|Photo of Jesse Anthony|
courtesy of Fat Tire Fotos.
MONOPOLI, Italy (Feb. 1) - Jesse Anthony (Beverly, Mass.) had the best American junior placing with 16th on Saturday at the World Cyclo-Cross Championships in Monopoli, Italy. Barry Wicks (Portland, Ore.) was the top American espoir rider (U23), finishing 30th.
Race conditions were optimal, with overcast skies and temperatures in the mid-50's. Light rain fell on the course the night before competition, which made the course slick, but without deep mud conditions. The rain held off until the last three laps of the espoir race, which was the last of the day.
The Netherlands dominated the junior race, with Lars Boom and Eddy van Ijzendoorn winning gold and silver, and Sebastian Langeveld fourth. Zdenek Stybar from the Czech Republic won the bronze. The U.S. junior riders produced solid results Saturday, which moved them up as a team to rank 8th internationally. This will give the riders a front-row start position in next year's World Championships.
"The competition level is so high right now, and I'm proud of our guys," said men's junior and espoir Team Manager Jeff Proctor. "They worked extremely hard. Jesse had a solid finish - the 5th best ever for a U.S. junior racer in World Championships competition. He rode a good race, but he lost a little bit of time at the start. Konrad Lebas [Ansonia, Conn.] was 29th, which was a great result for him. And Steve Cozza [Petaluma, Calif.] was 44th. And the junior men have moved into the 8th spot as a team, which means a great start position for next year's Worlds."
Zak Grabowski (Lafayette, Colo.) finished 48th for Team USA, and David Fleischauer (Olympia, Wash.) posted a 52nd place finish. ":I feel great - like I could do it all over again," said Anthony. "It rained a little last night but not much, so we didn't have deep mud on the course. But it was a little slick on the corners and kept getting more slick as the race progressed. "I was hoping to be in the top-15, and I thought that a top-10 result was definitely possible," said Anthony. "But I wasn't warmed up enough at the start and I lost a bit in the first 300 meters of the 1st lap. I was in the top 15-20 after the 1st lap. But then I got into a good rhythm. We were fighting with lots of really competitive guys for position, and I just tried
to move up as best I could."
"I was much better prepared for these World Championships than I was for last year's World Championships in Zoelder [Belgium]. Those World Championships were my first European races. But then I spent time in May training and road racing in Europe with the Saturn development team, and I felt much more prepared this year. I knew what I was in for. I was still surprised by the strength of these European riders, though. Right now, it's all about getting experience."
In men's espoir competition, Adam Craig (Corinth, Maine) rode to 37th place, a disappointing result for him given the fact that his chain fell off his bike 10 meters after the start. Craig, who finished 8th in the 2002 World Cyclo-cross Championships, was hoping for a podium result in these World Championships. Despite his disappointment, Craig remained positive about the race and was able to joke about the frustrating loss of his chain.
"Well, it just broke. So there was no way I could ride my bike, but it sure made a good scooter for the first lap," said Craig who ran with his bike for a full kilometer, finally reaching the U.S. team's pit and procurring a new bike. "That run took the wind out of my legs and back. My calves were super tight, and my legs were extremely mad at me for running on them like that! But once I got a new bike I felt really strong," said Craig.
Despite finishing dead last in the first lap, minutes behind the entire field, he steadily worked his way back in. According to Proctor, Craig's laps were on average five seconds faster than silver medallist Wesley van der Linden of Belgium. Italy's Enrico Franzoi won the men's espoir race, with Thijs Verhagen of the strong Netherland's team taking bronze.
Barry Wicks (Portland, Ore.) was the top U.S. rider, finishing 30th. Ryan Trebon (Ft. Bragg, N.C.) finished 46th, with Alan Obye (Mendon, Vt.) right behind him in 48th place. Josh Anthony (Beverly, Mass.) crashed on the last lap and did not finish.
Competition at the 2003 World Cyclo-cross Championships wraps up Sunday with the men's and women's elite competitions. Look for strong performances from reigning U.S. cyclo-cross champions Ann Grande (Des Moines, Wash.) and Jonathan Page (Northfield, N.H.).
Information courtesy of: