Up close: Johnson's custom Cannondale from Tabor

Cannondale built its six time national champion, Tim Johnson, two custom painted Caad 9 cyclocross framesets for his bid at the world championships in Tabor, Czech Republic at the weekend.

“Cannondale surprised me with the new frames just last week, but they'd been designed and built already,” said Johnson. “I know that they were turned around really fast and the folks in Bedford were pretty pumped to send out a set of handmade CAAD9 red, white and blue bikes.”

The frames arrived at Cyclocrossworld.com proprietor, Stu Thorne’s new Pinnacle Bike shop just two days before he and Johnson were set to travel to Belgium to meet up with the rest of the team and for the World Cup finals in Hoogerheide, The Netherlands, and the weekend’s International Cycling Union (UCI) Cyclo-cross World championships. Silas Anthony (Jesse Anthony’s younger brother, who works at Thorne’s bike shop and serves as his brother’s pit crew during the season) and Thorne built the bikes that afternoon using the parts from Johnson’s old bikes.

“I hadn't planned on getting freshly painted frames for this trip so we had completely overhauled TJ' bikes back in December after nationals,” said Thorne. “No biggie as we simply swapped all the parts over to the new frames.”

The new bikes are stock Cannondale Caad 9 cyclocross frames outfitted with Easton’s EC90X forks.

With three years worth of late season European racing under the team’s belt, it has the program dialed. For the last two years the team has rented a small farmhouse in Ieper, Belgium. The setting offers good training to the racers, easy access for travel, but most of all it has a huge garage and additional outbuilding that serves as the team’s Belgian service course.

Besides accommodations, the team has its own truck for race days that it borrows from the Cannondale Factory mountain bike team. All it has to do is import its driver and mechanic, Troy Laffey from the US. Laffey started his trip in Stuttgart, Germany where he picked up the Cannondale Factory Team’s Sprinter van and Giacomo Angelli, an Italian mechanic with the Cannondale Factory Team.

The van is filled with tools, tents, pressure washers and heaters, so all the riders need to bring from the US is their equipment, which is still quite the task. “I sent the guys over with two bikes each and a pretty full arsenal of wheels,” said Thorne. “We have a good selection of tire choices but we had to make some concessions due to the hassles of lumping all that shit over here.

“I also sent them over with a bunch of spares and then brought a pile of more spares with me. So now we have just about everything we need: 18 sets of Zipp 303 wheels, two bikes each rider, spare bars, stems, seats, posts, shifters, chains, derailleurs, hub parts, bearings and piles of cables and housing. And of course a slew of spare Duggies [Dugast tyres], should we waste one.”

Aside from the custom paint, Johnson’s bikes are what he used to win his third elite national title last December in Bend, Oregon. SRAM’s Red component groups, TRP CR950 brakes, Control Tech Cockpits, Zipp 303 cyclocross wheels and Dugast tyres finish off the new frames.

“Zipp also supplied us with the spiffy new decals, some of which are the RWB versions for wheels that we will use on Tim’s bikes and some green ones to match the colors of the other bikes,” said Thorne. “I have spent way too much time sticking decals on wheels.”

The 6 little stars on the RWB decals represent Johnson's six National Championships: One junior, two U-23 and three elite.

Johnson finished the world championship race in 14th place, 2:28 minutes behind new world champ Zdenek Stybar (Czech Republic).

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