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Tim Johnson will not start U.S. cyclocross nationals

Three-time national champion will not start 2015 cyclocross nationals due to back pain

Three-time national cyclocross champion Tim Johnson (Cannondale-CyclocrossWorld.com) is a scratch for Sunday’s elite race at 2015 nationals in Austin, Texas. Johnson made the decision after Sunday’s Resolution Cross Cup race in Dallas.

This news comes on the heels of a season that has seen Johnson, 37, plagued by back pain and unable to deliver the results he’d hoped to achieve.

“It’s actually better than it was, because I’m not really in as much pain every day,” Johnson told VeloNews reporter Logan VonBokel. “It’s just not functioning right. I had a series of checkpoints, starting six or eight weeks ago. … Basically I did a couple of my training sessions and then tests, and I wasn’t able to produce anything really. My right glute, my right hamstring were going numb when I was under power. I was losing a huge chunk off the top.”

The root of his back pain has been two herniated discs and contact between vertebrae. Though Johnson has consistently been one of America’s best ‘cross racers, going all the way back to a bronze medal he won at U23 worlds in 1999, he’s been unable to successfully treat the pain this season.

“I love to ride,” said Johnson. “I’m going to keep riding for the rest of my life. The tough part, when you’re an athlete who wants to go out there and try to win … It’s a blow, you know.”

Instead, Johnson will be on the microphone, announcing the weekend’s elite races. “For this weekend, I want to be able to contribute however I can. We’re going to interview the junior and U23 guys right after the race and junior women.

“I’m going to go into the [announcing] booth on Sunday for the men’s race. It’s tough to be sitting here and not racing … I’ve ridden the course, and I like it … That’s what I want to be doing.”

Logan VonBokel contributed to this report.