Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Armstrong tackling 'cross? Trebon can't wait

Outspoken Kona cyclocross star Ryan Trebon has his own thoughts about Lance Armstrong’s plans to race cyclocross this season — bring it on, champ.

While Jonathan Page has been the most successful American racing at the European World Cup level in the years since Armstrong retired, Trebon has been the most dominant cyclocross racer in North America, where Armstrong is expected to compete in the coming months.

Though he’s only won one national elite title, in 2006, Trebon has won the overall at the national Crankbrothers U.S. Gran Prix of Cyclocross series three of the past four years.

He was beaten twice last weekend in Washington, however, by the Cannondale-cyclocrossworld.com duo of Jeremy Powers and national champ Tim Johnson.

Asked about Armstrong’s plans to race ’cross this fall, Trebon said, “Sure, why not come out? I’d like him to come out. It would be cool. It would mean more people. I’ve never met him, never raced against him — never even seen him.”

Rumors have placed Armstrong probable to compete at the Gran Prix of Gloucester in Massachusetts over the October 10-11 weekend, as well as the Boulder Cup in Colorado over the November 1-2 weekend. Both events are part of the new North American Trophy Series.

“[Gloucester and Boulder] are easy courses,” Trebon said. “[Cyclocross] is different. Just because you’re good on the road doesn’t mean you’re good at ’cross, just like just because you are good on the mountain bike doesn’t mean you’re good at ’cross. Nobody can doubt [Armstrong’s] physical ability. It’s just a matter of whether he’s actually taking it seriously, or looking for results — then it could be interesting.”

By comparison, Astana’s Chris Horner is another world-class ProTour rider who has tried his hand at cyclocross. Though he hasn’t cracked the top end of the North American elite, usually placing in the top 20, Horner has improved over the past three seasons, and made the podium at the Boulder Cup last year, a race suited towards power rather than technique. Horner has not, however, beaten Trebon.

Asked if he thought Armstrong could beat him, Trebon laughed, “He could beat me on certain bikes. He could beat me on a road bike.”
“I don’t know,” Trebon added. “It would be interesting. I think it would be a good race. It would probably bring twice as many people out to the race. If he were going to do Cross Vegas, that would be really cool. I always welcome more people coming out.”

Trebon, who will focus on both the USGP and North American Trophy series before heading to race World Cups in December and January, said that if he were to beat Armstrong, it wouldn’t be a career-defining moment.

“That would be actually preparing for [cyclocross] and beating someone that’s using it to prepare for something else,” Trebon said. “If I did [beat Armstrong], I wouldn’t say, ‘I can retire now, I beat Armstrong in a ’cross race when he doesn’t really give a sh*t.’ It would be cool but it’s not something I would put on a résumé. He’s definitely strong. We’ll see.”

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