The USGP opener quickly became a nail-biter between three riders, Ryan Trebon (LTS/Felt), Jeremy Powers (Rapha-Focus) and two-times World Champion Bart Wellens (Telenet-Fidea) for six laps.
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Trebon and Powers took turns at the front, trading blows while Wellens stayed at the back, sometimes a few bike lengths off. Powers would use his skills to bunny-hop the barriers and ride the runup, successfully four out of six times while Trebon took over on the straights.
But it was that time where he bobbled on the logs at the bottom of the runup that cost Powers, causing Trebon and Wellens to close down a small gap in the final two laps. The three were still together on the final lap until Powers once again got a small gap on the front, but Trebon caught and passed him and then a tire washout on a loose portion of the course slowed Powers down. That was enough for Trebon to hit it and keep a small gap to the finish line for the win. Wellens also came around Powers to take second with Powers holding on to third.
Powers put it all on the line today. He went off fast from the gun, as he always does, to take the Avid Holeshot to quickly strung out the field until he got a gap. Rob Peeters (Telenet-Fidea) was the first to bridge up to him and then Wellens and Trebon made their way up. After Peeters fell back, the three-way battle was on.
Behind, Tim Johnson made his way to his Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com teammate Jamey Driscoll but the pair never closed the gap. US Cross Champion Todd Wells (Specialized) suffered a mechanical on the first lap, when he sheared his derailleur off. Once he had a new bike, Wells started to chase from way off the back, he was a man on a mission to ultimately finish 16th on the day.
In his first year as an Espoir, Yannick Eckmann (Pearl Izumi) finished 17th overall after starting on the last row to win the U23 classification. Cody Kaiser (CalGiant) was second and Zach McDonald (Rapha-Focus) rounded off the U23 podium.
Racing continues on Sunday where we can all be assured of balls to the wall racing once again – after a lot of rain. Follow along on @podium_live.
Ryan Trebon (L&T/Felt). “I think we were super evenly matched, fitness and bike-wise handling. Coming into the last lap, I pushed the pace a little bit in the sections in the woods, I thought I heard somebody, it sounded like they washed out the front tire a little and I saw I had ten feet and I just punched it. I felt super confident, my bike was riding great, my tires were holding up, I was comfortable. When you have that confidence, you can really push hard and it makes it easier. I felt good today and I’m glad to win. When we were racing for the first 50 minutes, it was super evenly matched, I was trying to think how can I get a gap on Jeremy here, how can we keep Bart from catching up with us. It was a good race today and sometimes you win and sometimes you don’t and I won, so it’s nice.”
About the final lap. “Wellens was just hurting a little bit. Powers went to the front, he got a gap because I sat up and he said hey man I got nothing, I was like alright and I just bridged back to Powers. I don’t know where he made a mistake, it happens. There’s a section after the big field that winds through the trees, I hurt somebody wash out a little bit, I saw this 20-foot gap and I just punched across through the pit and across the whole way. I didn’t really attack, I just tried to hold that gap. I was feeling good, I could ride fast through the woods and those guys weren’t going to pull it back because I felt comfortable and I was able to maintain.”
Bart Wellens (Telenet Fidea). “I already know it before today that they go fast, Trebon and Powers and today I felt it again, they are fast. The level here, for me almost even higher than Europe, but in Belgium, we are in the campers staying easy, here it’s a little bit different and it’s not so easy to save energy. Right now we are four races, after two weeks, and I’m so tired from all the flying so respect for the US guys.”
“I was not good enough, I felt I was not so good the first three, four laps and changed bikes. It was a little bit better but when we were with three, I was the worst from the three so I’m really glad to be second with a little bit of luck, when Powers slid out in the last 300, 400 meters. The strongest won today I think, he just dropped me when he go fast. The legs were not okay but I’m still second.”
Jeremy Powers (Rapha-Focus). “It wasn’t that much faster (to bunny hop) especially when you’re riding with the long legs Trebon and Bart who is so quick on the bike. It was just an opportunity to save a little bit of energy today and it worked out, I felt very comfortable doing it. Typically here I’ve been able to ride those sections in the back but today was a little bit different, they tightened up the stairs a little bit, it was quite a bit harder to ride than the previous years past. “
About the last lap. “I slid out one time in the back section and it gave them both, Bart and Ryan, a gap and it was all I could do. I put it all on the line and try to catch Ryan and maybe he would bobble on the stairs and then once I slid out, my tires were all messed up, there was no way I was going to be able to catch them after that.”
Top 10 Results
1. Ryan Trebon (L&T/Felt) 0:58:59
2.Bart Wellens (Telenet Fidea Cycling Team)
3.Jeremy Powers (Rapha/Focus +00:22
4.Rob Peeters (Telenet Fidea Cycling Team) +00:39
5.James Driscoll (Cannondale pb CyclocrossWorld.com) +00:40
6.Timothy Johnson (Cannondale pb CyclocrossWorld.com) +00:59
7.Ben Berden (Ops Ale-Clement)
8.Christian Heule (Cannondale pb CyclocrossWorld.com)
9.Geoff Kabush (Team Maxxis / Rocky Mountain)
10.Brian Matter (Gear Grinder / Clif Bar) +02:01