The debut weekend of the new Eva Bandman Park Cyclocross Venue offered a great course and great racing at Day One of the Greenware US Gran Prix of Cyclcoross Derby City Cup presented by Papa John’s Pizza on Saturday. Once again, the battle was on between Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld.com and Kona with Tim Johnson taking the win for the Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com after getting a small gap with five laps to go on Kona’s Ryan Trebon.
With C1 points, Johnson was aiming for the win, in the all important chase for UCI points.
“That’s what eight place at a World Cup? I’ve never had an 8th place at a World Cup, I think I’ve been 11th.” Johnson mused after the race. After being tied on points, Johnson now leads the USGP outright.
After another fast start, Jeremy Powers (Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld.com) made the selection at the front but faded and then battled to keep his third place finish. After the race, he smiled and said “spent” to describe how he felt. The traveling with trips across the country and over the Europe for races has taken its toll.
Just like the women, the pace was high as the 66 Elite/U23 Men charged forwards with Valentin Scherz (Cyfac-Champion System) getting the holeshot and leading the field over the BMX whoop and barriers. By the time the final riders came through, a dust cloud had risen and they could barely see. Something that would be repeated time and again with the very dry and loose soil conditions. Riders reported running into each other on the off camber sandpit because they couldn’t see in front of them.
Trebon came quickly to the front to set a high tempo and force a selection, his goal was simple to try and drop at least one of the Cannondale riders. On the second lap, Trebon had forced a selection alright but with him were Powers, Johnson and his teammate Barry Wicks. Were we going to see a full-on two-on-two battle? Alas no as Wicks faded back leaving three men at the front with Johnson taking a turn setting the pace. But Trebon came back at it and his constant speed change dropped Powers.
Trebon and Johnson kept hitting each other until with five laps to go Johnson put in an attack on the pit and then went on to hold the front over the green monster to the cheers of his mother and friend and then got a small gap in the sandpit when he rode most of the way. That was enough for Johnson to take the win ahead of Trebon.
Behind them the chase was shuffling and re-shuffling. Chris Jones (Rapha-Focus), Jesse Anthony (CalGiant), Tristan Schouten (cyclocrossracing.com/Blue/Rolf), Danny Summerhill (Felt Holowesko Partners) and Davide Frattini (Hudz-Subaru) were in groups that were formed and re-formed with Todd Wells (Specialized) blitzing his way up from a 20th start position. Wells would eventually make contact with Powers in a battle for third, with Schouten not far back. Powers followed Well’s wheel and watched him for two laps, until he hit on the final lap after digging deep to keep third place.
Of note, after watching the women’s race and seeing their beet-red faces and cotton mouth Johnson out a bottle cage on his bike for the race. And in his water bottle? “It had redbull actually.”
Tim Johnson (Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld.com). “I won a race and I won a race that was not looking that promising for the first five laps. Ryan went really fast and then he slowed down and then he went really fast again. When he was going fast I didn’t think that I was going to be able to hold it and that’s the kind of doubt that you want to try and avoid, the self talk thing when you’re at a race ‘I don’t know if I can handle it, I don’t know if I can keep on going’, and I just had to get through it. The water bottle thing actually helped a lot, it really did, so when I did attack, I felt like I had something. In a race like this where it’s so dry and so fast and so dusty, if you have a little bit extra I think it does actually pay off pretty big.”
About attacking Trebon. “I attacked him in the pits going towards the river section and he actually held me until the sandpit, and I tried to ride the whole thing and I think I almost made it and I think I just got a couple of feet on him. When these straightaways are so long like this and it’s hard, if you get a little bit of a gap, that’s all you need.”
About dealing with the traveling. “I came in early. Thursday morning we were out here early with the mayor of Louisville, there was a ribbon cutting. I was on Euro time, I’ve been kind of bouncing out of bed, I’ve been going to be at 8:30 at night and waking up at four, five. There’s definitely a fear that it’s not going to be manageable but I feel like we’re trying to take care of all the stuff that we can, like direct flights, trying to anticipate the travel so it’s not going to crush you, even still I feel tired and everything. I opened up really hard yesterday, got a chance to motorpace which is nice so I could feel I was actually functioning as a bike racer before the race started. If I’m better on Sundays sometimes, it’s always because I blow it out on Saturday and I can actually race open on Sunday and I was trying to move it up a day.”
About Sunday’s race. “Riding around Thursday and Friday, I kind of saw where the different other lines are, where they might move and I think that they’re going to tighten it up a little bit so that the laps are longer. If they tighten it up so the laps are longer. But there are so many options here, if you’ve walk around without watching just the racers, you can see all these different swells everywhere, the natural sand – this is the coolest thing, the downhill sand section, we’ve never had that and that’s actually a lot of fun because everybody feels that they can do it, not trudging through a volley-ball pit with some guy thinking ‘what are you doing?’, this is cool. ”
Ryan Trebon (Kona). “It was a good race. It separated early, I was going pretty hard at the beginning, I thought maybe Jeremy and I would get a gap, I saw Tim back and I think Tim had to put in a big effort to bridge to us. And then we dropped Jeremy and I didn’t really want to keep the two of them around so I was riding a harder tempo, it’s not that I was at my limit but it kind of wore me out a bit towards the end. He attacked and I was with him and on his wheel, and we went through the sand section – the whole time I was leading through the sand section and it was really hard to ride if you had to put a line in – but I made the mistake when I was following him, I got off the bike too early and he rode a lot further and he got five seconds. I was starting to close it a little bit towards the end but we were both riding really quick.”
About the course. “It’s a good course, it’s really fast we were doing like 5-minute laps. It was good, it was dry, super loose out there and a lot of sliding around. This is more natural ground and I like that better because it’s harder to ride. It was good, those steep ups and downs really wear on you. You try and accelerate into it and you hit this turf and you instantly slow down ‘whooooa’ and then you try and force it over the top and then you hit the sand. It’s a good course, it’s one thing after another, it just hits you in the legs. It was hard, the last five laps were pretty fast. ”
About the Worlds course at the same venue. “It’s the area where the Worlds course is. It’s going to change a lot, I guarantee it. The course I think is pretty fast right now and they’re going to have to do some stuff to it to lengthen it and slow it down. I hope they continue to utilize the woods and make it a lot more technical, that would be good because I think that right now it’s just a little bit too fast.”
Jeremy Powers (Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld.com). “It was business as usual, we were going good. I was trying to do everything that I could to just kind of take the first lap easier that I normally do. I’m not going to lie, I’ve been feeling a little bit beat up from the travel and stuff that we did, and just kind of tired and I’ve been trying to sleep as much as I can but can’t sleep enough. I think I’m just feeling little bit of that and definitely didn’t have great legs today but the dust didn’t help, I didn’t have a good rhythm so I had a little bit of an off day. I’m trying to sweat it too much, it’s just another day at the office. Third is not bad for not having real good legs, I’m happy with that. Once Todd was coming across I knew that I had to let him catch me, he actually had good rhythm and that helped me get back into mine, got a little mental edge back and ‘okay I can do this now’. Once I got Todd’s rhythm then I was able to actually get five seconds on Todd at the end and then make the most of that and get myself on the podium. It’s consistency, it’s consistency throughout the USGPs and that’s what I want to try and do, being on the podium is good. Anytime I get on the podium I’m happy, I’m not worried.”
About powering away from Wells. “He would go really hard through the sandpit and then the runup, it was the 1-2 punch in terms of getting your heart rate really spiked so I knew he had to take a break after that because he did the two laps before and then right after that I got him. Five seconds. ”
About missing his chance to start front row at the World Cup. “It would have been nice. I was actually under the impression that they use World Cup points until this morning so I didn’t expect that we would even be on the front row. To know that I would have been called up second at the World Cup is actually a disappointment for sure but we’re here and this is what it is and hopefully if I keep going well, I still have some C2s and we have more C1s to go and hopefully I can stay in the top 8 and maybe go over and still be in the second row when we get back there. One day at a time.”
Top 10 Elite Men Results
1. Tim Johnson (Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld.com)
2. Ryan Trebon (Kona)
3. Jeremy Powers (Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld.com)
4. Todd Wells (Specialized Factory Team)
5. Tristan Shouten (cyclocrossracing.com/Blue/Rolf)
6. Jesse Anthony (California Giant Berries / Specialized)
7. James Driscoll (Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld.com)
8. Christopher Jones (Rapha-FOCUS)
9. Derrick St. John (Garneau Club Chaussure)
10. Barry Wicks (Kona)