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Team owner picks Johnson, Trebon and Driscoll as potential winners
Stu Thorne's Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com team is one of the best-known outfits on the US cyclo-cross circuit. The team boasts a cadre of current and former national champions, including riders Tim Johnson, Ryan Trebon, Jamey Driscoll, and Kaitlin Antonneau. The team benefits from Thorne's technical knowledge and level headed approach to racing.
Thorne's attention to detail will be a key factor in his riders' success on Sunday at US Cyclo-cross Nationals in Verona, Wisconsin. Shifting weather conditions will require multiple tire changes, which Thorne's Cyclocrossworld.com business is in a unique position to supply.
"We have every option there is," said Thorne when asked how he would set up his riders for Sunday's races. "We have Dugast, Small Birds, Typhoons, Pipistrellos, Pipsqualos, the whole thing, so we are all set. We are just ready for what ever we have to pull out of the truck."
While Thorne is competitive, and being on the top step is important to him, he has searched out riders who fit his management style and his team's character. Thorne brightened up when asked about Trebon, who is coming into nationals after a block of training in California. "He's super detailed, he's into his equipment, and knows everything about it," said Thorne on his relationship with Trebon over the last year. "He's in tune with it, and he's just a good guy. I've always worked with Ryan in the past, but not at this level, and I think it's been really good."
Thorne's even handed guidance is ideal for a young rider like Kaitlin Antonneau who at 21 is juggling an elite racing schedule and life as a full time student. Antonneau's workload, both on and off the bike, has meant her 2012 season was not as prolific as many expected after her second place at nationals in 2012. "She's so driven and she wants to excel at everything. That doesn't just include cycling, that includes her studies as well," said Thorne about Antonneau's "other job". "She wants to do well at school and get that over with, so she's been pretty stressed about that."
When talking about his team's chances for the championship race on Sunday, Thorne gave a nod to both Johnson and Trebon, who have won big races in the past, but made a case that Driscoll was a wild card to be watched. "Jamie is one of the best bike handlers out there, he's very under rated," said Thorne. "He typically does very well in these conditions. He's going really well right now, and I think he's got a shot at things."
Thorne's team has already qualified Antonneau for the UCI World Cyclo-cross Championships in Louisville, Kentucky and is likely to send the whole team, assuming Driscoll can pick up a discretionary spot next to Johnson and Trebon.
The elite women's US Cyclo-cross National Championship race starts at 1:00 pm CST, and the elite men's race starts at 2:15 pm CST on Sunday, January 13 in Verona, Wisconsin.
You can follow the race live on Cyclingnews.