Finally, we can put all those nicknames aside. Tim Johnson (Cannondale-cyclocrossworld.com) finally won a UCI cross race this season on Sunday at Jingle Cross. Getting some flak for sitting out Saturday’s race on the three day weekend, Johnson came out flying on his bike equipped with disk brakes to take the front, battling only one rider at the front, his teammate Jamey Driscoll. Friday’s winner Driscoll held on for second while Saturday’s winner Todd Wells (Specialized) was third.
The temperatures dropped and the rain stopped for Sunday’s final race, the big daddy of them all, the C1 at JingleCross. The conditions on the course turned to muck with grass and mud sticking to everything, making corners treacherous and the bottom of the cimb up Mt Krumpit as chopped up mess. The course was modified slightly with a return to Friday’s runup with an added false flat at the top followed by a quick, rideable,grassy off camber descent down. Also returned were the logs with a muddy bog right before and the flyover,
Legs were tired on Sunday after all the running and falling down on Saturday’s mudpit for most of the riders. Except for Johnson and Driscoll who sat out Saturday with the eye on the prize, the C1 race. Johnson had a good start and took the front immediately stretching out the field. US Cross Champion Wells reacted quickly leading the chase with Chris Jones (Rapha-Focus), Ben Berden (Ops Ale-Stoemper), Driscoll and the rest of the field behind him.
While Johnson built up his gap, Driscoll made his move away from the chase group in the first lap and connected with his teammate a lap later. The duo had 13 seconds on a chasing solo Todd Wells. Behind him were Jones, Tristan Schouten (cyclocrossracing.com), Berden and Troy Wells (Clif Bar). Then, Driscoll started to pull away but no panic from Johnson who slowly brought him back and then dropped him.
With three laps to go, Johnson had 10 seconds on Driscoll with Todd Wells another 10 seconds back. Johnson never looked back and rode smoothly to claim his first win, railing down the descent and flying over the logs. Though he had started to close down the gap, Todd Wells hit the limit in the final laps and had to settle for third on his last cross race of the year. Berden caught and dropped Jones to take fourth.
Tim Johnson (Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld). “I had a good start for maybe the third race this year which has been kind of hard for me to get to, I’ve been inconsistent at the starts but, our decision to not race yesterday definitely got us some flack but we had a plan and we stuck to it and watching Todd win yesterday was tough because that was our thing, that’s what we do and he’s up there on the podium with his arms up and there’s nothing respect for it but there’s also just feeling that you’re out of it, feeling like you’re not playing in the same sandbox. ”
About chasing Driscoll. “I think anyone of us up here can say that an hour is a long time, five or six times up that hill is plenty of time and so when Jamey had that gap on me I knew that we still had a lot of time to go, so I tried not to freak out and feel like I was falling out of the race. Jamey killed me on Friday, he just rode away from us like we were all standing still so I knew that he had good legs, but I was trying to save it and then make that last half hour as fast as I could.”
“Disk brakes on there so kind of pushing the limit a little bit. It just makes you want to take those risks, it makes want to go down those hills as fast as possible. Jamey had great legs Friday night, watching him ride away was tough as a competitor but great as a teammate.”
Jamey Driscoll (Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld). “It was definitely game on today, everyone was going super hard from the beginning. Tim was nailing every section, he was super strong. I was not as strong as I wanted to be obviously but he got a gap, it was sayonara, it was all I could do to just keep him in sight. Todd, the same thing, he was charging super hard, just like last year, everyone had to fight tooth and nail out there today.”
About the chase. “I was charging hard. We’re teammates but we’re also bike racers, I was seeing what he had out there and it turned out to be more than I did today.”
Todd Wells (Specialized). “I started off pretty good, I was strong in the beginning but I faded a little bit towards the end but those guys were strong. They had the day off yesterday so maybe that helped a little bit but they were also very strong Friday night. ”
About his race. “These guys, Tim and Jamey were riding great, I was able to hold them pretty close for maybe half the race or so, and then they started to open it up and I was at my limit and they just upped it a notch. It was disappointing to watch them ride away but it wasn’t for lack of effort.”
Top 15 Results
1. Timothy Johnson (Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld)
2. James Driscoll (Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld)
3. Todd Wells (Specialized Racing)
4. Ben Berden (Ops Ale-Stoemper)
5. Christopher Jones (Team Rapha Focus)
6. Troy Wells (Team Clif Bar)
7. Tristan Schouten (Cyclocrossracing.com p/b Blue Bicycles)
8. Barry Wicks (Kona)
9. Brian Matter (Gear Grinder)
10. Robert Marion (American Classic – Blue)
11. Matt Shriver (Bontrager-Trek)
12. Bryan Fawley (Orbea Factory-Dallas Bike Works)
13. Joseph Schmalz (KCCX-Fuji p/b Challenge Tires)
14. Isaac Neff
15. Kevin Fish (KCCX-Fuji p/b Challenge Tires)