The New Englander known as the 'nine-ball,' Tim Johnson (Cyclocrossworld.com) triumphed at his first win of the season with a solo victory at the Gran Prix of Gloucester's round two held in Massachusetts on Sunday. The previous day's winner, Jonathan Page (Planet Bike) roll in for second place disappointed after a race-altering crash with three laps to go. The winner's teammate, Jeremy Powers was pleased with third place.
"This is huge," Johnson said. "I came through that start-finish line and it was wall-to-wall people on both sides. It's one of those things that you can't describe until it happens and once it's gone, it's gone and you wish you could have it again. I've been lucky enough to win here in the past and to win again is definitely really special."
"Each day is different and Jonathan had a great ride yesterday," he said referring to the previous day's mud conditions compared to the faster dry course today. "He was by far the strongest rider. He's had a couple of good races so far this year but today was another day on a course with high speed and drafting out there. It was one of the classic launching boards. These kind of races go down to the line and you never know who is going to win."
Johnson's win comes as a pleasant surprise after a two week hiatus needed to recover from a separated shoulder sustained following a crash at the season opener Star Crossed. Johnson tolerated the pain on his way to victory occasionally holding his weakened arm over the rough terrain.
"I have to say a big thanks to Jamey [Driscoll] and Jeremy [Powers]," Johnson said. "The first part of the year Jamey has had a big win, Jeremy has had a big win and I haven't been able to be there with them."
The Gran Prix of Gloucester marks a double header of racing in the North American Cyclo-Cross Trophy (NACT) series of which Page maintains a comfortable lead. The event is also a part of the Verge New England Cyclo-Cross series lead by the bearded man from Ithaca, New York Dan Timmerman (Richard-Sachs).
Getting down and dirty
Page was the odds on favourite after the previous day's performance under dreary, mud sloshing conditions. However, the rain settled late afternoon and clouds cleared by sun down. As the saying goes, 'red sky at night sailor's delight' and the sun broke through the following morning to reveal a gorgeous autumn afternoon on the sea's shore at the Stage Fort Park, just in time for the second round of 'cross racing.
Powers hit the gas from the starting gates and opened up a surprise early lead, similar to the start that landed him a victory at the previous weekend's Planet Bike Cup held in Madison, Wisconsin. Page reacted quickly and bridged the 10-second margin with in half a lap, with Johnson in tow.
Without the addition of mud to the mix, Page lacked the necessary ingredient needed to effectively separate himself from the tag-teaming mates, Johnson and Powers. To make matters worse for Page, a chasing Jamey Driscoll joined the brawl adding a third cyclocrossworld.com rider to contend with.
"I expected attacking with three there," Page said. "All in all it was a strong ride and I'm happy. The conditions were different from yesterday and I expected it to be more of a group race with a lot of tactics involved."
Page turned up the heat forcing Powers, Johnson and Driscoll to take the back seat. His efforts effectively caused Johnson and Driscoll to struggle while Powers stayed glued to his wheel. The trio reverted to plan-B – attack!
Powers launched the first attack, followed by Driscoll and then Johnson.
Page remained in second wheel, a position that allowed him to respond to each assault. When the first round failed to shake Page, the three teammates started in on a second round of attacks.
"We weren't just going to sit back and let this race happen," said Powers. "We wanted to be aggressive and attack one after the next. When Jonathan had a bobble in the sand section Tim was able to get a gap. Tim was strong, he extended his lead after he got it so you could see that Tim was the strongest anyway. Jonathan's on his way to Europe with some good rides under him and think everyone looks back at some good racing. We all raced our brains out this weekend."
Johnson's victory did not come without controversy. With three laps to go, Page and Johnson lead the way off the tarmac and onto the dirt toward the sand pit, both aiming to hit the sand first. The crowds cheers turned to gasps when the pair collided into one another. Page crashed before entering the sand and Johnson went on to open a five-second gap that quickly turned into ten exiting the pit.
After a decade of professional bike racing, Page is accustom to the frequency of accidents in cyclo-cross. However, he questioned whether this particular crash was accidental. "I'm fine, I just don't appreciate getting taken out," said Page who picked himself up and re-joined Powers and Driscoll. "Other than that it was a good race and a beautiful day."
"Johnson cut off my front wheel before the sand and then attacked," Page continued. "It was just pretty dirty riding and unnecessary. I'm going to keep it pretty positive but it's not the way I would have wanted to win a bike race."
A diplomatic Johnson, denied the accusation by simply stating, "It's just racing. We were both fighting for the entrance of the sand pit and at the sand pit there was this foot deep trough and I got to the trough first. There is a right hand turn that went skinny going into the sand. I took the inside and he tried to come over me and he didn't make it."
Johnson's lead continued to grow to a maximum of 30-seconds on the final lap. Baring accidents and mechanicals, he looked to have the victory sewn up. The New England fans, out to cheer for the abundance of racers from the region, became louder as Johnson crossed the line for his Gran Prix of Gloucester victory.
The honourable top ten
The additional highlights to the Gran Prix of Gloucester came slightly further back from the fleet of top-name riders battling for the remaining places in the top ten.
Andy Jacques-Maynes (Bissell) lead Danish Joachim Parbo (CCV Leopard Cycles), Jamey Driscoll (Cyclocrossworld.com) and Davide Frattini (Fuji) all on the hunt to regain contact with the four escapees. Driscoll successfully bridged across to the leaders and Jacques-Maynes separated himself from the others and continued in no-man's land riding on fifth place.
Bad luck struck Jones on the last half lap when he punctured a tire after passing the pit lane. He rode in on his rim, narrowly holding on to sixth place. "I finally caught up to Andy and then I got a flat tire," said Jones who faltered with his pedals at the start line.
"It's important for the points and the sponsors," he continued. "Every single place is important for the confidence too. Even if I'm racing for tenth I'm going to race hard."
A second chase group contained Dan Timmerman and teammates Josh Dillon (Richard Sachs), Jesse Anthony (Jamis) and Derrick St John (Garneau). The most notable performance of the day came from the Verge New England Cyclo-Cross leader, Timmerman. The series leader's race started slower than usual but it turned into the ride of his career when he picked off one rider at a time and nearly caught Jones for sixth place on the last lap.
|1||Timothy Johnson (USA) Cannondale/cyclocrossworld.com||0:58:50|
|2||Jonathan Page (USA) Planet Bike||0:00:35|
|3||Jeremy Powers (USA) Cannondale/cyclocrossworld.com||0:00:38|
|4||James Driscoll (USA) BikeReg.com / Cannondale||0:00:40|
|5||Andy Jacques-Maynes (USA) Bissell Pro Cycling||0:02:02|
|6||Christopher Jones (USA)||0:02:21|
|7||Dan Timmerman (USA) BikeReg.com/Cannondale||0:02:24|
|8||Joachim Parbo (Den) CCV Leopard Cycles||0:02:39|
|9||Derrick St John (Can) Garneau Club Chaussure Ogilvy||0:02:41|
|10||Jesse Anthony (USA) Jamis Bicycles||0:02:45|
|11||Jerome Townsend (USA) BikeReg.com / Joe's Garage / IF||0:02:56|
|12||Davide Frattini (USA) Team Fuji||0:03:13|
|13||Mike Garrigan (Can) La Bicicleta||0:03:26|
|14||Adam Myerson (USA) Team Mountain Khakis||0:03:35|
|15||William Dugan (USA) Team Type 1||0:03:36|
|16||Justin Lindine (USA) BikeReg.com / Joe's Garage / IF||0:04:06|
|17||Tim Van Nuffel (Bel) Rendementhypo Cycling Team||0:04:29|
|18||Dylan mcnicholas (USA) CCB Racing||0:04:35|
|19||Joshua Dillon (USA) RICHARD SACHS - RGM WATCHES - RADIX||0:04:40|
|20||Dave Hackworthy (USA) Ridley Factory Team||0:04:45|
|21||Ethan Gilmour (USA)||0:04:57|
|22||Luke Keough (USA) Team Champion System||0:05:19|
|23||Shawn Milne (USA) Team Type1||0:05:36|
|24||Andrew Wulfkuhle (USA) C3-Athletes Serving Athletes||0:06:05|
|25||Patrick Bradley (USA) Rutgers University Cycling Team||0:06:21|
|26||Richard Visinski (USA) Echappe Equipment Elite Team||0:06:26|
|27||Marc-Andre Daigle (Can) Warrior Racing||0:06:36|
|28||Toby Marzot (Can) Corner Cycle Cycling Club||0:06:44|
|29||Kirt Fitzpatrick (USA) Sexual Camel||0:06:46|
|30||Osmond Bakker (Can) EMD Serono-Specialized||0:07:15|
|31||Mathew Ankney (USA) KCCX/Verge||0:07:20|
|32||Todd Wheelden (USA) KONA/OA/CycleMania||0:07:25|
|33||John Burns (USA) Bikeman.com||0:07:35|
|34||Jonathan Sundt (USA) Kelly Benefit Strategies/Medifast||0:07:48|
|35||Joshua Bartlett (USA) Land Rover-ORBEA||0:07:52|
|36||Wayne Bray (USA) Syracuse Bicycle / Spokepost.com||0:08:04|
|37||Colin Reuter (USA) International Bicycle MTB Team||0:08:13|
|38||William Elliston (USA) Van Dessel Factory Team||0:08:59|
|39||Thomas Sampson (USA)||0:09:19|
|40||Thierry Laliberte (Can) ProBikePool / Kuota||0:09:36|
|41||Peter Smith (USA) Embrocation Cycling Journal / Mad Alchem||0:09:55|
|42||Peter Bradshaw (USA) Embrocation Cycling Journal|
|43||Aroussen Laflamme (Can) Garneau-ClubChaussures-OgylvieReneault|
|44||John Hanson (USA) IF/Lionette's|
|45||Tom Gosselin (USA) Peak Performance Multisport|
|46||Hugo Rus Martinez (Spa) Sanse Spiuk|
|47||Michael Loranty (USA) Spooky/Wells Fargo|
|48||Peter Hurst (USA) Rapha Racing|
|49||Peter Rubijono (USA) Embrocation/Igleheart/MadAlchemy|
|50||Pierre Vanden Borre (USA) Embrocation Cycling Journal / Mad Alchem|
|51||Matthew Green (USA) Spooky Bikes|
|52||Bill Marshall Jr (USA) KCCX/Verge|
|53||Ted Willard (USA) Team Bearclaw|
|54||John Peterson (USA) bikebarnracing.com|
|55||Trenton Ashburn (USA) Wheelworks|
|56||J Gabriel Lloyd (USA) Echappe Equipment Elite Team|
|57||Ryan Kelly (USA) NorEast Cycling|
|58||Corey Knowles (Can) Unattached|
|59||Michael Norton (USA) YSG Racing: Team Metra/Wendy's p/b Cycle|
|60||Gordon Daniell (Can) Fetzer Cycling Team|
|61||Daniel Zotter (USA) Team ROG|