By Gregor Brown in Hofstade, Belgium
One week after winning the USA Cyclo-cross Championships in Kansas City, Tim Johnson is racing in Europe to prepare for the World Championships, January 27. The 30 year-old struggled somewhat in the World Cup in Hofstade, Belgium, but was able to fly the stars and stripes jersey of USA champion.
"I don't have my new jersey yet; it arrived at the home here in Belgium after we left this morning," he noted on a chilly Wednesday afternoon. He will be racing in a standard issue USA Champion jersey while waiting for the sponsor labeled kit to arrive. "I saw the proofs, and it looks pretty sweet. It still has a nine ball – actually a nine ball on the front and back. Loenhout [December 28] will be the first race in the new kit."
Johnson fought hard for the jersey that will make him easily recognisable while racing in Europe. "It has been seven years since I have raced in the jersey... I am excited. I have never raced in Europe as a US Champion, for some reason I did not race in Europe that year I had won... I had just signed with Saturn, and I did not race the Worlds."
He noted that although he was far from his home country, he had a nice holiday celebration in Belgium with his wife Lyne Bessette. "We had Christmas here with the host family and some other friends," he stated.
Johnson had a bad start in Belgium's post-Christmas event that saw him riding mid-field for the entire event, eventually being lapped by Sven Nys as the Belgian finished the last lap. USA fans can expect more from him as his legs become warmed up and the jet lag disappears.
"It kind of sucks, we were supposed to be here on Thursday of last week but there were flight delays in Boston, so we got here two days later," he continued. Johnson has recently bought a home in his home area of Boston, Massachusetts, where he stopped over from Kansas to Belgium. "It would have been good to have more racing already in my legs."
He will race on Friday after a day's break, and then travel south, out of the country. "I will head to Switzerland for some racing after Loenhout. Then we [with Cannondale/Leer/Cyclocrossworld team-mate Jeremy Powers - ed.] will come back and race Liévin, Zonnebeke and Hoogerheide before going to Treviso for the World Championships."