What's Cool In Road Cycling

USPRO’06: Jonas Carney Chats

While watching rider after rider head off into the great black abyss that is a mean time trial, PEZ got a chance to talk to two-time USPRO Crit Champion, Jonas Carney. Carney retired in 2004 as US Crit Champion, but came back to the bike game this year as manager of the Kodak Gallery/Sierra Nevada Team.

First off, let’s take a moment to get a handle on just who we’re talking to. Mr. Carney has been out of the game for a full season now, so perhaps his career isn’t quite as solidly in the memory. PEZ will help with a quick refresher courtesy of the Kodakgallery.com/Sierra Nevada Pro Cycling Team.

Carney, still only 34 years old, enjoyed 15 years as a pro in America. He retired at the end of the 2004 season as the reigning USPRO Crit Champion – a title which he managed to take twice in his career.

Carney was arguably one of the best crit racers America has ever produced.

Carney started bike racing at the old age of 8 in track racing’s American home: Trexlertown, Pennsylvania. When he graduated from winning lots and lots of junior races, Carney signed for the Subaru-Montgomery Pro Team at the age of 19 (1990). He stayed with the domestic powerhouse for 2 seasons, then onto Coors Light, Saturn, Shaklee, Prime Alliance, and finally Jelly Belly.

Another win for Carney…

PEZ: Hi Jonas, (he says hi back) who do you think from Kodak/Sierra-Nevada might be in for a chance to win today?

JC: Definitely Ben Jacques-Maynes. If he’s got his form dialled in, he could be Top 5 for sure. He’s been training on his own lately, and he’s really good at getting ready for TT’s like this. If he’s got his training right, which I’m guessing he does, he’s definitely our best bet.

Friday’s TT was definitely not the first time Carney and Pate have talked – see picture above.

PEZ: How was it going back to the USPRO Crit this year in Downer’s Grove?

JC: I thought that I’d miss it, but it was ok. I’m done with all of that. I love it though, the finishes are always crazy – you never know who’ll come out of that final corner first.

PEZ: Who are your favorites for today’s TT?

So this question is a day late, but it’s still worth mentioning, at least to see what kind of prognosticator Carney is…

JC: Ya gotta figure Zabriskie is the hands down favorite today. Danny Pate would have been one of my top 5 favorites, but he just got back from Europe and he looks like he has a bit of a cold (good call Jonas – Pate was 6th).

After that, I definitely think Chris Baldwin has a good chance, along with Chris Wherry. I think Ben Jacques-Maynes has an outside chance. In the Tour of California Prologue he was the first domestic pro – everyone that beat him was ProTour.

Carney wasn’t as at home on the hills, but he did his job for the team.

PEZ: How about your take on Sunday’s road race?

JC: For Sunday, it’s game on. There are only really two teams that have strong, deep rosters and that have some ability to control the race: TIAA-CREF and HealthNet. So I think it’s gonna be game on – no control. It’ll be a real bike race.

No else really has the depth to really even try and control the field besides CREF and HealthNet. I think it’ll be really exciting.

PEZ: Do you think the Paris Mountain climb will make the race?

Paris Mountain is the circuit’s only real difficulty.

JC: The climb isn’t really all that big, but after 100, 120 miles, the big boys will destroy everybody. It’s not that big, but big enough that no one will be able to follow the really strong guys after 100 miles.

PEZ: What do you think about the USPRO races going American only?

JC: That’s the way it should be. I think the USPRO Crit, Road Race, and Time Trial should be American only. I mean, it was understandable 20 years ago, but not now.

That in itself would be incentive to hire Americans, support American bike racers, by fielding American teams – that way you can further support the growth of American cycling – by paying the riders and supporting them. You see some teams, that have only a couple of Americans on their rosters, and they’ll be at a huge disadvantage come Sunday.

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