Reigning US champion Jeremy Powers (Rapha-Focus) is not the only American cyclo-cross champion who is aiming for a front row start at the 2013 UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships powered by Exergy this February in Louisville, KY. Redline's Logan Owen also has his sights squarely on the rainbow stripes.
"I definitely want to be front row." said 17-year old Owen who has won the US national cross title as a junior for seven years in a row. "I think I have a very good chance at getting top 3 at World Cup Standings. I'm third overall right now and I want to move to second, if possible but I think I can do third."
On the eve of the third World Cup in Koksijde, Belgium, Owen is 40 points behind reigning World Champion Mathieu Van der Poel of the Netherlands, and trails Belgian Quinten Hermans by 20 points.
He added about starting on the front row in Louisville. "It would be a really huge thing to be right up there with those guys at the line and to be able to pick my spot and to be able to challenge Van der Poel and Hermans."
Owen is confident in that he can be successful against the top riders in Europe including undefeated Van der Poel. After all, after a very bad start at the Plzen World Cup, Owen chased back to claim third.
"I was a minute behind second place and I came back and Van der Poel ended up beating me by a 1:58 seconds and I was on the ground for about a minute of that. It took me awhile to get back up and everything so I feel like if I had a clean race I'd definitely could have challenged him there. And I'm feeling stronger and stronger as the season is going on."
The goal for the rainbow stripes was announced at the 2012 World Championships where he finished 17th. "Hopefully, I'm looking for a World Championship next year, but got to train harder, going to be second year 17/18 and go for the win." he said at the time.
Part of Owen's training this year including racing on the road with the Hagens-Berman development in pro/am races with the Hagens-Berman squad, whom he credits along with his coach Joe Holmes to getting him "where I am now". Of note, he finished second overall to Tim Johnson at the Green Mountain Stage Race this past summer.
The bike skills are evident when you watch Owen race. After all, he started racing when he was five years old. "I started doing BMX, got picked up by Redline and I did that until I was 12, won three World Championships in BMX and moved on when I was nine to cyclo-cross."
Owen showed both his skills and fitness two weeks ago when he swept the USGP Derby City Cup weekend in Louisville, KY. In Saturday's race, he chased back after a crash early in the first lap to take the win while he led from start to finish to make it victories on Sunday. Each day he rode flawlessly the long sandpit.
As they start achieving success in one discipline or another, many racers are forced to choose either cross or road but Owen wants to do both. "People say that you can't do both and I want to prove them wrong, I want to do both professionally. That's my goal for the future. If I reach a point where I have to choose then I'll choose whichever is in my best interest as far as making a life for myself but I love both just as much."
For now, Owen is focused on Louisville and that front row. He will be taking the start of the Koksijde World Cup on Saturday November 24, 2012.