The USGP of Cyclocross kicked off today in Sun Prairie, WI today under beautiful sunny skies and warm weather with the Planet Bike Cup.
Jeremy Powers (Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com) had time to savor his victory when he dropped three-time World Champion Erwin Vervecken (Revor Baboco) in the final lap of Planet Bike Cup, the first race of the USGP series.
“I’m absolutely excited, today was the best day I could of ever had.” said a beaming Powers afterwards.
Powers followed his plan to go hard straight from the start to force a selection and after two laps, only Vervecken and Jonathan Page (Planet Bike) made the lead group with Powers. US Cross Champion Ryan Trebon (KONA) chased solo with a group riders that shuffled and re-shuffled behind him which included Jamey Driscoll (Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com), Andy Jacques-Maynes (BISSELL), Geoff Kabush (Maxxis), Chris Jones (Champion Systems), Jesse Anthony (Jamis) and Tim van Nuffel (Rendementhypo).
Powers and Page worked together and dropped Vervecken and then bad luck hit Page when he rolled his tire at the bottom of Strangler’s Hill. Powers quickly established a gap and kept on powering. After getting a new bike, Page started to chase and quickly joined up with Trebon before dropping him on his quest to catch up to the two men at the front. The gap between Vervecken and Powers kept yoyoing but in the end, Powers had time to celebrate his victory as he crossed the line. Vervecken took second, Page was third, Trebon fourth and Kabush won the battle for fifth.
Check out video of the run up Strangler’s Hill.
You got to go when you’re good – winner Jeremy Powers (Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com)
Plan for the day. “Right from the gun, I just tried to go as quick as I could and isolate guys and make sure I got a good group. I didn’t want to work with a lot of guys, Ryan had teammates and honestly without Tim here, wer were shorthanded, I wanted the race to be fair, I didn’t want a tactical race with people blowing out bullets and then going backwards and us having to cover them. I knew that Jamey wasn’t that great right at the start and I wanted to make sure that if Jamey wasn’t there I could race the race by myself at the front and that was my best plan of attack.”
Dropping Vervecken early on. “Page was riding better than I was at that point, I had overcooked it the first two laps, I went a little bit into the red, I was actually just hoping that he was going to settle down, I was hoping that we were both feeling the same in our legs. We come into this bottom section and everyone was bobbling one lap or one section, it just ended up that he rolled his tire and I got a gap. Honestly that was just the little bit that I needed to recover and let Erwin come back and then when I saw that Erwin wasn’t as strong on the backside I just knew that I had to go because those guys were coming back to us. ”
Yoyoing with Vervecken in the final laps. “It was just my form, I haven’t been training at all since before Missouri. I took a break before Missouri, it’s just my form, I’ve been trying to let it go away a little bit, trying to feather it out but it’s just not that happening. I think that has to do with the back and forth a little bit.”
About riding up Strangler’s Hill. “Erwin is the fastest runners in the world, he’s one of the best guys. When I came throught it yesterday, I can win the race here, I knew that. And that’s where I gapped him off, twice, I thought that was definitely where it went down. ”
On teammate Tim Johnson not racing due to shoulder injury. “It freaked me out a little bit that Tim wasn’t here because it definitely changes the dynamics. Jamey came through in Las Vegas and that was amazing, always having Tim here, he’s our right hand man so we don’t like to race without him but he’ll be back soon and we’ll be right back flying three abreast.”
On his form. “Every year I keep saying, I’m going to come out slower and not try to go as hard at the start and then the Tour of Missouri happens and I come into September and these races are dry and fast and it just happens to be.. you just can’t change when you’re good, you got to go when you’re good.”
I didn’t fear them but Jeremy was the strongest – second-place, 3x World Champion Erwin Vervecken (Revor Baboco)
About Strangler’s Hill. “It’s my last season but I had a pretty good day today and Jeremy was just very very strong. He always made the difference on the stairs, he rode them, I didn’t ride before the start and I didn’t do it before the race. Both he and Jonathan Page like 10 to 15 meters [on the stairs]. I ran four stairs and then I jumped on my bike.”
Catching Powers in final laps. “The second to last lap, we went a little slower, the other two were chasing, even if they could come back, they were so tired from just chasing us, we had one slower lap, I didn’t fear them but Jeremy was the strongest.”
Level of cross in the US. “I’ve been here now eight years ago was the first time, four times coming to America. The level has certainly improved, I’m a level lower because I’m 37. The two guys were really very strong and one moment at a turn on the backside, I fell and they took 15 meters and I couldn’t close them anymore. And then Jonathan had bad luck but otherwise the two were stronger.”
It was my race to lose - third-place Jonathan Page (Planet Bike)
“I’m the best I’ve ever been at the beginning of the season, very good competitors, it’s good bike racers, it’s just the same it would be in Europe right now, conditions are dry so it makes for very fast racing. ”
“It was my race to lose, I just had to keep my calm and try not to over do it or under do it. I did my best today and the way the circumstances were, at least I got third place and this is my fourth race of the season so four times on the podium is nice.”
I’ll get fitter, I just got a little more work to do – fourth-place US National Champion Ryan Trebon (KONA)
His take on the race. “Powers went hard on the first lap, stayed on Vervecken’s wheel, Page come up. The rode the runup, I ran it, the got a little gap, I rode by myself the rest of the race.”
Was is frustrating? “It’s not super frustrating, I was hoping they’d slow down a little bit so I could get some recovery but I was flat out the whole race. I’m fit enough right now to race in the front and suffer on a guy’s wheel but I can’t do anything else besides that. That’s the hard part, it’s not like ‘I’m going to put in an attack and I could feel’, it’s ‘I’m just going to suffer’ and I’m not bad enough where I’m going to get dropped,I’m just good enough where I can just hang on. I’ll get fitter, I just got a little more work to do, it’s hard. That was a fast race.”
About the course. “The rain made this course unbelievably fast, there is so much traction everywhere, you could just haul through every turn. It was good, I really liked the course, it took a lot of energy though, there were no recovery sections on it. ”
Running up Strangler’s Hill. “I never tried riding it in warmup so I’m not going to try and do something in the race and lose 10 seconds when I may be 2 seconds slower to run it. I just do what I did in training, I wasn’t going to dick around. It looked faster, my bike is a little bit bigger so maybe I wouldn’t be able to fit in between the logs like those guys are small” (laughs)
Is he ramping up the form for December? Yes, but I’m just one off the podium. I was fourth out our group in Vegas, I was fourth in StarCrossed, I was fourth today, ah you know.
The women’s race seemed like deja vu all over again as Katie Compton (Planet Bike) rode away from Katerina Nash (Luna) the only rider to stick to her wheel in the first laps. Nash finished second. Once again, Georgia Gould (Luna) was chasing solo and took third. Amy Dombroski (Richard Sachs-RGM) won the battle for fourth and Alison Sydor (Maxxis-Rocky Mountain) was fifth.
Making myself suffer – winner, US Cross Champion Katie Compton (Planet Bike)
Her race. “I tried to keep the pace up after starting the first lap, I saw Alison and Georgia were starting to close a little bit and I figured ‘okay, time to up the pace again’, and I just upped the pace a little bit and that gapped Katerina, I think at the barriers and I kept it on. Just trying to keep the pace high and make it a hard race.”
Getting ready for European campaign. “I definitely want to make it hard and I’m working on starting hard on the turns, and going fast on the runups and working on the barriers because I need to be that fast for the World Cups. I really want to do well in the overall, I got third last year and I really want to improve that. I got to use every race to get the work out in, work hard and definitely making myself suffer. I’m trying to do that here this weekend.”
Racing in the US. This is the only USGP I’ll be able to get to, I am going to do the full World Cup schedule this year. It just makes it hard to travel back and forth to do well at everything. I’d love to do well at the USGP, I really wish I could but I can’t do everything, I definitely need to pick my battles.
Becoming skinnier. “I am definitely lighter this year, about 7 pounds lighter than World Championships last year and I just feel better a little skinnier. I was working on mountain biking this year and it’s pretty hard to gain weight in that sport and I’m trying to be a better climber so I figured just try and lose some weight. It helps with my accelerations and pretty much all around going fast, I lost weight to accelerate. It’s been a good change, I’ll try to keep the weight off, stay a little bit skinnier.”
Maybe next time Katie you’re going to be on my wheel – second-place Katerina Nash (Luna)
Like CrossVegas. “Second race this week that I’m getting a little lesson here but it’s okay, next time I’ll try to stay a little bit longer on her wheel and maybe next time Katie you’re going to be on my wheel.”
Getting on Compton’s wheel. “There was another girl who took the holeshot into the first couple corners and Katie came around her and we got a gap, maybe on the second lap. Shortly after that I got popped from her wheel. ”
Just starting the year. “It’s the second race this week, we have one more to go, it’s my second race of the season, I feel like it’s a good start, there’s definitely things to improve, it’s a log season ahead of me, this year I’m going all the way to the World Championships so I’m excited, I can certainly improve.”
I was riding the pace that I could ride the whole race – third-place Georgia Gould (Luna)
About her long season. “My last mountain bike race was about 10 days ago so it’s hard coming straight into cross racing but I really like cross, it’s so fun, people have great enthusiasm for it. Look at all the people that came out today, it’s just awesome to see. As a racer, it’s awesone, aer a long season, to come out and get rejuvenated again.”
About teammate Alison Dunlap coming out of retirement. Alison is a great champion and she’s been an awesome teammate, I never got to race with her until this year, so I’m really looking forwards to having her there. As a team we always work together really well so I’m really looking forwards to it, it’s really great having her back.
About the course. “It’s a tough course, it’s was kind of similar to the Vegas course, no recovery. It’s hard to do when you’re riding by yourself, it’s a little easier to dig when you’ve got someone there. I couldn’t even see those guys.”
Complete results here.
Gallery (Click for larger images)
Pro Women’s race
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Pro Men’s race
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