Once again, the Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld.com attacked and attacked hard on the second day of the Planet Bike Cup, the first weekend of the Greenware US Gran Prix of Cyclocross. In a reverse from Saturday’s race, US National Champion Tim Johnson flew away from the field to win solo while his teammate Jeremy Powers also took a flyer later on to grab second. The only spot left on the podium was a full on battle for third in a 10-rider chase group which was claimed ultimately by 5-time French Champion Francis Mourey (FDJ) in a final sprint to the line.
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With each rider having a win and a second place, Johnson and Powers are tied for points in the overall, the tie breaker being the highest finisher in Sunday’s race, which means Johnson is the new leader of the USGP with 6 races to go.
Once again, Powers had the fastest start to get the holeshot and set a furious pace at the front of the stretched out field. The accelerations out of tight corners stretched the elastic with the favorites and few others all lined up behind Powers, including Mourey, Christian Heule (Champion Systems), Johnson, Geoff Kabush (Maxxis/Rocky Mountain), Luca Damiani (Kenda), Davide Frattini (Hudz-Subaru), Todd Wells (Specialized), Ryan Trebon (Kona), Jamey Driscoll (Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld.com) and a surprising Tristan Schouten (cyclocrossracing.com). Powers kept the pace high but was not able to shake the riders behind him on a very similar, but faster course that Saturday’s version. Then Heule came to the front about three laps into the 60-minute race which sparked a counter-move from Johnson who took off solo and the elastic broke.
Johnson was off, tackling the turns and straightaways, powering up the runup and increasing his gap. Behind him, Heule took up the chase replaced by Trebon when he faltered. Always Powers was there, second or third wheel monitoring the action and taking a defensive stance if necessary. Elbows were flying as the riders went around the corners, some protecting their lines, some chopping, some rubbing, all in all, an aggressive race.
Johnson kept on powering alone at the front with a gap over 20 seconds with five laps to go. The pressure was on in the chase group, riders bobbled and Powers went for it, escaping solo. A lap later, Johnson had 30 seconds on Powers who had a gap of 7 seconds on the dwindling chase group which included Mourey, Heule, Page, Frattini, Damiani, Schouten and Wells. Trebon with Driscoll on his wheel were dropped and so was Kabush a bit further back.
Johnson had plenty of time to celebrate his victory, high-fiving fans as he made his way to the line. Powers came in 32 seconds later. On the final lap, Mourey made his way to the front on the runup and held it to the finish line, 7 seconds after Powers.
The battle for the U23 race was also heated. After finishing second on Saturday, Luke Keough (Champion Systems/Keough) knew that he had to hit it early in the race to take the leader’s jersey which he did. Keough was in the second group while leader in to the race Jeremy Ferguson (CalGiant) was further back battling David Hackworthy (Clement CX) and Joseph Schmalz (KCCX/Verge p/b Challenge). Keough held it to the end finishing 19th overall and first in the U23 race to grab the lead. Ferguson, who went down during the race, finished second and Schmalz took third.
The series continues on October 23 & 24th in Louisville, KY with the Derby City Cup.
Tim Johnson (Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld.com). “If I came back in the middle of the race today, Jeremy has a great sprint and he’s obviously riding very well and he would have waxed those guys.”
About his early attack. “It didn’t feel that early actually. The start of the race was so fast, Jeremy had another great start where as soon as he’s giving it at the front the field just stretches out so hard. When there’s just a few feet between each rider, we’re always trying to accelerate to catch back up to the rider in front of us. So when Jeremy set the pace like that, I can’t remember exactly when it was that we ended up switching it up, I think it was maybe two or three laps in.”
“A course like this, like Francis was saying, you tie together the really hard corners with straightaways that basically have one speed, so when everybody accelerates hard out of a corner, gets up to speed, you really can’t make up much time unless you’re going really fast in the corners and get your own line. Jeremy and I were riding Cannondale bikes that are just made for turning, they’re really quick and explosive out of the corners so definitely made this weekend great for the two of us, and Jamey too.”
Jeremy Powers (Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld.com). “Today’s race unfolded similar to yesterday’s race where Tim got away and I actually wasn’t the guy that was even trying to slow things down or do anything like that. Christian Heule, the former Swiss National Champion, took up the chase and I was right him, he actually gapped me off. And when he stopped, RyanTrebon took up the chase and then by that point Tim had been putting time into those guys, and I just sat back and tried to follow their wheels but it was a lot of yo-yoing, we were going really hard behind. After probably five laps to go, I noticed that there were guys that were starting to falter, they made a couple of mistakes and slowed down and I made my attack on the road back here, and that was it, I got ten seconds and extended that throughout the next four laps.”
About keeping the jersey only one day. “Not disappointed at all. There’s going to be a lot more racing to go and I’m actually happy that I was able to sneak away and get second. I’m not just a hundred percent yet and that’s the good news.”
Francis Mourey (FDJ). “The essential was to recuperate this whole week. Today, it was a course more technical than physical and I tried to stay in contact with the yesterday’s strongest riders, the Cannondale riders. Everything went fine on the first two laps and then I was boxed in when the American Champion attacked and he was gone. After that, we were fighting for second place. When the second rider went, I was not in good position in the group and it is very difficult to pass on this course to try and bring it back it. I focused on third place. On the final lap I came to the front at the top of the runup to get third place.”
Elite Men Top Ten (Complete Results)
1. Tim Johnson (Cannondale powered by CyclocrossWorld.com)
2. Jeremy Powers (Cannondale powered by CyclocrossWorld.com)
3. Francis Mourey (FDJ)
4. Christian Heule (Champion Systems)
5. Tristan Shouten (cyclocrossracing.com)
6. Davide Frattini (HUDZ Subaru)
7. Luca Damiani (Kenda Pro Cycling)
8. Todd Wells (Specialized Factory Team)
9. Ryan Trebon (Kona)
10. Jamey Driscoll (Cannondale powered by CyclocrossWorld.com)