Reigning US champion Jeremy Powers (Rapha-Focus) notched another win, another C1 win, on Saturday’s USGP Derby City Cup at Eva Bandman Park. This one was important because the race was a dry-run of the 2013 UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships coming up in February.
Powers’ goal for his first view of the course was to find the flow – which he certainly did.
“I’ve always felt very comfortable here. Louisville is a very easy town to get around and the course suits me. Definitely the small punchy climbs and the way the sand is, the corners and the run-ups, everything here really suits me well. I think that’s why I’ve had some successes here, obviously no course is your perfect course you do the best that you can but this definitely has a lot of features that suit my style really well.” Powers said after the race.
“I definitely found the flow today, I felt like it’s an even better course than they’ve ever had here, they worked out a lot of stuff. They’ll be some small improvements, some of the features are definitely world championships, that’s the best to have a dry-run on the course that we’re going to go for the rainbow stripes on, we’re all very lucky.”
Hot, dry and fast were the words of the day. Unseasonably warm temperatures, a very hard course led to lap times hovering and sometimes breaking the six-minute mark. The front group split early and included Powers, Ryan Trebon (Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com), Danny Summerhill (UnitedHealthcare), Adam Craig (Rabobank Giant), Ben Berden (Raleigh-Clement) and Tim Johnson (Cannondale-cyclocrossworld.com) who made junction a few laps later.
The group stayed together for a few laps until Berden got some daylight with a big acceleration. Trebon was the first to go across and Powers knew that he had to react.
“Ben was already off the front and me, Ryan, Tim, Danny were all in the back and when Ryan went across that was the moment.” he explained.
“Tim was on the front and I knew that Tim would be able to slow us down in a technical section and work for Ryan. If I didn’t make the move then, guys would be able to extend their lead and it would be harder for me to close down on a section of the course that had a big headwind. So as soon as that happened, it forced me out of my hibernation, got to go. So as soon as that happened, I took as much speed as I could and snapped that back at the start/finish so I didn’t have to do an extra work in those two big headwind sections. It’s one of those things where it works two ways because also it made a gap to that other group, it killed to birds with one stone to get to Ryan like that.”
And then, once again it was Powers vs Trebon, Trebon vs Powers at the front. The heat and the hard course were taking a toll and no rider really wanted to go to the front.
“We were both just ‘come on man ride the front’, ‘no I don’t want to ride the front’, then ‘alright I’ll the front a little bit but just don’t make it too fast’. It was a weird race, it didn’t feel that we were attacking each other, putting in a hard enough tempo to suffer but not hard enough to really put in big efforts and sometimes that’s how racing is.” Trebon stated.
During the race, Powers sometimes rode the limestone steps, a feat which only a few riders attempted, Craig and Cody Kaiser (CalGiant/Specialized) were also successful to the cheers of the fans.
Powers’ reason to do so was to test himself. “I wanted to force it on myself in the moment when I’m really just tired. I definitely can ride it clean but I was just running into the back of people. Obviously I’m not going to do it on the last lap. I know that I can do it, and if I was off the front kind of tearing along I would have done it more but I just wanted to get comfortable with it and prove to myself that I can do it more than anything else. I think the fans got really excited about it so that was sweet.” he told podiuminsight.
“It’s just one of those things that I want to push myself to be better. When I’m here in January, if I can nail that perfectly, that will be a big advantage coming into Worlds. Those stairs are not moving,” Powers laughed, “those stairs are going to be the exact same way.”
Then inside of two laps to go, Powers got a small gap which he held until the finish.
“It’s a good course and fast. It was really warm out there and me and Jeremy were just riding pretty steady, I think we were both kind of hurting, no one put in huge efforts. He just rode one section faster and got five or six seconds and just kept on going.” Trebon said.
Powers will hit the reset button to focus on the big goal in February. “After this weekend I have a nice couple of days just away from the bike and I’m going to take a little bit of a break, to get really set up for the second half of the season. I’m really excited to look back, that’s done and focus on the two World Cups in Belgium in December, Nationals and Worlds.”