Husband and wife teammates Lyne Bessette and Tim Johnson (Team Cyclocrossworld-Louis Garneau) left their mark all over the opening weekend of the 2005 Crank Brothers US Gran Prix of Cyclocross, Oct. 8 and 9 in Portland, Ore. and Tacoma, Wash. In their first major outing of the ‘cross season, Tim and Lyne both showed great early-season form and posted excellent results against the best cyclocross racers in North America.
Lyne, back racing cyclocross after a three-year hiatus, won both weekend races in impressive style. She soloed off the front each day, leaving the remnants of the Elite Women’s field to scrabble for the remaining two podium positions. Lyne proved once again, for all to see, why she remains the only North American ever to win a UCI World Cup event.
“I didn’t have too much doubt in my form coming into the weekend,” said Lyne. “But on Saturday the course was very muddy and I wasn’t so confident as to how I’d ride on that. But I did some mountain bike racing this year and that helped a lot. I was definitely expecting some tough competition, but as soon as I got a gap I went as hard as I could.”
For his part, Tim got any bad luck out of the way in Saturday’s race in Portland. After a solid race to make up for his bad starting position, Tim crashed on the rain-slickened course in the final 50 metres of the race, ceding fourth place in the process. Johnson’s luck was better and his legs just as good for Sunday’s race in Tacoma. After another bad start, which saw the former national champion way back in 20th place on the first lap, Tim charged through the field to catch a main chase group of five. Upon catching the group, he attacked straight away, trying to avoid wasting energy at the back of an aggressive sextet.
“It was awesome,” said Tim of his weekend exploits. “Saturday’s race was brutal, it felt like the whole race was uphill because of the mud. And Sunday was so fast. Spectators were going nuts and riders were attacking all over the place. The group would shatter then come together again, that happened over and over. It was a great weekend of racing.”
Tim’s attacking style nearly got him a win on Sunday, but his last ditch solo came up 300 meters short and he sprinted in for third behind Mark McCormack (Team Clif Bar) and Ryan Trebon (Kona-Les Gets).
Lyne and Tim continue their 2005 ‘cross campaign Saturday, October 15 in New Gloucester, Maine with the opening round of the 2005 Verge New England Cyclocross Championship Series.