After five stages of the Tour of California, Bend’s Chris Horner finds himself just 31 seconds back with three stages to go. The Team RadioShack rider is 11th overall and is trying to add a good finish to his numerous lifetime achievements.
For Horner, the Tour of California title is one of the few major American titles that he has never won. The 38-year old is a three-time National Champion and has already won both the Tour of Basque Country and the Vuelta al Pais Vasco in 2010.
With the two wins this year, Horner’s world ranking has skyrocketed to No. 9 in the world. No other American is in the top-25 spots.
After being left off the Tour de France roster in 2009 by his team Astana, Horner decided he might need to look for a new team. When he joined Team RadioShack for the 2010 and 2011 seasons, Horner was joining huge cycling names like Lance Armstrong and Levi Leipheimer.
After five stages, Team RadioShack is winning the overall team competition.
The next major tour after the ride through the Golden State is the Tour of Belgium at the end of the month followed by the Tour de France.
Oregon has the cyclocross numbers that bring the nationals
By Cliff Pfenning, oregonsports.com
When Katarina Nash stepped off the podium after winning the US Gran Prix of Cyclocross Stanley Cup of Portland Sunday, she took time to speak about the weather during the two-day event.
She talked about being unhappy with the weather.
“It’s usually a lot tougher here,” she said. “And, I like it like that, so it was a little disappointing.”
Nash and the rest of the tour veterans mostly got cold, something that’s definitely expected this weekend when the U.S. National Championships descend on Bend, which got four inches of snow during the weekend.
Of course, as a native of the Czech Republic, Nash isn’t able to compete and won’t be in Bend to battle the cold.
The national championships run Thursday through Sunday, returning to Oregon after two-year stops in Rhode Island and Kansas.
The national championships were held in Portland in 2003-04 and will be in Bend again next year.
Oregon was an easy selection for USA Cycling, which sanctions the event. Portland has a thriving cycling community, Bend features a fabulous downtown location for the track as well as national champion Ryan Trebon and Oregon has, well, cycling crusaders.
The Cross Crusade, sponsored by Portland’s River City Bicycles, features more than 1,000 registered riders and allows series promoters to call it the largest cyclocross series in the world.
No one argues.
The eight-race series started with more than 700 riders at Alpenrose Dairy and moved to courses in Hillsboro, Astoria, Sherwood, Rainier and back to Portland. Cross Crusade founder Brad Ross is the director of the national championships, having created the course next to the Deschutes Brewery - the chief sponsor of the event.
Having the final Gran Prix stop in Portland helped keep plenty of out-of-state competitors in Oregon, one of the reasons the championships have more than 2,100 riders registered.
Cyclocross has developed enough that it’s been linked to the Olympics - the Winter Olympics, but as a companion to the biathlon, which would involve riders carrying rifles and shooting targets at regular intervals.