“I had an exceptional day, I really did.” American Jonathan Page said at the end of the Cyclocross World Championships. On great form, Page made the selection into the lead group when bad luck, yes more bad luck for the 34-year old, in the form of a flat. A bike change, and the chase was on. He finished 12th in St Wendel, Germany.
“The point was, immediately I was there ready to rock, to take on the best in the world, I did my job today.”
On the first lap, Page had made his way to fifth and was holding in the select front group on the second lap. He was in there with Nys and Stybar. And then, the flat.
“I flatted just under the bridge by the tent, there’s a lot of rocks, I think I cut a sidewall because it immediately went flat, I couldn’t do anything about it, my tires even had sealant in them assuming that would happen today.” he explained after the race.
Page’s face when chasing said it all, he clearly had the ‘get the hell of my way look’. And he picked riders off lap after lap.
“That was it,” he said about the look, “I was very, not upset, but focused on giving everything that I had and I did. This is a great course for myself, I stood up, I had an engine today, like a V8 engine, I’d stand up and stomp on the pedals as much as I can, I could see the people in front of me ‘okay I’m going to get you and I’m going to get you and I’m going to get you’, at the end I caught the top 8. Sprinting for 8th, 9th whatever place it was but at that point everyone else is trying to race for that place. I had to come back to there, that was tough but I’m proud of myself.”
Last year at the World Championships in Tabor, Page was not able to recover from crashes and mechanical problems but not this year. “I just wanted to show that I could do it today, I didn’t care shit if people passed me at the end, I wanted to leave it all out there. I went through everyone almost until just the end, I caught, I guess, the top 10, top 8 in the last ronde.”
It truly was a great chase as Page made his way up, jumping from group to group. With four laps to go he was up to fifteenth spot and then getting ready for the finale. “I was tapped out but still used my technique to try to grab a couple of deep breaths and then floored it, I was a couple a behind when Wellens went on the top part of the hill and unfortunately I could have gone with him there but there was a couple of guys in my way so you floor it and you blow up or you save it and hope again for the line, I did a good job I guess.”
He added, “People can say that you peak for a race but it worked today.”
Two days later, Page and his wife Cori welcomed their third child, a daughter named Pearl Wendel.
Jeremy Powers happy with 16th. After a good start where he got 6th in the holeshot, the 27-year old settled in the first lap and waited. “That was the goal to stay out of the trouble, unlike the other day, I didn’t start fighting with the Belgians to get into 8th, I knew I wasn’t going to make it, I kind of fell back and just waited and waited.”
No major troubles, only one flat and one crash. “I actually tried to hope the barriers and it was really soft on the second side, it wasn’t anything spectacular, I just ate it and kept on going. I switched bikes twice.”
The St Wendel course is hard but one that Powers likes. “A really hard climb just got to get over it, then you have to descend, it’s good for me it had a lot of rhythm, rest, rest, rest, hard effort, rest, rest, rest so for me almost a perfect course.”
Once he made his way into the top 20 by the third lap, “no one was coming by, it was just what it was, it was top 20 and that was it.”
He was very happy with his result, after finishing 41st last year at the Tabor Worlds. “16th is what I was looking for, it’s top 20 it’s what I said I wanted to do, something I was capable of. If it had gone perfect maybe 12th was possible but it didn’t, I’m happy with 16th I have to be psyched with that, something to be proud of for me, it’s a good thing.”
No a good day for Jamey Driscoll. “Today I was just hurting, those two climbs were just brutal, I knew watching the women’s race that was where you would lose the race and I definitely didn’t have it there, halfway through the race, I felt like you should at the end of the race.” Driscoll said after crossing the line in 27th.
“Disappointed with my fitness because I thought I was feeling pretty decent in Hoogerheide and I was just making technical mistakes and today I was a little more cautious, it’s really icy, once you lose it there’s no coming back in stuff like this so a lot better technical day but I was flat all day.”
Though there was a crash at the start, Driscoll avoided it but but had to pay attention to “a lot of really dicey moves.” Then it’s decision time, how much to push and risk? “I wasn’t about to really, do anything stupid, just stayed upright. It’s a fine line between the killer instinct that was going to get you up to a good place and a crash, at the point I erred on the side of easier.”
The college student concluded philosophically, “There’s always more of these races.”
The fourth and final member of Team USA, Tim Johnson was also having a great race. He was moving up making his way into the second chase group in around 15th spot when disaster on the fourth lap when was taken hard on the track and was rushed to the hospital. The good news is no major injury, nothing broken.