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By Neal Rogers
Kona-Yourkey.com rider Ryan Trebon, the 2006 national champion and three-time Crank Brothers USGP of Cyclocross series winner, has withdrawn from this weekend’s world cyclocross championship in Treviso, Italy.
Kona team director Mark Peterson told VeloNews Tuesday that Trebon, who complained of back and leg pain throughout the 2007 cyclocross season, has not fully recovered from the spectacular crash that occurred at December’s national championship. The defending champion and heavy race favorite violently collided with an out-of-control rider on a section of course that doubled back on itself, ending his race.
Trebon, whose best result at ’cross world’s was 15th in 2005, said he made the decision to call it a season “two minutes” into the January 13 World Cup event at Liévin, France. He returned to the U.S. on January 18.
“My back has been messed up since [nationals], and I missed a bunch of training,” Trebon told VeloNews. “I’ve also had a sinus infection, so I couldn’t train much. With the bad back and bad form I wasn’t racing well or finishing well, and I wasn’t getting better. Actually, I was progressively getting worse. So it came to a point where I could keep sitting over there and beating myself up and finishing 40th, or I could recover and get better.”
Trebon added that Kona team management was supportive.
“When something like this happens you find out who really supports what you’re doing, instead of just helping you when things are 100 percent,” Trebon said. “You find out who has your best interests in mind.”
Trebon’s best result racing in Europe during the 2007-08 ’cross season was seventh at the October 13 GP Wallonie. Peterson said Kona was disappointed but sympathetic.
“I told Ryan to come home last week,” Peterson said. “He’s been over there injured, in bad weather so he can’t go train and do intervals. He’s just been suffering. This is the time of season you have to be going super fast to compete. He’s not able to ride at the level that he expects of himself and that we expect of him, so it’s time to bring him home and get him healthy.”
In the past Peterson has chided Trebon for his reluctance to soldier on when things aren’t going his way. However, he expressed satisfaction in the way Trebon has handled his setbacks since nationals.
“Of course Ryan is frustrated and disappointed,” Peterson said. “I think if everything was going perfectly, he’s capable of a top-five finish. But he’s done a lot better this year at taking things in stride. I’ve actually been pleasantly surprised. That he didn’t have a lot more angst after that crash at nationals says a lot of his maturity.”
Peterson said Kona is now banking its podium hopes on Wendy Simms, the Canadian national champion, who rode to top-five World Cup finishes January 13 in Liévin and a week later in Hoogerheide.
“I knew that Wendy had it in her,” Peterson said. “It’s been a somewhat frustrating season for her, but she’s always been pegging this season for worlds.
“People forget this is the first season she has not had a full-time job [as a biology instructor at Malaspina University-College]. She hit that plateau during the USGPs and has been waiting for her next peak, but it’s coming around and she’s had some good finishes over in Europe.”