By Gregor Brown in Middelkerke, Belgium
America's Jeremy Powers cracked the top ten in Europe for the first time with his seventh place finish Monday at Noordzeecross in Middelkerke, Belgium. The Cannondale/Cyclocrossworld.com rider had a perfect start to make the lead group with eventual winner Sven Nys.
"It is a smaller 'cross race and I was hoping for a good result. Not all the big guys are here and it is a good one to go hard for us," Powers said to Cyclingnews on the cold day in West Belgium. "It is good to be up there."
In Middelkerke, Powers lost some ground with the favourites group that also included his compatriot Jonathan Page. When the race split into smaller groups, he kept his rhythm to arrive in the top ten. "It is really hard; trying to make sure you don't slip. It is important to minimise your mistakes, be really smooth and have a fluid race. Those guys are really good at that and that is why they are the best."
Powers had two 12th place finishes in the last two seasons in Europe: in Sint-Niklaas in January, 2007 and Zeddam last December. He had seven wins in the US earlier this season before making the trip to Belgium, where he lives in a rental house with Ryan Trebon.
He will race Tuesday in Loenhout, Belgium before taking a short break from the Belgian cold and travel to Alicante, Spain, with Trebon and then returning north for the World Cup round in Roubaix, France.