Interview: Jonathan Page
An interview with one of the best American cyclocross racers and former
vice world cyclocross champion Jonathan Page. The Worlds, the 2008 season and
Jonathan Page found his first success on the road winning the USA Junior
championship in 1994. It wasn't long after that the caught the Cyclocross bug
winning back to back U23 Cyclocross national championships (1996/97); he
followed up with podium performances the next two years at the elite
nationals. Jonathan continued to race on road with success with Prime Alliance
(2003) and later for Colavita/Sutter Home (2005-6). During the off season he
dominated the USA national cyclocross championships for three years running 2003
Page moved to Belgium to devote his time to cyclocross and followed up with a
Silver Medal at the 2006 World Ccyclocross championships in Hooglede-Gits,
Belgium. It was the first American medal in 58 year history of the worlds; the
first of the 5 medals the US would win, the latest, a bronze by Katie Compton
So it's no surprise when the talk turns to winning gold in the discipline
Jonathans name is the first to come up among riders and fans in the USA. He is
fierce competitor, both a pioneer in the fastest growing segment of the sport
here, and the preeminent cyclocross rider in North America racing and turning
results in Europe. Jonathan signed with Sunweb Pro Job (Belgium) in 2007 after a
turbulent relationship, he made the switch to his current team Bike Planet
in March of 2008.
Jonathan Page in Hoogerheide
Photo © 2009 Bart Hazen
2008 was a rough" year as JP says, haunted by illness, food poisoning in
Spain, crashes and mechanicals at races. A disatrous crash at the
Superprestige Cyclocross Diegem in late December resulting in 3 broken
ribs. A missed anti-doping control at Koksijde world
cup after a crash that stunned him and broke his bike... which he was
later cleared of by CAS.
Through it all Page battled on, the man knows that champions never quit, he
will return for the 2009-10 season hopefully graced by a bit better luck in his
hunt for a rainbow jersey.
Bart Hazen and Vaughn Trevi.
I take it your showing on Sunday at the worlds
was a result of all the stress and interruption to your preparations. What was
the race like for you on Sunday?
Yes, the result was absolutely a reflection of stress. And sickness and
injury. To be honest, I didn't think it would be like it was for me. I consider
myself a mentally tough person but I really broke down in the race. I wanted to
start and finish the thing to thank all the people that worked so hard to get me
to the start line.
I didn't have any expectations. But the more I rode, the more I thought and
the more I thought the more I couldn't ride. With 2 laps to go, I just wanted to
finish and get to my wife and give her a big hug. I heard all the cheering for
me and thought of all the messages of support I've gotten. It's the only reason
I could finish the last 2 laps. I have never felt so empty in my life.
Will you be racing in any of the final cross races
in Europe that end the cross season?
I am finished with the season now. I need to recover physically. I am still
fighting a bug I picked up somewhere along the stressful way that has turned
into a bronchial and sinus problem. I'm also healing from 4 broken ribs. ( I
broke another one in my crash in Roubaix) But mostly I need to heal mentally
before I can go on. I'm already feeling the benefits of my break. If I'm
allowed, I know I'll be back racing the road soon and the cross this fall!
Jonathan Page at Koksijde World Cup.
2008 Bart Hazen
First the question most fans will want answered is
how is your morale and training going now?
I am finished for the season now. It was really hard. I wanted to train and
race but I couldn't concentrate on it at all knowing that each race might be my
last. I was really tired and stressed out and all I could think about while
training was how I was going to support my family if I had to stop racing.
Have you been notified by USA cycling that you are
on the USA team for the worlds?
Yes I was.
It was a difficult time for you and your family
since the news about the missed test was announced. How did you get through
Through the sand pit in Koksijde, before a crash that
injured and stunned him, and broke his bike JP pulled the plug on the race and
Photo © 2008 Bart Hazen
We are still getting through it. We've had tough times but this one was the
worst. We had a lot of group hugs. Cori and I had a lot of late night
discussions. We've made a tentative future plan so that if I ever have to stop
racing abruptly, I will have a backup and we won't be on the street so to speak.
I had help from numerous people but mostly 3 lawyers, 1 that I knew a little
before this and 2 that I'd never met. They helped me through this out of the
goodness of their hearts. They spent hours on the phone comforting us in
addition to doing their job. They restored my faith in humankind after I'd lost
much of it dealing with this. I also had a lot of support from family and
friends and supporters. They e-mailed, wrote on my website, called...it was
really important because especially in the hard times, we can feel isolated over
here and it's a lonely feeling.
Jonathan Page after the finish Pijnacker World
Cup; his face reflects the disappointment of a poorly timed puncture that had
him finishing 29th.
Photo © 2008 Bart Hazen
How were you informed of the missed test and
impending hearing. What was your initial reaction?
I got a registered letter via email on a Thursday night when I had just run
into my parents in law's house to print directions to a holiday parade Cori and
I were taking the kids to. Initial reaction was confusion. Then panic as we read
through the papers on the way to the parade.
How did it feel when you found out that you were
cleared of the charges? Any word if the UCI will appeal the decision of CAS?
(hoping that is not the case)
I felt happy for a brief moment, but then I quickly remembered that the UCI
had the right to appeal and that I could have to go through it all over again. I
couldn't even think about that and didn't want to talk about it. By the time I
called my wife back in Belgium, I couldn't even manage to be happy about it. I
don't know if the UCI will appeal but they still have about 3 weeks to do it.
What are your thoughts on remedies on informing riders
that they are to have doping test so what happened to you is less likely to
happen to others in the future?
I have a few good ideas and have been given good ideas by others as well.
First, I'm hoping to get riders together to discuss this. Maybe even more good
ideas will come of it.
The most simple idea has come from my wife and would prevent what happened to
me from happening to anyone else I think. She suggests telling the riders at the
start instead of at the finish. Then, putting brightly colored water park style
bracelets on both their wrists over their uniforms. That way when they go to
shower, they can't forget to go, even if they've crashed badly or have just
forgotten due to another reason, because they have to cut the bands off to get
the uniform off! They can then go right to doping control instead of having to
wait until the last lap to see if they are on the list. In addition, the
brightly colored bracelets would alert others who would remind them to go. Also,
there can be a big board at the start/finish line with the names and numbers
rather than a small sheet of paper on the finish line.
After your second place at the Worlds in
Hooglede-Gits in 2006, you had a tough year in 2007. did the poor relations with
Sun web contribute to this? Do you have an explanation for that?
I had some good results, a few podiums in Europe, which I always feel proud
of, but it was nowhere near my potential. Yes, the bad relations had much to do
with it. It was again a season filled with stress. It was slightly lower level
stress for the most part, than the stress of the past 2 months, but it lasted
longer and effected our whole family just the same.
Off to a good start at the first world cup in
Kalmthout Page was taken out in a crash losing his position at the front of the
race, he fought on in pain for two laps before abandoning the race.
You left Sunweb Pro Job and signed with Bike Planet
in late March 2008... are you more comfortable with the team?
Comfortable is an understatement! Planet Bike is the opposite of Sunweb. They
are the most supportive, genuinely nice people you'll ever meet. At a time when
it would have been easy to drop me, they've instead signed me for another
season, and pledged to support me from the 1st moment when I had to let him know
about the missed test fiasco. It's safe to say that without Planet Bike, I'd be
back in the USA right now, looking for a job and trying to start a new life.
Jonathan Page (3rd Planet Bike) USA Nationals
Photo © 2008 Daniel Elavsky
You started your career on the road taking the
novice ('92) and junior('94) and USA road titles and then caught the Cyclocross
bug in to win back to back U23 Cyclocross national championships (1996/97) You
podium'ed at first in the elite cyclocross nationals and then dominated the
national championships for three yeas running 2003 - 2005.
During some of this time you signed and raced with
Prime alliance, in Europe with CCC - Polsat (Poland) and later Colavita/Sutter
home and had success again on the road. Do you have unfinished business on the
road, will we see you racing road this year?
I like to race on the road but it's difficult to race at a top level in both
disciplines. Cross is my passion and is the best suited to the "keep the family
together" life that my wife and I are trying to lead for my kids. I liked racing
on Colavita because my long time mentor and friend was the manager. I like
racing for the amateur team I've been on for the last 2 summers because they are
good guys on the team and I don't have to kill myself racing a million days in a
row. You will see me on the road this season if I'm allowed to race.
What drew you to Cyclocross? What skills or natural
talents are needed to do well in cyclocross?
I was just doing it in the beginning as cross training for the road. But I
have good balance and technical skills. I can often ride things that most people
can't. It was entertaining so I stuck with it and was doing ok at it so I
stayed...Then, I wanted to start a family and my wife and I both agreed that
when we had kids, I wouldn't leave them for weeks on end and that we'd try to
create a supportive atmosphere where everyone supports me in return for me
supporting them in their activities and being around to watch them grow up.
Jon on the steps at Hoogerheide.
What are your future plans and Goals?
I want to have a real shot at a season over here. Without major stress,
injuries or sickness. I want to see what I can do with that. I want to get on
that Worlds podium again. I also want to explore my options for what I can do
with myself in the future in bike racing.
When do you leave for Hoogerhiede?
I arrived the day before. It was nice to stay at home and cut the cost of the
You can follow Jonathan at his website:
The Jonathan Page
Learn about his Sponsor Planet Bike at:
JP rides Blue
During the cyclocross off season Jonathan races on the road with the Battley
Harley Davidson elite amateur team. The team centered in Washington D.C.
races the Mid Atlantic regional races with the goal of nurturing regional talent
in support of their goal to become nationally competitive Cat. 1 and move
on to the professional ranks.
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