The opener of the third weekend of the Exergy US Gran Prix quickly became a battle of two riders, as has happened at most of the US races this year. On one side, Jeremy Powers (Rapha-Focus) and on the other Ryan Trebon (LTS/Felt).
On the first lap around the 3.5-km course, the longest allowed distance by the UCI, Trebon took over the front and hit the gas.
“Riding with Ryan is like, I’m a duked out V6 and Ryan has got the big outboard V8 so it’s always hard.” laughed Powers.
“I was just riding hard.” Trebon told podiuminsight. “I wanted to get over the barriers, through the bridge and over the sand first because I wanted to have a clean line there and not be stuck behind everybody else. It goes from being wide open to pretty technical and single-track and fast so I didn’t want to be stuck behind people.”
After doing hot laps during his pre-ride, Trebon knew that certain sections were causing havoc in earlier races, though ride-able, many had to put a foot down in the sandy sections when caught in traffic. Powers jumped on and made the split which happened quickly but the front group was not pulling away. The lead group also included Ben Berden (Ops Ale-Stoemper) and Powers’ teammate Chris Jones.
“It was really fast and for as hard as we were going, we weren’t getting a lot of time on the group. I think that other guys were riding in the group, each guy was taking some pulls.” Powers told podiuminisight. “It was just me, Ryan and Ben. Chris was also there and those guys started to do a majority of the work and I sat because I had Chris which was great, and Chris crashed. It was just me, Ben and Ryan. Ben told me to go ahead because he wasn’t feeling great and then he flatted I guess.”
So on the second lap it was Trebon and Powers once again. The two went at it, duking it out, hitting each other where they were stronger but no one was pulling away. Over the barriers and the fly-over, across the sand, around the trees in the pump-track-like course, around the expo area in the transition power straightaways, up and down the course, the two were together.
“We were actually pretty evenly matched, obviously Ryan was better on the long straights, he had more power and he was nailing the sand section better every lap. There were a lot of features today and I was thinking that while we were racing, there’s a lot of features today, we were both riding pretty flawlessly.” Powers said.
“I definitely had him on the ropes a bit.” Trebon said. “He was riding fast, there was a couple of times where I was having to push it to stay with him, but technically I think we were both pretty good, just riding quick.”
One of those moments when Trebon had pushed Powers to the limit was with two laps to go.
Powers explains, “We were beating on each other, I jumped the barriers or something like that and Ryan got five seconds, he just had that and he went with it and he just kept on going, going, going. I was like alright, if he doesn’t give up it will be just a matter of time before I pop but I just had to keep my head down, I worked as hard as I could to stay on him.”
Then Powers was able to claw his way back. “When I got him back, I was like okay, now I think I can win this race.”
The two were still locked together on the final lap. “He hit it where I expected him to hit it and then I passed him exactly where I expected to pass him. That was great, it wasn’t pretty, I dabbed two times and that was frustrating but it sounds like Ryan also did, he was also on his limit.” Powers said.
“Going into that last lap, me and Jeremy were just at the limit, we were going quick, I put in a move going over that Sella Italia, just coming down, you’re going so fast into these turns, and you tend to overcook them so I overcooked mine and Jeremy came on the inside and then I was like alright this isn’t too bad, I’ll just sit on his wheel and wait for the sprint.” Trebon commented.
Then Trebon mis-shifted. “I was following him, coming around that last little 180, Jeremy was out front by five feet and I was in perfect position, just going for it and I just trying to go through the gears too fast and lost my chain. It happens, it was my fault for trying to shift down to the 11 from the 23 or wherever I was. It happens, it’s a little frustrating because you’re like woulda, shoulda, coulda, didn’t. Jeremy was riding well and I would have liked to have won but it happens.”
Powers was first onto the pavement and looked back at Trebon who was looking down at his bike, At that second, Powers knew that he had it, looked up and smiled. A few more meters and then he could raise his hand in victory.
Powers added, “We’re both equally matched and soon as one of us makes a mistake, in cyclocross that’s when you have to capitalize on it. It’s unfortunate that he didn’t have the bike in the right gear at the finish but I felt pretty good in the sprint as well. We’ll have that race again.”
That race is most probably going to happen on Sunday when the two, along with the rest of the field, meet again at Evan Bandman Park for round two.