's Forum Archives - Cyclo-Cross

Archive Home >> Cyclo-Cross(1 2 3 )

Any ideas to improve the US showing at 'Cross World's ? nm(18 posts)

Any ideas to improve the US showing at 'Cross World's ? nmGreenFan
Feb 1, 2004 8:30 AM
Make it women only? nmDwayne Barry
Feb 1, 2004 10:21 AM
re: Any ideas to improve the US showing at 'Cross World's ? nmdlbcx
Feb 1, 2004 10:23 AM
Somehow, we need to get more riders over in Europe to get more UCI points. The number of points determines a country's start position. With the Belgians and the Dutch up front, you need to be right with them when the gun goes off.
Didn't think Leboucher would beat Kupfernagel for the women's gold but when you're riding on home ground, it can make all of the difference. Glad to see that Ann and Allison still finished in the top five.
Beg to differ...Dwayne Barry
Feb 1, 2004 10:47 AM
You don't lose 4 or 5 minutes with a bad start, which is how far off the pace all of the US male riders were. The top US junior had a great start and was right at the front of the race but then proceeded to lose 4 and half minutes to finish somewhere in the twenties.
Strength in numbers ?GreenFan
Feb 1, 2004 6:15 PM
I think the biggest problem is the ability level of the riders we have...not to say that our reps aren't good racers, but it seems that the Belgians in particular are simply in another league. I don't think UCI points are the key, there were loads of UCI points up for grabs in this country this season and the UCI rankings reflect that. I think the problem stems more from the fact that the superior elite riders in this country won't risk their road season for cyclocross and we don't have the grassroots level of competition that they have in Europe in order to really have a chance.
The question, as I see it, comes down to how do we raise the bar in this country so that when our guys go over there they aren't left in the dust ?
Strength in numbers ?dlbcx
Feb 1, 2004 8:22 PM
It is true that UCI points are available but it is tougher to earn them if you are in Belgium versus here in the States. Also, we need to move the Nat's further back in the calendar so our riders have form that they can carry over into the Worlds.
Finally, over in Belgium and Holland, they have a strong development program for their young riders. As long as cross remains a non-Olympic sport, US riders will always get the short end of the stick, due to lack of support.
Moving Nats won't help.flyweight
Feb 4, 2004 8:52 AM
Moving Nats back won't help. Currently the big problem is that after our Nats there isn't any racing to be had in the US. This means riders go for 4-6 weeks without any serious competition. Geoff Proctor has been working to fix that by taking a contingent of US riders over to Belgium to stay at the Fed U23 house over the holiday break. Getting riders over to Europe in the weeks leading up to World's is going to be the best solution. Problem is getting this to happen. The USCF doesn't exactly lift a finger to make this easy.
Yes, it will almost always come down to talent...Dwayne Barry
Feb 2, 2004 4:48 AM
and naturally the more people particpating in anything the more likely you are of getting people with talent.

If you look at the results of races from Belgium (a country roughly the size and population of Maryland, I think I've read) you will see the number of juniors at any given race is probably only equalled at our nationals. And with that kind of participation the ones that can't hack it have probably already been eliminated (even more so for U23).
American's cannot be thought of that badlybigwheelboy_490
Feb 2, 2004 10:10 AM

According to Het Nieuwsblad. De Clercq has also asked the Mr. Bookmaker-Palmans-Collstrop team management to sign American Jonathan Page for next season, so that De Clercq can have a specific training partner. "If Mario asks that, then we'll do it," said team manager Charles Palmans.
American's cannot be thought of that badlydlbcx
Feb 2, 2004 10:29 AM
From reading of the diaries by one of the riders on Cyclocrossworld, Mario spoke to a young US rider at length so it seems that Mario is impressed with the US riders. Wonder what would it take to get him to coach some US riders?
However, I think next year might be worse with Gina and Carmen planning to retire and Andy J-M is quitting to take a job at Specialized. So, we will need some new blood for next year.
supercupp lo
Feb 2, 2004 12:07 PM
the only difference between now and a few years ago (when we had juniors and u23 getting top 5 results and elites pulling top 20 finishs) is the racing in the u.s. is not as organized as it was. when the supercup was in full swing our top guys where racing each other (and pushing each other) every week. we were improving rapidly. i think we need a national series again?
it's cultural.atpjunkie
Feb 2, 2004 3:45 PM
The US's top sports are the big ticket items (football, baseball, basketball) so these sports tend to get the prime kids as it's where they see a future in $$$. CX is the national sport in Belgium and Holland so that is what their star atheletes gravitate to. Lance will help this as American kids will see the big $$ in cycling which will increase participation (hopefully). mostly cycling just isn't that 'cool' in the US so it loses #'s. Mainly to improve what we have, they need to send the riders to Europe earlier so they can compete over there. In the US they become top dog in their given field so they lose motivation to train, not realizing they are waayy behind the Europeans until it is too late. JP has shown this as he tends to clean house when he comes home.
it's cultural.dlbcx
Feb 3, 2004 12:47 AM
Those kids, over there, grow up on a bike. Also, I think, the Belgians and the Dutch still view cycling as a working class sport, versus something like tennis. Plus, with their long history in the sport, they will always get new blood to come into cycling.
it's cultural.atpjunkie
Feb 3, 2004 10:14 AM
it's like futbol (soccer). kids see that as the sport opportunity. If you watch European Sports they show Soccer, Cycling, and a few others (track and field). So kids grow up wanting to do those. You can go to a regional track meet in Europe with 20K in the crowd. It why US atheletes go there to compete. Cross races have spectators in the 10's of thousands. In America we don't have these as our main sport opportunities (for $) so it doesn't attract the wealth of talent as Basketball etc... But for girls in America Soccer does get a better talent draw as does cycling and the results show. If you look historically, before the automobile cycling was huge in America (Major Taylor) it provided a good career and the US was competitive if not amongst the top in the world.
The Crux of the MatterGreenFan
Feb 3, 2004 6:56 PM
That's what I'm getting at...instead of trying to find a way to financially support sending kids "over there", what we REALLY need to do is find a way to raise the bar in THIS country. Whether that can be accomplished by a better developmental program at the grassroots level, or an "extended" season, or simply trying to draw in more racers from other disciplines, or some other possibility is up for discussion. I think it's become painfully obvious that USAC isn't about to dump a bunch of money into 'cross, and the USOC couldn't care less, so it's up to the locals.
The Crux of the Matterdlbcx
Feb 4, 2004 9:13 AM
In Nor Cal, most of the promoters allow the juniors to ride for free. But, the number of 15-18 yr riders is painfully small. So, someone like Switters has to ride with seniors to get any competition.
The one idea that someone is doing here is that they are starting a high school mtn bike race league. I'll recommend to the promoter that he should include cross in his program, too.
So, I think this is where it has to start. But, without racing with Euros, I still think we are still at a disadvantage.
Problems with raising the bar in the USflyweight
Feb 4, 2004 9:31 AM
I think people are forgetting one other tiny fact: geography. Belgium and Holland combined are still smaller than most US states. The reality is that even if something like the Supercup were to return the fact is very few people would be able to compete in it due to the enormous costs (in time and $$$) of flying back and forth across the country.

My team spent a huge amount of money flying some of our kids across the country scooping up UCI points to go to World's. We are **very** fortunate to have some incredibly generous sponsors that allow us to do this. We also did it because there simply isn't enough local talent to compete against. We would have probably preferred to have our kids simply race locally against the elite men but there are two problems with this:
1) You don't get any UCI points which in turn means no World's.
2) "Adult" men get **really** pissy when some 16 year old blows them clean out of the water.

One thing that would greatly help in rider development would be to allow juniors to compete in local elite men competitions and still be able to get UCI points. Juniors should be divided into two groups:
1) "Development" which would only race against other juniors.
2) "Elite" which would be for kids like Konrad, Jamey, Tucker, Adam, etc. who routinely blow the rest of the junior field away on their home turf. Instead of competing against other juniors they would race against the elite men but would still be awarded UCI points as if they were a seperate class. Since the top 5-10 juniors in this country can probably beat 70-80% of the Mens A field in most races this would give them some much needed competition.

As it stands, the only time these elite juniors get to experience any serious competition is Nationals. That's the only time the top 5-10 juniors get to compete against each other due to the expense of travelling across the country (and also getting time off from school) Even at the major UCI races like Portland, Clif Bar GP, Gloucester, etc. you only have 1-3 of the top juniors competing.

The emphasis should be placed on juniors/U23 riders as they represent the future and also because they have far more limited sponsorship opportunities. Elite Men have trade teams that can more readily afford to send them to World's. The USCF should put what limited money it has for cross towards junior/U23 riders. Establishing a permanent, post-Nats camp at the Belgium house (like the program Geoff ran this winter) would be a huge first step towards upping the bar.
well saidatpjunkie
Feb 4, 2004 9:52 AM
and get more kids into riding bikes instead of Playstation. I have a daughter and I'll do my damndest to raise her in a bike culture.