By the third lap, USGP leader Tim Johnson (Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com) had dispatched all his competitors on his way to a dominant solo win at Greenware US Gran Prix of Cyclocross New Belgium Cup. Lap after lap, he attacked the course increasing his lead to 40 seconds by the time he crossed the line high-fiving the boisterous crowd.
What a difference a day made for the US National Cross Champion Johnson. “Yesterday, I just didn’t have a great day and suffered to fifth, today I can’t be happier than I am, to be able to win.”
After getting the holeshot and then two flats, one front and one rear, Jeremy Powers (Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com) stayed in control to take second 35 seconds ahead of yesterday’s winner Geoff Kabush (Rocky Mountain-Maxxis).
Slightly warmer conditions greeted the riders on day 2 of the Greenware US Gran Prix of Cyclocross New Belgium Cup on Sunday, and the impact was felt on the course. The modified course, with an extra runup that included railroad ties, was faster and tackier.
Two laps into the race, it appeared to be a race between Ryan Trebon (Kona) and Johnson until Trebon had a miscue with the course tape and lost several seconds. Johnson took advantage of the mishap and immediately established a large lead. Johnson’s team mate Powers and Todd Wells (Specialized) were following a few seconds behind and were also able to pass Trebon.
Powers stated, “I had a good start but I also had two flat tires, which definitely did not help my time. Tim was strong today.”
Unfortunately with three laps to go Wells made a mistake on the barriers. A bad bunny hop attempt led to a very bad crash. He was immediately taken to the hospital. Powers was battling Wells for second place at the time of the crash. (Wells commented on Twitter that he had a bad bruise and not a fracture.)
“When Todd went down, I sat up for a bit to make sure he was okay,” Powers said. “I saw him moving and continued but I was thinking about him. That definitely took some wind from my sails.”
Yesterday’s winner, Geoff Kabush (Maxxis-Rocky Mountain), who was riding behind Powers and Wells, was then able to finish in third.
In the Under-23 category, the future of American ‘cross shone brightly as Zach McDonald (Rapha/Focus) again dueled with Luke Keough (Champion Sponsors). Cody Kaiser (Specialized/California Giant) rode strongly to finish third in that category. McDonald was mistakenly awarded the USGP series leader’s jersey as Keough is still in the lead trailed by Kaiser and Ferguson.
Finishing in sixth, Troy Wells (Team Clif Bar) earned honors as the SRAM Most Aggressive Rider.
Tim Johnson (Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld.com). “It feels great. It feels really good. Coming across the line with this crowd, actually it was one of the best finish line crowds, that whole pavement section it was pretty solid both sides and people were well lubricated so it was definitely a good crowd.”
About his strategy when solo at the front. “Trying to not make mistakes. A flat tire or ending up in the course tape is definitely something that can burn up twenty seconds pretty quick, you have two mistakes and there goes your whole lead and now you’re five seconds back. Just trying to stay out of trouble and I was just happy to able to have a good race the whole time and not feel like I was really underpowered. Yesterday, I just didn’t have a great day and suffered to fifth, today I can’t be happier than I am, to be able to win.”
About the differences from yesterday. “When you get sick or when you don’t feel that things are going great it erodes your confidence and then to be able to get into a big weekend on a high is really tough because you have to remind yourself that you can do it and kind of crawl back up a little bit. I really was happy with fifth yesterday, to get through Saturday night with the leader’s jersey, feeling like I did I’m psyched, totally psyched. Today I think the difference was I just spent more time trying to go back to the basics, I rode the rollers after the race, I rode the rollers this morning, I tried to just stay loose and calm and just focused on what was going to happen that one hour.”
Jeremy Powers (Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld.com). “The big difference from yesterday was the course. The course had tackier mud, it had a little more rhythm, which suits my style, I am a punchy rider. A lot of the riders yesterday were diesels, they just go in one speed and that is their strong point. I had a good start but I also had two flat tires, which definitely did not help my time. Tim was strong today. We are still fighting for that overall jersey. I think he has 15 points on me. I am just trying to stay consistent. Second is not bad. The second flat really got me and I saw Tim go. I don’t think Tim switched bikes at all today.”
About Todd Wells’ crash. “When Todd went down a sat up for a bit to make sure he was okay. I saw him moving and continued but I was thinking about him. That definitely took some wind from sails.
He was right behind me and I was processing it. I was trying to think if it was something I had done. Either way Todd is a very good friend.”
About threat from Kabush. “I was marking Geoff in a couple sections of the course to see where my time gap was. I was able to ride the railroad ties and that helped my advantage. Every time I saw that I was gaining time I waited. He would claw back a bit on the climbs but I would then increase the gap.”
Geoff Kabush (Rocky Mountain-Maxxis). “I am very happy to back on the podium. It has been frustration the last couple of years to have just missing out. Finally it get two podiums in one weekend is great.”
About the conditions. “The conditions were definitely different today. Yesterday was much sloppier with slot of slipping and sliding around. Today was involved more fitness and I felt I did not have quite the snap. Yesterday there was a lot more pedaling. Today Jeremy and Tim were on their game. I rode with Jeremy but there were a few sections where he kept getting a few seconds on me on every lap. I tried to claw back but just did not have the gas to get up on his wheel.”
Troy Wells (Clif Bar). “I felt pretty good, I felt good yesterday too but I had a mishap out there in the first lap and that cost me some time. I was really hoping to be able to put it together today. ”
Top 10 Elite Men
1. Tim Johnson (Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld.com)
2. Jeremy Powers (Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld.com)
3. Geoff Kabush (Rocky Mountain-Maxxis)
4. Jamey Driscoll (Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld.com)
5. Adam Craig (Giant Rabobank)
6. Troy Wells (Team Clif Bar)
7. Christopher Jones (Rapha/Focus)
8. Tristan Schouten (cyclocrossracing.com/Blue/Rolf)
9. Zach McDonald (Rapha/Focus)
10. Brian Matter (Gear Grinder)