Jonathan Page is looking forward to a fresh start in 2009 after last year's turbulent end to the cyclo-cross season. The American cyclo-cross star is poised for success after a recent victory in the season opener's Rad Racing Gran Prix held in Seattle, Washington.
The New Hampshire native is renowned for capturing a silver place medal in 2007 International Cycling Union (UCI) Elite World Cyclo-Cross Championships as the first American to stand on the podium at the prestigious event. However, his successful career came to a screeching halt when he accidentally missed a post race anti-doping control on November 29, 2008 following the Koksijde World Cup in Belgium. He was up against a possible two-year suspension that was cleared by the World Anti Doping Association (WADA).
Back on the circuit with his name intact, Page welcomed the early victory that marked a return from a mistake that nearly ended his cycling career. When asked what his goals were for the upcoming season Page simply said, "Not to have a season like last year!
"I mean missing that anti-doping control test, all hell broke loose," he continued. "I didn't find out until three weeks later just before the holidays and that was a big blow. Trying to deal with all of that took everything away mentally and physically. I'll never forget how it felt to be so helpless. If I had a two-year suspension I would have had to pack it in. I didn't want to be forced to retire, I want to do it on my own."
Page stood on the podium in the two season openers, which included one victory in the Rad Racing Gran Prix. He dedicated the achievement to the owner of Planet Bikes, Bob Downs, and his three lawyers for their support during his hearing. "They saved my butt and without them I wouldn't have the chance to win a bike race," Page said. "I'm hoping that there will be more chances to win in my career."
Page typically begins his season in the US and this year's showings include Cross Vegas, US Gran Prix of Cyclocross's Planet Bike Cup and the North American Cyclo-cross Trophy's Gran Prix of Gloucester. His European schedule will include the three major 'cross series: the UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup, Super Prestige and the Gazet van Antwerpen Trofee.
"I won't make the mistake of racing too much this year, instead I'll race into the season a little bit better," said Page who joined forces with new coach Todd Herriott, founder of Herriott Sports Performance.
"I'm not looking for any trouble this year, I'm looking for a smooth ride," he continued. "My goals are to be top five to top ten all the time in order to be on the podium at any given day that I'm feeling good. My main focus is the nationals in the USA and the world championships and then all the rest are building blocks, they are all important and all difficult."
Page returns with his American support crew in title sponsor Planet Bike, and equipment sponsors Blue Bikes and Edge Composites. When asked if he considered signing with a European-based team Page responded, "I can't get much of a better sponsor than Planet Bike. They are a really good group of people and they are behind me 100-percent. They are great and Bob Downs is happy to build upon that."
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