For its fifth consecutive year, the Euro 'Cross Camp will travel to Belgium for two weeks with some of America's most promising cyclo-cross talent. Euro Cross Camp Director and US National Team Coach Geoff Proctor selected 16 male riders to take on some of the toughest courses and strongest riders abroad. He spoke to Cyclingnews' Sue George about the upcoming camp.
This year's camp takes on a more youthful feel with eight juniors and six espoirs joining elite riders like Ryan Trebon and Tristan Shouten. Campers will arrive in Izegem, near Brussels, on December 20 and stay through January 3.
"Each year, I try to choose as many riders as I can who are vying for worlds spots." In addition Proctor selects "those riders I see as hungry, motivated and who love cyclo-cross. These are the riders I want because it's a tremendous leap to move beyond our [American] nationals to international competition in late December. Both mentally and physically, you can't do it if you haven't the will to do it."
Proctor picks his athletes based on their performance at the USGP of Cyclo-cross, a series for which he also serves as technical director. The USGP events represent one of the few opportunities where the top 'cross racers of all categories come together in one place to compete against each other.
The Euro 'Cross Camp supports the mission of USA Cycling to develop medal capable and future medal capable athletes, which requires international experience. "European racing experience and preparation for the world championships are the core objectives. For cyclo-cross, the camp is a great vehicle for that."
As one of this year's two elite riders, Trebon is one of America's most talented 'crossers. "For Ryan, this is a crucial phase," said Proctor. "For him to achieve a spot in next year's European pool of top riders, he needs to have some consistency and strong results for the rest of the current season."
On the other hand Shouten is more of an up-and-coming rider looking to make the world's team. "Tristan has been a mountain bike guy, but he was sick for most of this mountain bike season, and he's had better results in 'cross. Because he had such a light season on the mountain bike, he's pretty fresh."