Ian Field, here at Koppenberg, will also be starting his season in the US. Bart Hazen

Ian Field, here at Koppenberg, will also be starting his season in the US. © Bart Hazen

by Kat Statman

We’re just over a month away from the opening race of the American UCI cyclocross season, Nittany Lion Cross, and it’s sounding like things are heating up in the world of pro cyclocross. Cannondale– announced the signing of Christian Heule for the 2011 season. Katie Compton won the Steamboat Springs Stinger. Bart Wellens, Sven Nys, Niels Albert, Sven Vantourenhout, Tom Meeusen, Rob Peeters and Ben Berden race with motocrossers for charity. Danny Summerhill has been called up to the big leagues. More and more riders using the US early UCI races to grab some points and early season fitness, is the overseas travel worth it? Geoff Kabush doing some super secret cyclocross training at Deer Valley. Tim Johnson joins the Canadian and takes a top five in the short track race against Jonathan Page, Troy Wells, Tad Elliot, Jack Hinkens, and Keegan Swenson. Working Man’s Pro Cyclocross Rumors: TJ Woodruff, owner of Momentum Endurance Coaching, blazed in with the big guns out at the Dealer Camp Dirt Grand Prix.Cannondale– To Continue It’s US Domination in 2011?
This week it was announced, and finally I might add, that Christian Heule is the euro ’crosser coming across the pond for the team. So, what does this mean for US ’cross racing? Well, it seems that with “the Jamey Driscoll” (yes, Steve Hopengarten, this is for you!), Tim Johnson and Kaitlin Antonneau already on the team that the “green machine” will more than likely keep its dominating role in US ’cross racing. But more importantly, it puts one more top rider at the front of the US field, making the competition that much faster. That is exactly what we need here, more competition to foster faster riders and more exciting races.

Katie Compton Shows that Short Track is not the only mountain bike race she can win.
This weekend was the Steamboat Springs Stinger, a 25 and 50 mile mountain bike race in Steamboat Springs, Colorado that is new to the US calendar. With amazing singletrack and beautiful views in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, it’s a hard race to pass up, regardless of the difficulty. Katie showed that she can handle the longer distances, the high altitude (no surprise here) and the stiff Colorado competition to take the win. Well, at the end of July, a long mountain bike race sounds like a good training plan to get ready for ’cross season. But more importantly as the season progresses it looks like Katie has a complete handle on her nagging health issues from the past few years. With Marianne Vos riding so well this year and Katie riding just as well, this fall is going to get interesting and fast!

The Big Belgian Men Line Up with Top Motocross Riders for Charity.
What do you have when the top Belgian ’crossers (Nys, Wellens, Albert, Peeters, Meeusen, Berden, Vervecken and Vantourenhout) line up in pairs with the top motocrossers of Europe? You have a charity event of the best moto drivers and best field drivers put on by motocross world champion Stefan Everts. So, because even at charity events, we we care about who the winner is, who took it as the first pre-’cross season competition involving dirt? Well, Prince Albert took the win ahead of Tom Meeusen and Sven Nys. A sign of the season to come? Quite possibly.

Danny Summerhill Called up to the Big Leagues.
Every August, post Tour de France, a number of young riders are brought up from Pro Tour development teams to the Pro Tour team. Danny, after putting together a top 3 at the Tour of China, has been called up to see how he can handle the big guns. Another ’crosser making the big leagues? Yes, and a young one at that. Good on you Danny, maybe you’ll bring some of that Pro Tour speed to the US ’cross scene this fall, if you’re not too tired.

More Euro Riders Coming Across the Pond for Early Season Racing.
The US has created a well established and respected early ’cross season and every year it becomes even more so. With riders like Bart Wellens and Rob Peeters already announcing their intentions to come to the US this fall that is clearly the case. But the influx of euro riders continues to grow. Ian Field and Helen Wyman have announced they will be here in the US for the same reason this September too. Is this just to get used to the travel before the 2013 World Championships? Or are the early season UCI points really that desirable? Well, hopefully the latter, because the stiffer the competition the better.

Geoff Kabush Secretly Training for ’Cross Season Already?
Kabush is well known on the domestic ’cross circuit and clearly he sort of takes it seriously … sort of. But, even with a few mountain bike world cups and the mountain bike world championships still on tap for the year Kabush has been riding and prepping for ’cross season, especially now that more US ’cross racers are focusing on it. According to Kabush’s twitter account, he spent dealer camp at the Deer Valley resort secretly training for ’cross, with Tim Johnson no less. Now, we know that we can take it with a grain of salt, but when the going gets muddy and nasty you can always count on Kabush being at the front and taking the win on occasion.

Tim Johnson Holding Down the Fort in the Off-Season.
At the Dealer Camp Dirt Grand Prix in Deer Valley the competition was stiff and fast, but Tim Johnson, fresh from the Cascade Cycling Classic, went for it and showed that his fitness is definitely progressing. So, with six weeks to go Tim seems to be ready to really open up the engines and show what a more traditional cyclocross training program looks like and results in.

Working Man’s Edition: TJ Woodruff Holds His Own at Dealer Camp
TJ Woodruff, cycling coach and owner of Momentum Endurance, really opened things up at the Dealer Camp Dirt Grand Prix and continued his strong season on the mountain bike. TJ has been known to glue up tubulars in the fall and do a little bit of ’cross racing for some off season fitness and do a good job of it with top half and top 30 finishes at the biggest races in the US. Well, this year on the mountain bike his results are getting better and better, so a sign that he may be able to do something even better during ’cross season? I think so. Hope to see you out there TJ!