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Meet Tim Johnson … mountain bike racer. Yes, you read that right. The man best known for his world-class cyclocross skills (multi-time U.S. national champion) and road racing (veteran of the U.S. domestic circuit) is looking to diversify. Or at least lay a solid fitness base ahead of the 2011 ‘cross season.
On Saturday, Johnson will line up at the Leadville 100, lending horsepower to a Cannondale team that also boasts Jeremiah Bishop (fifth last year), Alex Grant (eighth), and Tinker Juarez (16th). It’s the closet thing to a full-fledged pro team toeing the Leadville start line, and could lend itself to some serious team tactics in an event that’s essentially a road race on dirt.
After that, Johnson will get exactly no days off, as he heads from Leadville over to Summit County for the six-day Breck Epic MTB stage race.
Propelling Johnson for this seven-day tour of the Colorado Rockies will be a new-for-2011 Cannondale Scalpel 29er. This sub-21-pound bike was first spotted at Sea Otter back in April, but has yet to show up at your local bike shop (September or October was last word. Retail price for the top end carbon model: about $6,900). Here’s a sneak peak of what is sure to be a hot seller on the cross-country race circuit.