The US line-up in the Elite Men category of the 2010 Cyclo-cross world championships was regarded as the strongest selection ever but the results of the team didn't come out as well as expected. The top US finisher in the Elite Men's category was national champion Timothy Johnson.
Johnson fought his way up after a messy start and finished fourteenth, 2:28 behind winner Zdenek Stybar. "I'm happy, but I wanted top 10 so I wish I was happier," Johnson said.
Hurt by a poor starting position, Johnson had to fight through traffic in 28th place on the first lap. "The start was a mess, it was just like a pinball game. In the second corner my bike got stuck in Jonathan Page's bike," the US champion told Cyclingnews.
From the second lap on there was more space and Johnson clocked the tenth fastest time of that lap to move into 22nd. "I always moved up. I saw Page again during the second lap and further into the race I passed riders like Erwin Vervecken, Niels Albert and Kevin Pauwels; they weren't happy with the course," Johnson added.
When asked how he managed to continue moving up Johnson explained that staying upright was a factor but he also had a good word for compatriot Luke Keough who raced the U23 event on Saturday.
"I didn't crash or have any mechanicals. I switched to a fresh bike once to get rid of the weight from the snow and ice but that was it. I have to thank Luke Keogh too. He lent me some sheet-metal screws for my cleats and they allowed me to blast past other riders when running on the ice," Johnson said.
Johnson could have benefited even more from the ice had the UCI not decided to cover the course in sand in order to make it less slippery. "It was too bad they changed the course. They move the race to different locations but they don't accept the circumstances that occur on those locations," he said.
During the last laps Johnson was in contention for eleventh place but the race ended a little too early for the US champion. "I needed more than sixty minutes. The guys in the front row probably hope the race is over as soon as possible, while for me the clock is working to my disadvantage. Some have a perfect race from the back and others have a shit race from the front row; we all battle together," Johnson said.
Other US finishes
The second best US finisher was 23-year-old Jamey Driscoll, who rode a great race and moved into the top 20 during the last lap. Jeremy Powers and Ryan Trebon were unlucky, finishing 41st and 50th, respectively,
Up in 30th place, 2007 worlds silver medalist Jonathan Page had miserable luck which put him out of contention, and was outspoken in his frustration with bizarre mechanicals.
"I am f*cking disappointed. Where is my luck? There was nothing I could do today. Never have I had my chain stuck between the crank arm and rings. It was wedged so tightly that I couldn't get it out - what are the chances? And then, I've also never had my quick release open up after a crash. I didn't even think to look at it before I got back on my bike after wrenching the chain out," Page explained.
For riders who are not on the European circuit, the World Championships were the last race of the season but for the others there are still some races coming up, like the Superprestige series and the Gazet van Antwerpen Trophy. "I'm going to try to focus on the next three weeks instead of the bad day," Page said.