By Brecht Decaluwé in Hoogerheide
At the World Cup in Hoogerheide, The Netherlands, Sunday, Jonathan Page, the runner-up at the UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships last year, was pleased to see his form heading in the right direction after a tough start to his 2007-2008 cyclo-cross season.
"This is a hard race, where strong guys do well. It was a good race for me today and I'm happy," Page said to Cyclingnews. The American was battling for seventh place and eventually sprinted to eighth place after a demanding race. "In our group switching bikes was the deciding factor in the ultimate laps. Kevin Pauwels didn't switch bikes in the last lap; he played it well," Page reflected after the race.
Meanwhile, fellow American Jeremy Powers kept his head up in Hoogerheide which wasn't easy after riding backwards in the mud of Zonnebeke on Saturday. "Having a good race in the mud is a great accomplishment for me. I can do well on every other type of course, but since I'm going 100% for cyclo-cross I need to be good on this type as well," Powers said to Cyclingnews while riding his rollers after the race.
Powers' travelling buddy Tim Johnson gave him some advice which worked out well. The US National champion didn't have a great day in Hoogerheide himself though, as he was bothered with a cold.
"I hate to be the guy who pulls out of a race, but I didn't have anything in my legs. I pulled out to save whatever I have for next week," Johnson said to Cyclingnews after he abandoned Sunday's race. "It's too bad that I missed out on the opportunity to race on a course like this one," Johnson said the day's course suited him very well, as he captured his US national title on a similar swampy course in Kansas.
Ryan Trebon, who will also be participating in the World Championship next weekend, didn't start in Hoogerheide. The 2007 US National Champion had said earlier that he hasn't been racing that well since his spectacular crash at the American nationals. Trebon, who has been suffering from a back injury, was likely saving what form he does have for next week's showdown in Treviso, Italy.