French champion Francis Mourey brought home another victory in the USA in a thrilling sprint at CrossVegas, denying the defending champion Jamey Driscoll (Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld) the win on the line. It was the Francaise des Jeux rider's third win of the season after a pair of triumphs in much more adverse conditions last weekend in Seattle, Washington.
Las Vegas, Nevada may have lacked the spectacle of the downpours that plagued riders last weekend, but the drama of the race could not have lived up better to the bright lights and big stage of this flamboyant town.
Driscoll, who had been on a solo breakaway since the third lap and at one point nearly 30 seconds ahead of the main group, saw his lead reduced steadily until it was just a few seconds coming into the last half lap. He very nearly held on, but was nipped by Mourey at the finish line as the Frenchman rocketed out of the chasing group with 50m to go.
Rabobank-Giant's Gerben de Knegt claimed the third spot from one of the deepest fields ever to contest cyclo-cross on US soil.
"I was a little bit tired having only arrived in Vegas last night," said Mourey. "I went to bed at 2am and spent all day today visiting sponsors and it was tiring.
"I knew that my best chance of a win was if it was a sprint finish, so I waited for as long as I needed to."
The disappointment of the Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld team was palpable as Driscoll collapsed to the grass after the finish, still out of breath from his solo effort which went on for two thirds of the race.
"I didn't expect it to be as easy as last year," said Driscoll, who was a relatively unknown rider last year when he entered into the race winning break with another fairly unfamiliar name in the 'cross scene, Chris Jones. "The one card I played last year, I didn't think I'd be able to play it this year. I kind of did, I was surprised about that," he said. "But when the national champion is number six on the start line, I knew it would be a tough field tonight."
Mourey was complimentary about the quality of the racing, even if the nighttime race in the desert was a bit different from his normal venues. "We were all behind the leader but he only had a few seconds so I knew that there was a good chance of coming back, but it was a tough race, especially at night under all the lights. French guys like me aren't used to this. It's a very different atmosphere to the cold I'm used to.
"The US field is quality. I've been amongst the best 'cross riders in the world for many years but the American field is very strong with some great athletes. The Worlds are coming here in a couple of years and it's going to be a great event."
Driscoll goes for broke
125 riders lined up under the lights at the Desert Breeze soccer park, and while the race was quick from the gun and riddled with attacks, little separation occurred over the first two laps, and a large group was still together when Driscoll took advantage of a temporary lull in the pace to launch his attack on lap three.
With teammate Tim Johnson easing up to help Driscoll establish his gap, and a timely crash by Todd Wells (Specialized) on the run-up, Driscoll quickly built a 20-second lead by the end of lap three. The next time through the start/finish, the defending champion had built up half a minute's lead and looked well on track to repeat his effort of the year before.
Behind the plucky Driscoll a powerful contingent had formed in pursuit, including Gerben De Knegt and Adam Craig (Rabobank - Giant), Mourey (FDJ), Christian Heule (Champion System LBS), Jonathan Page (Planet Bike), Johnson and Jeremy Powers (Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com), Ryan Trebon (Kona), Geoff Kabush (Team Maxxis-Rocky Mountain), Wells, Luca Damiani (Kenda Pro Cycling P/B Geargrinder), Christopher Jones (Rapha Focus) and Jesse Anthony (California Giant Berry/ Specialized)
"The only people who had tried attacking before me were big guys like Trebon, and then they sat up just enough for me to launch an attack," Driscoll said. "I figured the chances of them chasing me down was 50-50. I just remembered last year working with Chris Jones, and it was all about working flawlessly to stay away. I knew it would be a tall order to stay away."
Tall described the main force behind Driscoll's demise, as 6'5" Ryan Trebon took charge of keeping the gap in check. But his efforts only benefited the Europeans who were happy to take a back seat to the chase and then pounce at the last minute.
"I just did too much," Trebon admitted. "It's a fast, hard race… it was really hard. You can't fault people for the tactics they use in the race."
Not only did Trebon have to work against the team tactics of Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld, who worked to keep their teammate clear, and the Europeans who allowed the domestic riders the honor of fighting at the front, but the crowds who became unusually unruly.
"I was really disappointed as someone threw a beer right in my face over on the stairs. It's okay to have fun and to cheer, but that's just not right. This is my job, you know," Trebon lamented. "I don't even mind when people heckle, but that's just bad sportsmanship."
The reigning US national champion Tim Johnson is normally a title fighter in CrossVegas, but after a broken ankle suffered earlier this summer, his presence in the leading group and his work for his teammate was a good indicator that his form is returning.
"I was trying to help when I could. I'm still trying to get my legs back after such a crappy year, and it was good to get up there and contribute," Johnson said. He was proud of the work of his younger teammate, who held on so long against the odds. "He's just a strong kid, he's not the quickest guy out there, but he'll never give up and he never really slows down. I can't believe he did that two years in a row like that."
|1||Francis Mourey (Fra) Francaise Des Jeux||0:59:30|
|2||James Driscoll (USA) Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com|
|3||Gerben De Knegt (Ned) Rabobank - Giant Off Road Team||0:00:01|
|4||Ryan Trebon (USA) Kona|
|5||Christian Heule (Swi) Champion System LBS||0:00:02|
|6||Jonathan Page (USA) Planet Bike|
|7||Jeremy Powers (USA) Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com||0:00:03|
|8||Lars Van Der Haar (Ned) Rabobank-Giant Off-Road Team||0:00:04|
|9||Geoff Kabush (Can) Team Maxxis-Rocky Mountain||0:00:08|
|10||Adam Craig (USA) Rabobank-Giant Off-Road Team||0:00:10|
|11||Christopher Jones (USA) Rapha Focus||0:00:13|
|12||Timothy Johnson (USA) Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com||0:00:17|
|13||Jesse Anthony (USA) California Giant / Specialized||0:00:23|
|14||Luca Damiani (Ita) Kenda Pro Cycling P/B Geargrinder||0:00:36|
|15||Todd Wells (USA) Specialized Factory Racing||0:00:45|
|16||Derrick St John (Can) Garneau Club Chaussures-Ogilvy||0:01:54|
|17||Jake Wells (USA)|
|18||Tyler Wren (USA) Boo Bicycles||0:02:02|
|19||Rene Birkenfeld (Ger) Harvesterhude Rv||0:02:09|
|20||Zach McDonald (USA) Rapha Focus|
|21||Craig Richey (Can) Cyclocrossracing.Com p/b Blue|
|22||Tim Van Nuffel (Bel) Van Goethem-Prorace-Cycling Team||0:02:10|
|23||Carl Decker (USA) Giant||0:02:11|
|24||Molly Cameron (USA) Portland Bicycle Studio||0:02:17|
|25||Barry Wicks (USA) Kona||0:02:19|
|26||Aaron Schooler (Can) Team H&R Block||0:02:35|
|27||Jonathan Baker (USA) Hudz-Subaru||0:02:43|
|28||Mitchell Hoke (USA) Clif Bar Development Team||0:02:54|
|29||Brady Kappius (USA) Team Clif Bar||0:03:25|
|30||Joachim Parbo (Den) Kch Leopard Cycles||0:03:31|
|31||Valentin Scherz (Swi) Cyfac-Champion System p/b Revolution Wheelworks||0:03:37|
|32||Davide Frattini (Ita) Hudz-Subaru|
|33||Tyler Trace (Can) Trek Red Truck|
|34||Brandon Dwight (USA) Boulder Cycle Sport||0:03:43|
|35||Jeremy Ferguson (USA) California Giant/Specialized||0:03:48|
|36||Matthew Pacocha (USA) Hudz-Subaru||0:03:52|
|37||Mark Lalonde (USA) Specialized||0:04:00|
|38||Ryan Dewald (USA) Bikyle/Mazur Coaching||0:04:01|
|39||Jared Nieters (USA) Haymarket/Seavs||0:04:04|
|40||Kevin Noiles (Can) La Bicicletta Pro Shop||0:04:13|
|41||Adam Myerson (USA) Mountain Khakis F/B Jittery Joes||0:04:16|
|42||Kamden Reedy (USA) Web-Op||0:04:19|
|43||Troy Wells (USA) Team Clif Bar||0:04:34|
|44||Mathew Ankney (USA) Kccx/Verge Elite Cyclocross Team||0:04:37|
|45||Stephen Cummings (USA) Indiana Regional Medical Center||0:04:45|
|46||Aaron Bouplon (USA) Rocky Mounts / Izze||0:04:54|
|47||Jamie Newall (GBr) Team Corley Cycles||0:04:56|
|48||Sergio Hernandez (USA) Jelly Belly Presented By Kenda||0:05:07|
|49||Anthony Grand (Swi) Cyfac-Champion System p/b Revolution Wheelworks|
|50||Ben Chaddock (Can) Rubicon-Orbea||0:05:08|
|51||Geert Wellens (Bel) Scott Usa Cycling Team||0:05:16|
|52||Scott Tietzel (USA) Mountain Khakis F/B Jittery Joes||0:05:20|
|53||Jason Siegle (USA) Bike Religion||0:05:49|
|54||Justin Robinson (USA) California Giant/Specialized||0:05:56|
|55||Kevin Mullervy (USA) Team Exergy||0:06:11|
|56||Morgan Ryan (USA) The Team So Cal Cross||0:06:20|
|57||Spencer Powlison (USA)||0:07:52|
|61||Roger Rilling (USA) Stoller|
|62||Jason Holbrook (USA) Boulder Cycle Sport|
|63||Dean Poshard (USA) Rockloboster|
|65||Mike Sherer (USA) Verizon U25 Team|
|66||Peter Sullivan (USA) Svelte Cycles|
|67||Luke Keough (USA) Bikereg.Com/Cannondale||-1lap|
|68||Dave Hackworthy (USA) Clement Cx|
|69||Nicholas Weighall (USA) California Giant/Specialized|
|70||Conor Mullervy (USA) Team Exergy|
|71||Kyle Reedy (USA) Web-Op||-2laps|
|72||William Gault (USA) Kccx/Verge Elite Cyclocross Team|
|73||John Bailey (USA) Bailey Bikes|
|74||Anton Petrov (USA) Bike Religion|
|75||Phil Grove (USA) Lake Washington Velo|
|76||Cody Kaiser (USA) California Giant/Specialized|
|77||Geoffrey Nenninger (USA) Colorado Multisport|
|78||Shawn Harshman (USA) Pm Racing Team|
|79||Kyle Peppo (USA) Gs Mengoni Usa|
|80||Zoltan Tisza (Hun) Tecnofilm-Betonexpr 2000||-3laps|
|81||Bryan Alders (USA) S.O.L.O.|
|82||David McNeal (USA) Birmingham Bicycle Company|
|83||Bill Marshall (USA) Kccx/Verge Elite Cyclocross Team|
|84||Charles Coyle (USA) Hudz-Subaru Cycling Team|
|85||Brian Astell (USA) Lost Coast Brewery/ Marin|
|86||Daniel MacDonald (Can) Total Restoration||-4laps|
|87||Michael Hosang (USA) Team Tripower|
|88||Zach Lail (USA) Mock Orange Racing|
|89||John Behrens (USA) Bailey Bikes|
|90||Gary Douville (USA) Platinum Performance|
|91||Matthew McGee (USA) Unattached|
|92||Cort Cramer (USA) Svelte Cycles|
|93||Joshua Lehmann (USA) Sunapee/S & W Racing Team|
|94||Benjamin Popper (USA) Rock Lobster|
|95||Anastasio Flores Jr (USA) California Giant Strawberry|
|96||Andy Bestwick (USA) Allegiant Airlines/ Pain Md'S||-5laps|
|97||Tyler Wertenbruch (USA) Slo Nexus - Gym One|
|98||JP Partland (USA) Kissena|
|99||Danny Kam (USA) Herbalife La Grange||-6laps|
|DNF||Greg Gibson (USA) Truckerco.Com Racer'S Cycle Service|
|DNF||Guillaume Nelessen (USA) Van Dessel Factory Team|
|DNF||Travis Livermon (USA) Mock Orange Racing|
|DNF||Dylan McNicholas (USA)|
|DNF||Martin Gujan (Swi) Cannondale Factory Racing|
|DNF||Allen Krughoff (USA) Boulder Cycle Sport|
|DNF||Nick Truitt (USA) Yeti Cycles|
|DNS||Marco Aurelio Fontana (Ita) Cannondale Factory Racing|
|DNS||Matt Shriver (USA) Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory|
|DNS||Jonathan Sundt (USA) Kenda Pro Cycling P/B Geargrinder|
|DNS||Manuel Fumic (Ger) Cannondale Factory Racing|
|DNS||Stephen Pierce (USA) Cambridge Bicycle / Igleheart Frames|
|DNS||Oliver Vrambout (USA) The Bikery Du Nord|
|DNS||Robert Marion (USA)|
|DNS||Michael Friedman (USA) Jelly Belly P/B Kenda|
|DNS||Bryan Fawley (USA)|
|DNS||Elliott Craddock (USA)|
|DNS||Shadd Smith (USA) Kccx/Verge Elite Cyclocross Team|
|DNS||Christopher McGovern (USA)|
|DNS||David Sheek (USA) Rock N' Road|
|DNS||David Wilcox (USA) Pedro's Grassroots Cycling Club|
|DNS||Lane Miller (USA)|
|DNS||Stevie Cullinan (USA)|
|DNS||Colby Pearce (USA) Hudz-Subaru|
|DNS||Paul Adams (USA)|
|DNS||Mike Stewart (USA) Tri Cities Road Club|
|1||Christian Heule (Swi) Champion System LBS|
|2||Ryan Trebon (USA) Kona|
|3||Christopher Jones (USA) Rapha Focus|
|1||Francis Mourey (Fra) Francaise Des Jeux|