Five-time US cyclo-cross national champion Katie Compton signed a team sponsorship deal with Planet Bike, a manufacturer of cycling accessories. Compton won the bronze medal at the most recent World Cyclo-cross Championships in Hoogerheide, the Netherlands. She will race the 2009-2010 cyclo-cross season primarily in Europe, where she will compete in all of the rounds of the World Cup.
Compton's season will be built around the World Cup and the World Championships. On January 31, 2010, she will chase after the rainbow stripes at the World Championships in the Czech Republic. "I really feel it's within my reach. After two close calls, I'm hoping for rain or snow and going all out for the win," said Compton, who has two worlds medals in her collection.
The news ends Compton's several-month search for a major sponsorship. Compton, who previously raced for Spike, raced her mountain bike for much of the 2009 season, attending major events as her budget permitted.
Compton will join American cyclo-crosser Jonathan Page on the Planet Bikes Team. "It is an absolute dream come true for us to have two of the best cyclo-crossers in US history in Compton and Page riding for our small company," said company founder Bob Downs' who has been impressed with the work ethic of both riders.
The new team sponsorship comes shortly after Compton resolved an ongoing health issue relating to asthma medication with the UCI. Compton has long suffered from asthma and was hospitalized after an attack during a round of the US ProXCT in Birmingham, Alabama. While waiting a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) from the UCI, Compton raced without her usual medication during competition. Another asthma attack cost her a possible cross country national championship in Granby, Colorado in July.
"Katie received her TUE the Tuesday after US Mountain Bike Nationals," said her husband Mark Legg to Cyclingnews. "She raced (the World Cup in) Bromont (in August) and suffered an asthma attack and had to pull out."
"However, she has since switched to a longer-acting medication and has received a TUE for that as well. After some testing, we think we may have found the right combination."
Compton will start the season in her new team colors at the upcoming Cross Vegas where she will look to defend her title.
"It's going to be an epic race in Vegas. I'm very motivated to start the season off with a good result representing Planet Bike." Compton will then fly to Madison to ride in the Planet Bike sponsored USGP event on September 26-27.
That USGP round will likely be the only time, in addition to US Cyclo-cross Nationals in December in Bend, Oregon, that Compton will race on American soil during the 'cross season.
"I'm doing my travel planning this week, and I think that the first USGP is the only one that will fit in my program," said Compton to Cyclingnews. "It gets to be too much to do everything to do well. With my leg cramping problem, I need to have a few days before and after I travel."
"I will do the US championships and then I'll go back to Europe for more World Cups."
Compton's Planet Bike sponsorship is cyclo-cross specific for this season, but she has hopes for continuing sponsorship into the next mountain bike season.
"We're looking at expanding Katie's mountain bike season a little more in 2010," said her husband. "She wants to race more mountain bikes, and she's good at it and loves racing her bike."
In the meantime, she will fly to Australia this week as she prepares to contest the UCI mountain bike world championship in Canberra in early September.
Compton will race the 'cross season on Stevens bikes. The German company also just recently picked her up for the upcoming season.
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Sue George is an editor at Cyclingnews. She coordinates all of the site's mountain bike race coverage and assists with the road, 'cross and track coverage.