Cyclocross Week in Review: The Americans in Europe

Photo by Erik Mitchell

With a solid break in the North American schedule, the top American riders are spread out throughout the world right now preparing for nationals and worlds. Jeremy Powers is spending some time down in Georgia to enjoy the warm weather and get in some solid training before a pair of UCI races in Chicago (Dec. 31 & Jan. 1). Ryan Trebon is back on the bike preparing for what many hope is a strong return to racing following his leg injury. Other riders, like Adam Myerson, Justin Lindine, etc. are spread throughout the country as they prepare for nationals as well. The rest of the cross world is in Europe and spent the weekend racing various UCI races, including round five of the World Cup. Let’s take a look at how they’re doing:

GVA Trophy – GP Rouwmoer (C1)

The only American to receive a GVA Trophy contract is Jonathan Page, who rode to a solid 15th place finish on the muddy course. Thus far, Page’s season has been a disappointment for a variety of reasons. Perhaps he’s finally finding some form that could bring him another national championship in January.

A quick note about the contract, unlike in the United States, the major series in Belgium (GVA Trophy and Superprestige) negotiate contracts with the riders to race their events. Page has been able to secure contracts for both series for a number of years now, and continues to be the sole American representative at the bulk of these events.

World Cup Round 5 – Namur (CDM)

Tim Johnson made the trip to Namur as he begins another European campaign. He joined Jonathan Page and Jeremy Durrin, the later of which has been racing in Europe since the Iggore round of the World Cup. These three riders were joined by Troy Wells, who is part of the Euro cross camp, as well as Mitchell Hoke.

Page was the top placed American finishing 25th, nearly four-minutes down. Johnson finished 39th despite a strong start with the leaders on the first lap or two. The rest of the Americans finished, but were pulled to avoid being lapped by the leaders. For a unique persepctive on the racing in Europe, check out Durrin’s website and the Euro Cross Camp’s site.

A new trend this season has been to off “side-events” at the World Cup races that don’t feature U23 and Junior races. This was the case in Namur, allowing juniors and U23 Men to race in UCI races on the Namur course, though they weren’t part of the World Cup.

In the U23 race, Kolben Preble and Daniel Gerow got their first taste of European cross action. The field was less then 20 riders, and the pair did their best finishing towards the back in 16th and 17th place. Because the race is a CU rated race, UCI points only went 10 deep, but the experience they gained was invaluable.

The juniors race saw nearly 30 riders take to the course in Namur. The race was a CJ rated race, meaning points only went five-deep. However, like the U23 race, the experience the American riders gained goes further then any points they could have picked up. Andrew Dillman led the American charge, finishing in sixth place ahead of fellow American Logan Owen. Curtis White rolled across the line in ninth place, giving the Americans three top-ten finishes. The rest of the crew finished inside the top-twenty and all riders finished on the lead lap. Tobin Ortenblad was 13th, Richard Gorry 16th, Zane Godby 18th and Jordan Cullen was 20th.

Internationale Centrumcross van Surhuisterveen (C2)

Tuesday’s race saw Gerben de Knegt take his third career victory in in Surhuisterveen. The race featured a solid mix of international riders, but was dominated by the Dutch on their home soil. Tijmen Eising finished a surprising second a head of Lars Boom, who was roughly a minute off of de Knegt’s pace. Belgian Ben Berden marked his return to European racing with a 10th place finish. Only two Americans, Daniel Gerow and Kolben Preble took the start in in Surhuisterveen. The two U23 continued to suffer the growing pains of racing with Europe’s top riders and failed to finish.

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