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Logan Owen came close, but picked ‘the wrong moment to go’

  • By Gregor Brown
  • Published Sep. 28, 2013
Logan Owen just missed a podium finish on Saturday, but says he'll be back for another crack at the title, next time as an under-23. Photo: Gregor Brown

FLORENCE, Italy (VN) — Logan Owen just missed a podium spot in the world championships on Saturday. The American placed fourth in the junior road race, matching his finish in the cyclo-cross title fight — both times suffering at the hands of Dutch rival Mathieu van der Poel.

“I’ve raced against him all my life, every European race I’ve really ever done. I’ve only been able to beat him once on the road,” Owen told VeloNews. “I really wanted to win ‘cross worlds, I really wanted to win worlds here. I knew I had the legs, I just took the wrong moment to go.”

Owen saw Van der Poel fly away going up the main climb to Fiesole, north of Florence. He sat back and thought about the silver, but was unable to find a clear path. He said that he was blocked when an Italian changed lanes.

“I just missed the podium by maybe half a bike length,” he said.

Doubts filled Owen’s mind. He considered the work of Team USA, how Zeke Mostov made a huge effort to put him in an earlier breakaway.

“I took my chances, tried to go early,” he said. “I bridged to the breakaway with two laps to go. I had Zeke drive it for me, knowing I had good legs. I stayed away, then finally, van der Poel caught on over the top.”

There’s that name again. Van der Poel is the son of Adri, winner of the Tour of Flanders and Liège-Bastogne-Liège, and the grandson of Raymond Poulidor, five times second overall at the Tour de France.

Van der Poel won the cyclo-cross world championships in 2012. He defended it this year in Kentucky, holding off Owen.

Owen looked up at the clouds and over towards Fiesole.

“It’s a hard man’s course,” he said. “You got to be able to go uphill to be able to do well. You have to be able to ride the descents well because that’s a lot of the race. It’s really technical, it’s a real hard man’s course.”

Van der Poel said that those ‘cross skills helped him deal with the technical descents. And based on what Owen saw from him this year, the American was not surprised when the Dutchman won.

“I knew he’d be a favorite coming into the day. He has a really good kick on that steep climb,” Owen said. “I’m happy with the ride, though. I just wish I could finally get on the podium. I’ll try again next year when I’m in the under-23 ranks.”

 

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Gregor Brown

Gregor Brown

Bikes kept Gregor Brown out of trouble growing up in Oklahoma — BMX, freestyle and then watching Greg LeMond's Tour de France wins on CBS television's weekend highlights shows. The drama of the 1998 Tour, however, truly drew him into the fold. With a growing curiosity in European races and lifestyle, he followed his heart and established camp on Lake Como's shores in 2004. Brown has been following the Giro, the Tour and every major race in Europe since 2006. He will tell you it is about the "race within the race" – punching out the news and running to finish – but he loves a proper dinner, un piatto tipico ed un vino della zona.

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