The Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld.com streak has been broken at the Greenware US Gran Prix of Cyclocross and it took a Canadian to do it. Geoff Kabush (Rocky Mountain-Maxxis) was obviously the strongest at the muddy, slippery New Belgium Cup race today where he took his first cross win since 2005.
“It’s been a frustrating couple of years missing the podium, getting another win is great for me.” said former Canadian Cross National Champion Kabush who has had a lot of fourths these past years.
Finally after weeks, months of dry, dusty and mostly hot cross racing, we had some mud and cold weather for the race in Fort Collins CO. With temperatures in the high 30s, the course was a slip and slide with the top layer melting to mud over a slick surface. Tire pressure and pitting strategy was even more important.
Kabush took control of the race on the second lap when he powered away from the field while behind him the chase was on. Only one man was able to make contact when Jamey Driscoll (Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld.com) caught the Canadian about halfway through the 60-minute race and then actually gapped him for a couple of laps. But Kabush kept calm – he knew that his legs were better – and set about reeling him back. Then with two laps to go, Kabush put in attack that could not be answered. Solo off the front, he had time to enjoy his victory, high-fiving fans on both sides of the road before posting his salute. Driscoll held on to finish second.
The battle for third was a hoot, a slippery hoot. Ryan Trebon (Kona), Tim Johnson (Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld.com) and Todd Wells (Specialized) took turns attacking and marking each other. The trio was sliding around on the slick course, switching off back and forth at the front even getting a few bike lengths but no one was able to take advantage of the bobbles. On the final lap, Trebon was able to hold a small gap to take third ahead of Wells and Johnson.
Once again, USGP leader into the race Jeremy Powers (Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld.com) had a blistering start, taking the holeshot and setting a fast pace on the first lap with Trebon, Kabush, Barry Wicks (Kona), Johnson and gaps already forming in the field. But then Powers faltered, battling the conditions and tire pressure and started to fall back to eleventh after crashing and tangling up with the tape on an off-camber. After calming down and getting his tire pressure adjusted, Powers found his legs to finish seventh.
Tied on points with Powers going into the race, with his fifth place finish, Johnson re-takes the USGP leader’s jersey.
In the U23 race, Zach McDonald (Rapha/Focus) rocketed from a third-row start position in one lap to reach the leaders. He held for sixth overall, top U23 honors, and earned the the SRAM Most Aggressive Rider award. Luke Keough (Champion System/Keough Cyclocross) was the second U23 and retained the series lead. Jeremy Ferguson (CalGiant) finished third in the U23 category.
Racing continues tomorrow where conditions will be similar and the a new obstacle will be added to the course, a runup with railroad ties.
Geoff Kabush (Maxxis /Rocky Mountain). “Last couple of years cross has been kind of frustrating, I haven’t been able to get on the podium and this year after all the summer cross it’s nice to have finally a muddy race, it’s kind of when I can use my skills and today I just got my rhythm and I was able to get out front and ride my lines and recover in the sections. It’s a lot easier when you’re not trying to fight for lines and battle the other guys.”
About flow. “I got out and even with a couple of mistakes, I dropped my chain, had a few pit changes and Jeremy went in front of me but I didn’t panic and just kept in control. I could feel on a couple on the fitness section that I had a little bit extra go so I just wanted a couple of laps and with two and a half, on a fast uphill, I wound it up a bit and was able to get a gap and then just settle in and ride away after that.”
Any definitive moments in the race? “It just the subtle downhill technical sections I just felt that I could really relax and maybe recover a bit more than the other guys. Like I said when you’re riding by yourself it’s a lot easier just to recover in sections when you’re not fighting those guys for the corners you can ride your line and save a lot of energy.”
About skipping Canadian Cross Championships. “It was just a long way and flying with bikes these days gets expensive. It was nice to take a weekend off, I had a lot to do at home but sometimes when you’re just go go go at home, you’re not focusing so much and sometimes that brings out better results. It’s kind of a relief to get on the road and get to racing again, it’s been a frustrating couple of years missing the podium, getting another win is great for me.”
Jamey Driscoll (Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld.com). “I knew that Geoff was going to be a pretty hard guy to beat. Got that initial gap on him but it never got above 10 seconds. I knew that with this course you have to nail every section or that gap will evaporate instantly. There was that one lap where that actually happened. I didn’t fall down but I did not nail the sections. Geoff caught me, I thought it would be more tactical. There were some tactics in the pit area but that was about all. ”
Ryan Trebon (Kona). “At the start I wanted to get out there and ride a clean lap. We actually had a big gap. The first lap was fast. I just could hang on and I made mistakes. I had problems getting into my peddles like everyone. It was so muddy out there. The course was really chunky and slick. I was sliding everywhere. Physically I feel pretty good. The guys up front were riding awesome. I was just watching Tim and Todd and make sure I finished ahead of them. I just couldn’t stop making mistakes.”
About the course. “The mud thickened up. Once there was a good rut you could ride that fast but if there was not a rut, it was hard. I hope it dries out tomorrow and gets firm. The course is good. I like the hilliness.”
Tim Johnson (Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld.com). “The battle for third was probably one of the most fun battles I have had in a long time. Even if we weren’t going for the win we were still going for good placings and points. None of us could put together a whole good lap. We would have good sections and keep coming after each other…and crashing…and coming after each other. It seems like Ryan was really flying. Todd and I ended up taking up scraps. I didn’t think of the overall USGP leader’s jersey until the race was over. When third was still possible, you just have to keep fighting. I really wish I could have gotten in front of Todd because he is going to be a contender for the overall leader’s jersey. There is always tomorrow.”
About the race, “It’s tough to put together good legs and good skills. For someone like Geoff, he really deserves to win. He is one of those guys who is always there forcing you to really battle. He put together a perfect race today.”
Todd Wells (Specialized). “It was a really slick course and everyone seemed to be riding pretty well, it was fun. Those guys had a pretty clean shot on the first lap or two, once you have your lines figured out you can go a lot faster if you hit the correct lines and they seemed to be hitting those good lines right from the gun and they were both riding strong.”
Zach McDonald (Rapha/Focus). “I just didn’t want to blow up at the altitude so I just started slow, I kept picking people off. I tried more to stay smooth than anything else, try not to rush it because if you rush it you make mistakes and that will kill you in a race like this. ”
Jeremy Powers (Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld.com). “It wasn’t the altitude, it was just a hard day, it’s shit conditions for me and I just got to continue to work on it. I had to keep my head together, it was hard, I was in eleventh at one point – no matter what way you cut the pie that’s hard, you’re just out there dying, I’m like ‘crap what am I doing to myself right now?’ I was just trying to do my best, I started to get it back together. I got the tire pressure right, I was switching bikes every lap just to get it right and I finally got it right. After I got all that stuff out of my head, I was just picking guys off one after the next but I’ve said it before at altitude it’s really hard to come back from something like that. Kudos to the guys that did well and I just want to keep this jersey on my back as possible, stay consistent and try to do that.”
Getting stronger after crashing. “It was two things, I calmed down after I ate it. I specifically said ‘I’m getting dropped and I need to take some risks’ and as soon as I took a risk I slammed my shoulder pretty good and then I said ‘okay, alright we have to slow down’. So then I just messed with the pressure a little bit, I explained exactly what I needed the mechanics to do, this much pressure and once that was straightened out, I was in good shape, it was just perfecting it. On a race like today, you can make up 30 seconds a lap or you can lose 30 seconds on a lap very quickly. It was hard, true cyclocross.”
Elite Men Top 10
1. Geoff Kabush (Maxxis /Rocky Mountain)
2. Jamey Driscoll (Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld.com)
3. Ryan Trebon (KONA)
4. Todd Wells (Specialized Factory Team)
5. Tim Johnson (Cannondale p/b CyclocrossWorld.com)
6. Zach McDonald (Rapha/Focus)
7. Jeremy Powers (Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld.com)
8. Adam Craig (Giant)
9. Nicholas Weighall (Cal Giant Berries/Specialized)
10. Tristan Schouten (cyclocrossracing.com/Blue/Rolf)