By Brecht Decaluwé in Hoogerheide, Netherlands
Jeremy Powers finished, more or less unexpectedly, as top American finisher during the elite men's race at the UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships in Hoogerheide, The Netherlands. US National Champion Ryan Trebon pulled out after a crash and fellow compatriot Jonathan Page could not produce a top result, while Powers kept his composure and finished an anonymous 35th place.
The Massachusetts-based Powers had a long cyclo-cross season and like most non-European riders, he's ready to take a break. "It's not the result [35th] that I wanted, but being at this point in the season, it's something I can build upon.
"I'm 25 years old and I've got plenty of chances left," said Powers. "At the end of the race, I was in a group with [Richard] Groenendaal and for him, it's over. It's the coming of a new wave." It was the last race for former World Champion Groenendaal.
With 69 riders still together, the first lap was extremely hectic. Powers made his way through all the shouting and pushing. "During the cross in Tervuren, I learnt from Stybar how I can protect my position," he said. "You must be aggressive and stick on the wheel in front of you. As soon as someone threatens your position, it's a matter of moving to the side. That way you're showing that you don't want to give your spot away."
Thinking of the newly crowned World Champion Niels Albert, Powers shared a story. "This morning I was riding back from the course, and he passed me while motorpacing. I hooked up with him, talking a little. I said hello and told him who I was."
"He replied by saying that I probably knew who he was. By now many more people know who he is," Powers laughed.
The fast and furious course in Hoogerheide seemed like it would be perfect for Trebon, but the tall Kona rider pulled out despite a good start. "I crashed into the TV camera boom that was across the course," said Trebon." I hit it, then crashed on the pavement, landing on the same knee that I crashed on the day before."
"I had a decent first lap going and was feeling pretty comfortable in the group, but I guess that happens," said Trebon.