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Zolder race proves tough for Americans

By:
Brecht Decaluwé
Published:
December 26, 2009, 21:14 GMT,
Updated:
December 26, 2009, 21:15 GMT
Edition:
Cyclo-cross news & racing round-up, Thursday, January 7, 2010
Race:
UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup #7, Elite men
American Jonathan Page (Planet Bike) looked a little muddy.

American Jonathan Page (Planet Bike) looked a little muddy.

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Page best finisher in 14th

After being out of contention for much of the race, American Jonathan Page (Planet Bike) worked his way back toward the main chase group that was fighting for third place on the final lap. It took Page time to recover from a hectic start that included some pile-ups.

"A lot of us got screwed in the first corner," said Page. "I opted to be patient and not try to get back right away, avoiding blowing up my engine. I jumped from group to group, using the strength of the strongest riders in those groups, meanwhile keeping an eye on where I wanted to go, which was the first chase group."

Page managed to make it up to where he wanted to be, but then his luck turned against him and he crashed on the final lap.  The crash meant he lost contention with the leaders though he still finished 14th. After the race, Thijs Al asked Page if he was ok, noting how close the American was to having to make a trip to the hospital.  The outcome of Page's crash could have been much worse.

"It was my own fault. I was going too fast. I was in a delirium," Page said after recovering at the finish line.

When asked if he could nonetheless derive a morale boost from his performance, Page said, "I'm aiming for the top-five. That would be morale-boosting. The start is all important. When you're in the top-five early on, it's better. Then you don't end up in the pinball."

American Jeremy Powers had a tough time on the fast, but demanding Zolder course. He abandoned the race after a hard crash during the third lap.

"I crashed on the descent - that long one," Powers said, describing a slope where many riders went down. Due to injuries on his left thigh it's unclear whether Powers will be able to start in Diegem on Sunday.

Powers' teammate Jamey Driscoll had more luck. "Except for a crash - less worse than Jeremy's but in the same location - it was ok," Driscoll said. He was in the mix for a top-20 results up until his crash and then worked his way back almost enough to be in the same position.

"That's racing. I was in a good position before that crash, but then I ended up riding in about 40th position and steadily worked up my way towards the 25th place I had at the finish," Driscoll said.

Two other Americans finished on the same lap as the leaders. Troy Wells was 32nd, and Brian Matter was 55th.

The World Cup's penultimate round will happen in Roubaix, France, on January 17.

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