By Brecht Decaluwé in Treviso
The USA's men's cyclo-cross team took to the La Bandie world championship course in between the junior and U23 races on Saturday to do a last reconnaissance before Sunday's race. Cyclingnews talked with Jeremy Powers and Tim Johnson, who will tackle the race alongside last year's silver medallist Jonathan Page without their countryman Ryan Trebon. The team was reduced from four when Trebon abandoned his bid for the World Championships after suffering the effects of his December crash at the US nationals.
Powers was realistic about his chances on a power-rider's course. "I rode all the difficult parts and know what to look out for," said Powers. "The steep hill [Rampa piscine] will not make the difference because you have to save something for the other parts of the course," he explained. "The only rider that rode up that hill today was Sven Nys.
"My feeling is that you need a big engine to win the race. For me personally, I would be happy with a top-25 result; that would mean I had a good day," Powers admitted. "I'm feeling really good and confident. Mentally it helps to know that we're heading back to the US after this race. It's been a long season of more than five months," Powers said. The 24 year-old started his season early on in the US and then flew over in December to compete in the European races.
Meanwhile US-champion Tim Johnson joined his friend after doing a couple of laps on the course with an onboard camera. The 30 year-old caught a cold last week and he expressed back then that he wouldn't be ready for the World Championships. "I feel strong, but it's not everything that I normally would have. I will be happy if I finish and feel as healthy as before the race," Johnson said to Cyclingnews. When asked about his favourite for the win on Sunday the US-champion didn't hesitate and went for Dutch ace Lars Boom.