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BEND, Ore. (VN)_ Todd Wells (Specialized) is in Bend, Oregon, this week looking for a trifecta. The two-time elite national cyclocross champion is the sitting cross-country and short-track mountain bike champ and wants badly to add a third jersey to his 2010 collection.
“Man, I really want to get it,” he told VeloNews. “Trebon has held the cyclocross and cross-country jerseys, but not all three. This year I’ve got two of the three and it would be nice to get all three.”
Ryan Trebon (Kona-FSA) earned the stars and stripes jerseys in cross-country and cyclocross in 2006. Then 25 years old, Trebon’s first elite ’cross title came in demonstrative fashion after he left Barry Wicks and Mark McCormack on the first lap in Providence, Rhode Island, to win by half a minute.
Wells hopes to top Trebon Sunday when the elite men square off at 2:30 p.m. Pacific. Other than Bend local Trebon, the biggest obstacle to Wells’ triple is the Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com trio of Jamey Driscoll, Tim Johnson and Jeremy Powers. Wells said that on a course that is swamped with huge puddles and mud the tactical advantage the teammates have enjoyed this season is all but gone. “All the top guys are really good at handling their bikes in the bad conditions, but it eliminates the teammate thing,” he said. “I feel like it caters to the strongest guy, not just the strongest team. Whoever’s strongest that day will win.”
Whether Wells will be the strongest on Sunday is yet to be seen. The VeloNews Male Mountain Biker of the Year has struggled to find top form after a frightening crash at the New Belgium Cup in November. He improved each day at Jingle Cross Rock in late November and just missed the podium in Portland at Sunday’s U.S. Gran Prix of Cyclocross finale.
“This has been my best year ever and one of my worst cyclocross seasons ever,” said Wells. “I haven’t won any races thus far this year, so (nationals) would be a good one to start off with.”
A full-time mountain bike pro, nationals are often Wells’ focus for the ’cross season. Wells won his first elite title in 2001 and acknowledged that the championship is much tougher to come by now. “Every year the field gets deeper and deeper for cyclocross,” he said. “It’s cool. It used to be a lot easier than it is now.”
While the odds are tougher than ever, so is Wells’ resolve in a year when he can pull off an unprecedented sweep of his events throughout the season.
“To hold all the disciplines you compete in in one year would be pretty special.”