next? Well, the UCI mountain bike calendar has become quite a bit friendlier to those that want to race both disciplines and the World Championships have been moved up, and that is where Katie is off to, on her 29er! That’s right, Katie, a former 29er rider and convert back to the 26-inch-wheeled machines for the past year or so is pulling out the Giant carbon 29er for the World Championships race. Well, good luck Katie KILL IT!!!

Working Man’s Edition: Jake Wells to Stan’s No Tubes
In the world of the working men, there are notably few that make a presence on the national scene like Justin Lindine, profiled this week or another well known figure in this column and magazine in general, Jake Wells. I’ve got some good news in the world of Jake Wells, he’s got a big-deal team this year! If you haven’t already heard, Stan’s No Tubes is sponsoring not only a women’s Elite mountain bike team and men’s Elite road team but they are spearheading a co-ed Elite ’cross team to show the world the benefits of tubeless tires for ’cross. Jake is as deserving as anyone for that coveted spot. Look for him on the circuit as he is tearing the legs of the other working men and pro non-working men out there.