The Cross After Dark series finale was a game of tactics in a winner take all scenario at Saturday night’s SpookyCross. The duel was on between Ryan Trebon (LTS/Felt) and Ben Berden (Ops Ale-Stoemper) who were off the front within three laps of the fast course in dry and warm conditions. But the two were not alone, they were joined by none other than US Cross Champ Todd Wells (CalGiant/Specialized).
That’s when the games started, Trebon needed to win outright to win the series while Berden could claim the overall if he finished second behind Wells. Each used different sections of the course to their advantage, Berden on the sandpit, Trebon on the straightaways and Wells in the technical section. Whenever the pace would slow down, Wells attacked and Trebon would close it down with Berden on his wheel.
The trio would still together with one lap to go with Trebon pushing the pace. Then, there were two as Trebon and Berden gapped Wells in the sandpit. Trebon stayed in the front, not letting Berden come around and outsprinted Berden for the win, with a bike throw even. Wells held on to third.
More photos in the gallery.
Behind the trio, other battles. While the trio was off the front, Allen Krughoff (Boulder Cycle Sport) and Chris Jones (Rapha-Focus) were chasing solo. Krughoff was in fifth for a couple of laps until he caught and passed Jones, positions which held until the finish.
Four times MTB World World Champion Brian Lopes came out to play in Irvine, edging out Trebon for the holeshot. He stayed at the front for most of the first lap, setting a fast pace that splintered the field. But he could not hold off the chase and soon found himself in group of four which also included Cody Kaiser (CalGiant/Specialized) and Ryan Knapp (Bob’s Red Mill). The group stayed together until the final lap when Kaiser gave it everything to drop them and take a solo sixth place, his highest UCI Elite finish this year. 19-year old Kaiser also won the U23 race within the race.
Ryan Trebon (LTS/Felt). “I was trying to push the pace through the technical stuff so I could get a little gap and then really hit it though the sand and hopefully ride it and get three or four seconds there. I didn’t have anything. I just wanted to keep the pace high, my legs still felt good and I wanted to try and wear him down a little bit for the sprint. When I came out of that turn and I had two bike lengths, I knew I was going to be able, well I didn’t know I was going to be able to hold him off, I saw him coming alongside of me but then he just kind of peetered out, luckily for me, I won.”
Ben Berden (Ops Ale-Stoemper). “Ryan surprised me a little bit, normally I’m really good in the sand. He did one attack and the one after, he also went through the sand all the way. I was a little bit surprised by that. Then I was gassing for my sprint but Ryan was too strong.”
Top 6 Results
1. Ryan Trebon (LTS/Felt)
2. Ben Berden (Ops Ale-Stoemper)
3, Todd Wells (CalGiant/Specialized)
4. Allen Krughoff (Boulder Cycle Sport)
5. Chris Jones (Rapha-Focus)
6. Cody Kaiser (CalGiant/Specialized)