American riders in cycle cross “they’re in it to win it”

American riders in cycle cross “they’re in it to win it”


After a couple of nice chats with the American connection in CX racing at the WC race in Valkenburg, I am even more convinced that the American riders are gonna make the difference in CX this season. At the Junior race there were already some guys knocking on the window of the Belgian and Dutch riders, watch out here we come is the message. The main reason why they were not on the podium was some bad luck in the race while riding in 3rd position.

The American service course for CX racing in the Dutch town Sittard is a huge investment in the future for cross and from there the racers are flying all over Europe with all the support they need. For instance, the American women are constantly on the move in Europe. They are 4-5 girls to learn en watch the game from the big countries and believe me they are good at it. Even so for the Juniors and under 23 riders, they are heading back for the nationals and a big racing schedule over in America but are returning to Koksijde to race the mythic race in the sand. Believe me or not, they’re not coming back to make some fun out of CX racing but they’re coming back to kick ass from Koksijde and the Xmas period.

The Juniors Spencer Petrov and Cameron Beard are 2 of the riders that really push hard to mix in with the best riders from this moment. Gage Hecht wasn’t here but he is also a very talented junior who comes to Europe to learn the secret of CX racing. Spencer who had a very nice start in Valkenburg but some mistakes held him back in the field. He finished 10th, although at one point he was battling in 3rd. Cameron finished 14th in the WC race, which is a big accomplishment in a field packed with talented young boys.

The under 23 category is the breeding ground for the young talents to reach the elite level. In this group are Tobin Ortenblad and Andrew Dillman who are trying to reach the best in the world. These two American riders finished 17th and 19th place in a field that is loaded with talent from all over Europe like Belgium, The Netherlands, the Czech Republic and Italy. Good results will come out of these riders as they are very very stoked to race in Europe. They are very happy to be here and are excited to get a chance to do what they love. Tobin and Drew are supported by the crew from the American service course who know the drill and help them out wherever they can. The support team is there to help them get the best results possible from every race.

The American women have already made an impression in Europe, but this year they have already left a big mark on women’s CX racing at the Valkenburg WC. Katie Compton, Meredith Miller and Katerina Nash are leading the way for some good riders to take over the lead in women’s CX racing. Kaitlin Antonneau and Amanda Miller for instance became 2nd and 5th in the Valkenburg race. At the first race in Las Vegas it was Katerina Nash who convincingly won the race. Crystal Anthony, another American rider who has started to find her legs in Europe, was just a bit further back in the pack in Las Vegas. Crystal will be a rider to keep an eye on as the season continues. Let’s see what Zonhoven brings and let’s see how it goes in the next WC race at Koksijde. The American women have very busy schedules this CX season as they race across America and in Europe. There are a lot of strong women coming from America and they have very good ambassadors to teach them.

The men’s elite rider, Jeremy Powers, is doing it his own way as he comes closer and closer to a possible win in a WC or Superprestige race. It would be a dream for Jeremy, and he is chasing that dream with hard work and a lot of dedication for the sport. Flying back and forth however isn’t always the way to get better, but it is important for Jeremy that he race’s in America for his fans and sponsors. His sponsors appreciate that dedication as he makes racing in his home country a priority. It would be easy for Jeremy to stay in Europe to chase his dream of a big win, but choosing the hard way to go back and forth is his way of committing to his fans and sponsors and also to himself. Jeremy strongly believes in his goals and hopes there are a couple of guys coming up from the the U23’s to race in the same category as he does.

Raising money to support a trip for several months in Europe is expensive. Flying back and forth costs a lot of money, but in sports crazed America,’ its pretty normal to organize a fundraiser in support of the rider that wants to go. All of the athlete’s fans and sponsors are “in it to win it” and that is some dedication that we might learn here in the European mainland.

One goal, that’s the American spirit and eventually it’s gonna pay off. It’s also USA Cycling who is “in it to win it” with a complete support crew on this side off the ocean. The only thing that an athlete with potential needs is that one goal, being the best in the world. Watch as these riders take on the world at the next World Championships in the heart of CX racing – Belgium.

Jan v Dijk