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US Crossers on the World Stage

I for one followed the World Cross Championships from Holland this past weekend with great interest, as we had two riders with shots at top 10 results. And they didn't disappoint.

In the Juniors (18 and under) Bjorn Selander rode to a truly excellent 7th, 20 seconds back of the winner Boy Van Poppel (apparently this is a common Dutch name. If he's got a sister named 'girl' I'm indicting the whole country on abuse charges). He got nudged out of 5th in a 3 up sprint but was probably a bit knackered from a crash a couple of laps earlier. Up til that point he'd been in the breakaway group of 7 and riding very strongly. He is a multiple US Champ and I believe he's still eligible to ride one more year as a Junior before moving onto Espoirs.

In the Men's Elite, Jonathan Page confirmed his excellent season with 10th place, 50 seconds back of the winner, Erwin Vervecken. Page has been doing well the last couple of years and this year committed to a) buying a house in Belgium and b) racing the entire WC calendar with the exception of a brief return to the states to defend his National Champs jersey in December (he finished 3rd after contracting food poisoning the night before the race).

Clearly US riders can ride with the best on the road and now off road, but it will be interesting to see how things go in the future. There are young talents like Selander, and up and coming Elite riders like Ryan Trebon and Barry Wicks, but is cross too Euro centric to attract the US talent that currently takes part primarily as a way of extending the season and getting ready for next year? They certainly won't do it for the money, which not terrible, is certainly not what their Euro counterparts are getting to line up. I would love to see a European team sign a US rider strictly for Cross but that seems a ways off at this time.