Orange & Black Conclude US Season at Chaotic National Championship
Optum Pro Cycling presented by Kelly Benefit Strategies is proud to conclude its third season of cyclocross racing with a selection for Crystal Anthony to compete in the UCI Cyclocross World Championship as part of Team USA. The selection comes after a chaotic weekend of racing at the US national championships in Austin, TX which saw severe weather wreak havoc on the Zilker Park course and cause a daylong delay in competition. Despite the delay, Anthony and teammate Kerry Werner delivered top-ten results on the mud logged, rerouted course.
Anthony’s fifth place finish was enough to earn her the chance to compete for world champion stripes in Tabor, Czech Republic later this month for the second straight year. “As someone said to me last year, ‘It’s just another race, but it’s the most important ‘just another race’ you’ll ever do!’” Anthony said. “I always give my best no matter what race it is, but the privilege of representing the US in a race is a huge boost of motivation.” She now faces the challenge of maintaining peak fitness for another few weeks after a season of racing and training designed to bring her to peak fitness for nationals. “It’s a matter of doing enough volume to maintain that fitness and enough intensity to maintain my sharpness. Once on the start line, the adrenaline takes care of the rest.” Anthony must also quickly adjust to the unique rigors of European ‘cross, which stands in stark contrast with the burgeoning US scene. “‘Cross racing in Europe is as big a sport as Nascar or football is here,” she said. “There are thousands of paying fans at each race. The courses are more difficult and require a lot more running. They also incorporate more treacherous descents, massive climbs, and huge stretches of sand into courses to challenge the best of the riders.”
Werner’s ninth place finish at nationals was a solid conclusion to an impressive inaugural season with the team in which he tallied seven victories. Along with Anthony’s efforts, the duo accounted for the most successful ‘cross season to date for Optum p/b KBS’, and the third qualification for the world championship in as many years. Anthony and Werner accounted for 10 wins, 15 podiums, and 44 top tens on the season. Curtis White, who will begin his first season of pro road racing with Optum p/b KBS in 2015, also qualified for the world championships in the Under 23 category after a successful year of ‘cross with the Cannondale/Cyclocrossworld team.