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Owen confident he can win cyclocross junior world title in Louisville

Washington-based 17-year-old knows he's capable of competing for the rainbow jersey in February

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LOUISVILLE, Kentucky (VN) — Logan Owen wears the stars and stripes of the U.S. junior champion and aside from elite women’s national champion Katie Compton, he may be the most likely shot for a U.S. win at the cyclocross world championships in February at Louisville’s Eva Bandman Park.

Owen (Redline) went down before the first turn on Saturday and still won by nearly a minute at the Trek Gran Prix of Cyclocross Derby City Cup. On Sunday, he led for most of the race and took the top step again. He hopes to find the same podium step on the banks of the Ohio River in February.

On top of leaving the junior field gasping for air last weekend in Louisville, Kentucky, Owen earned himself two top-five results in the opening World Cup races last month. The 17-year-old from Bremerton, Washington, is ultimately confident less than three months out from the first elite cyclocross world championships held outside of Europe.

“I feel I could definitely win here in Louisville when it comes time,” Owen told VeloNews.

Owen rode his first cyclocross nationals when he was nine years old and finished second. He hasn’t faltered since. “After that, from then on, I’ve won nationals in cyclocross,” said the seven-time national champ. And he’s done it in dominating fashion.

The highlight of his Euro kickoff in October was a spot on the third step of the podium at the second World Cup in Pilzen, Czech Republic, October 28, after working his way through the entire field. A crash on the line left him chasing from second-to-last place. That didn’t keep the tenacious American from picking off competition one-by-one until there were only two left to chase as he crossed the finish line.

Mathieu van der Poel of the Netherlands rolled across the line less than two minutes ahead of Owen, who had to put his shoe back on after his crash before getting back on the bike and beginning his pursuit.

“After that, I just know it could have been a very close race between myself and him and I’m feeling very good about this coming season,” he said.

Rolling with the berries

Owen will depart his coach Joe Holmes’ Hagens Berman squad on the road in 2013 to join California Giant-Specialized. Anthony Gallindo’s California-based program is a breeding ground for professionals and Owen hopes it will serve as a stepping to the pro ranks.

“For this next season I think Cal Giant is a better fit for me,” said Owen, who has pedaled a Redline since he was four-and-a-half riding BMX.

While he burned out on BMX, Owen doesn’t plan to discriminate between his road and ’cross calendars. He’s a multiple-time podium finisher at the junior road national championships and in the short-term doesn’t foresee road getting in the way of cyclocross.

“They’re both my focus, I love both equally,” he said. “They’re just so different. I love the atmosphere here, I love the atmosphere at the road races, I love being with my teammates, I love being with my teammates here. I just love bike racing.”

Only this year has Owen begun working with power, and even had interval workouts. After years of BMX racing, he doesn’t train his handling skills and he rarely even rides his ‘cross bike when he isn’t racing. His system has worked thus far, though, and it could put the young American on the world championships podium come February. Look to him as one of the top U.S. hopes for a win at the Louisville worlds.

Editor’s note: This article originally stated that Logan Owen would join California Giant-Specialized for cyclocross in 2013. At this time, Owen’s contract is limited to the road.

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