Helping U.S. 'crossers make the grade
How do USA's cyclo-cross riders get up to speed with their European counterparts? It's not easy, as results from the World's generally show. But cyclo-cross coach and English teacher Geoff Proctor is doing his bit to help the top Americans gain more experience by organising a European cyclo-cross camp in the depths of winter. Steve Medcroft reports on the initiative.
Something unusual is showing up on the results of top Belgian Cyclocross races between Christmas and New year's; there are Americans on the list. We're not talking about the two names we've seen all season (Jonathan Page and Jeremy Powers; who have been quietly making careers for themselves in European ‘cross), but sixteen new names in one race alone (the Loenhout, Belgium Gazet van Antwerpen Trofee Veldrijden #5 for example).
You're seeing all those American names in European 'cross because of the efforts of a Helena, Montana High School teacher named Geoff Proctor, A USA Cycling elite-level coach and the U.S. Cyclocross National team coach for four of the last five years, Proctor has gathered the best 'crossers America has to offer the last three years running and flown them to Belgium for an intense eleven-day block of racing and training.
The point of what Proctor calls "Euro Cross Camp", which is held at the home of USA Cycling's European-based espoir development program (a house in Belgium run by U23 team manager Noel Dejonckheere), is to give young American cyclists an opportunity Proctor says he himself had early in his career. “I raced two season of ‘cross here in the early nineties (with the GS Guerciotti team based out of Zurich) and did two world championships, and it just was glaringly obvious that U.S. riders needed help. Our riders basically had no opportunity in the six weeks leading up to world's to prepare for the biggest race of their lives.”
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