The season keeps going and going. Some are wondering why it’s not longer as we near the end for some regions, since December is just around the corner. Others are getting tired but no less excited about the prospect of pulling on their skinsuits, slathering on some embro and heading out for a bit of an eye bleed. It’s still just mid-season for those pro’s out there, most of whom have at least three and a half months of their season to go. So, let’s check in a bit. The UCI points shake up: where are things now? Georgia Gould and #heckleme. Jonathan Page, living up to expectations? Todd Wells shows that a little intensity goes a long way. Jeremy Durrin and Tristan Schouten grab some extra Working Man’s love.
What Has the UCI’s Point’s Rule Reversal Done?
Last year we saw something pretty amazing: at the beginning of the season, Jeremy Powers was at the top of the UCI rankings and had a front row start position at a World Cup. This year, he’s not quite as high, but mind you, he is still up there, due to the UCI’s reverting to the old rolling points scheme. So what does this do? Well, Sven Nys is leading with Kevin Pawuels nipping at his heels after the past few weeks of winning in Ronse and Koppenberg. But where are the Americans? Powers is the top American in 14th. Well, that is two places higher than his World Championships finish from January (16th) so really the rankings don’t seem to be that far off, do they? The ranking is almost a splitting of the difference of his World Cup campaign this fall with last year’s results. Next on that list of Americans is Ryan Trebon in 19th. Well, that’s a little tough to compare and we may need to reserve judgment on Ryan until he heads over to Europe this year and competes against the rest. A little farther down, we grab Jonathan Page in 24th. That is not bad, and I would definitely say it is roughly indicative of the way he’s been racing this year.
So, what’s the conclusion: rolling system works, puts people where they belong on the start grid, is this a good thing? Why not, shouldn’t people be staged roughly where they are ranked and not in an inflated position because of a weird points rule that gives those who come to America or Americans a jump in the rankings for our “summer” dust bowl races (though this year seemed to be very little of that).
Georgia … Georgia … Keeps Georgia on My Mind
If you haven’t heard, after Georgia had a few, well, embarrassing races (to say the least) at the Cincy3, she sort of called out to the world to heckle her in the hopes that it would make her ride faster this weekend in Louisville. Now, that may work, but is there really any way to get someone riding slower than molasses to ride faster?
Jonathan Page, Where Have You Been?
Page is sort of the American hope at all times for another great result by an American in Europe. Why? Well, he’s always there, but sometimes I start to feel like we’ve put too much faith in him. I am not going to lie, his move to Europe, his impressive race resume both there and here are all indicators that he is a great bike racer and deserves a great deal of respect for everything he’s done. But this early season does not seem to be his friend. His best result so far seem to be eighth at Nacht van Woerden and eighth at the Grand Prix de la Region Wallone. So, does he need some slower racing? You know, a little bit of the heavy mud that we always hear Nys yelling for about this time of year because he’s tired of playing the tactics game. Or, as Niels Albert said, is the field just getting that much stronger?
Todd Wells: Cold, Short and Fast to Hot, Long and Humid
So, if you don’t follow mountain bike racing too much you may not be aware that regardless of Todd Wells’ multiple US Cross National Championship wins. His day job is to race mountain bikes on the World Cup circuit, not to race cyclocross. For him, ’cross is just a fun hobby of his, sort of like really painful golf. Well, this year, Wells decided that some more early season ’cross racing was in order because he was going to head down to Costa Rica for La Ruta de los Conquistadores, the arguably hardest mountain bike stage race in the world. I believe that only once before had someone won this race on their first try and that just happened for the second time this week, with Todd’s storming away on the first day of racing. Now, we haven’t talked to Todd yet, but we can surmise based on how the race went that clearly a little high intensity “cross” training is a good thing even when you’re preparing to mix it up for four days straight with four hour days in the saddle and way too many thousands of feet of climbing. But don’t fret, ’cross fans, we’ll talk to him and maybe goad him into racing cyclocross nationals, though with London 2012 looming that may be tricky.
This Week’s Working Man’s Edition: Tristan Schouten and Jeremy Durrin
Jeremy Durrin has been getting a lot of internet love lately, and it makes sense. He’s trying to go race in Europe and he is reaching out to his fellow racing brethren. But who hasn’t been getting a lot of lately is Tristan Schouten. He’s been so quiet and yet so loud, though Cyclocross Magazine did interview him earlier this season. Last year, Tristan really had a break out year and showed the US what a working man is capable of with a little bit of grit and determination, but this year, I’m not sure what it is, he seems to be doing the same and just not getting the same love. Keep working hard and ripping legs off after working hard shifts and catching red-eye flights!