Jesse Anthony (Kelly Benefit Strategies-OptumHealth) is hoping to improve his professional road cycling career by limiting his cyclo-cross season to just one event at the UCI Gran Prix of Gloucester held on October 1 and 2 in his home town of Gloucester, Massachusetts. In addition, he is committed to raising $6700 for World Bicycle Relief's Bicycle for Education Empowerment Program (BEEP).
"I decided not to race 'cross this spring," Anthony told Cyclingnews. "I set an ultimatum for myself last 'cross season. If I did really well I would keep going but if not I wasn't going to keep flailing and riding 80 per cent for another 'cross season."
Anthony had a break out mid-summer when he won the overall title at the Nature Valley Grand Prix. He ended his road season on a high note winning a stage at the Tour of Utah and the Univest Grand Prix criterium, the sprinter's jersey and the overall weekend event.
"I've already seen some physical improvements this year," he said. "I've been racing well all year and I don't have a ton of results to show for it but I have been in the mix at a lot of races. Not having the stress planning the cross schedule, getting all my equipment together and traveling, this time of year has always been super stressful for me. So, not even having to think about that has allowed me to focus on road racing more. I think the big benefit is going to pay off next year after I take a real break this fall."
Anthony is not only a formidable road racer but a competitive cyclo-crosser that has a history of strong results with seven national titles including wins at the Under 23 US National Cyclo-cross Championships in 2004, 2005 and 2006. As an Elite rider he has won Cycle-Smart International and the Gran Prix of Gloucester.
"The whole point of not doing this is to really take a break," Anthony said. "It is going to be really nice to have an off season. I normally take three weeks off the bike and then can't do anything. This year I will get to go hiking, go camping and do some fun stuff in the fall and that will be really nice. I will take my time to prepare for the road season this year. Hopefully taking a real off season and not racing 'cross will allow me to prepare better and be more consistent in road racing."
Although he has made the difficult decision to not race cyclo-cross this year in order to better his performances on the road, Anthony will compete in the Gran Prix of Gloucester's double-header during the first weekend of October. He will also raise funds for the World Bicycle Relief to provide bicycles to people in Zambia. You can help by making a donation at grassroots.kintera.org/active/jessecx.
"I love that race, it is my hometown race and my favourite race in the country," Anthony said. "I've done it every year for the last 12 years. I hope I win it but I won't change my mind about not racing 'cross. I just want to go out on top. It will be my last hurrah and my big goal this fall is to win Gloucester."