Brian Matter (RACC p/b Geargrinder) added a third North Carolina Grand Prix victory to his cyclo-cross palmares as he powered away from his two breakaway companions in the final lap's endgame to secure a solo win.
Kerry Werner (BMC U23 Development Team) and Dan Timmerman (Richard Sachs - RGM Watches - Radix) claimed second and third respectively after losing contact with Matter on the rooted, doubletrack climb late in the lap. Matter emerged from the woods with a five-second lead and flawlessly dispatched several tight chicanes, an off camber section and the Jackson Park venue's signature "wall" to add to his podium streak in the western North Carolina mountains.
The Wisconsin rider is no stranger to the podium at the Hendersonville, North Carolina venue - during the three previous iterations of the back-to-back UCI C2 'cross races he's never finished worse than third, highlighted by a sweep of the 2010 weekend's races.
"This race is always tough," Matter told Cyclingnews. "The competition isn't the same as a USGP but the way the course is laid out it makes for alot of tactical racing. It was a group of four guys going into the last lap and I prefer not to sprint because you never know what's going to happen.
"I had to be careful where to put in my efforts. With a half a lap to go just before the pits there's a pavement section and I hit it pretty and opened up a 10-foot gap. That was just enough to accelerate at the bottom of the climb with a little gap and I think that cracked them a little bit.
"I stayed on the gas on that climb and on the power sections after that and got the win."
Runner-up Kerry Werner has had a run of good results recently with a victory and third place finish at last weekend's Supercross Cup races on Long Island, New York. However, his UCI points earned of late have yet to be tabulated so he was a few rows back at the start and had to fight his way to the front.
"I was a little tired from moving up and I wasn't as snappy," Werner told Cyclingnews. "I was finding myself in the wrong gear out of corners.
"That last lap was tough because you're constantly looking over your shoulder, wondering who's going to attack. Brian was definitely the strongest today. He attacked just coming off the pavement and he opened up a little bit of a gap. We closed it down before the woods but he just took off up the hill and that was it.
"I managed to pass Dan on the hill and then bled out my eyes through to the finish to hold him off."
The 38-racers who toed the line for the elite men's event faced relatively balmy conditions with temperatures in the 50s, predominantly sunny skies and a particularly fast, dry parcours.
On the second of eight laps a 10-man group formed at the front including Matter, Werner, Timmerman, Jacob Lasley (Team Soundpony), Jake Wells (NoTubes Elite Cross Team), Jared Nieters (SEAVS/Haymarket), American Classic Pro Cyclocross Team teammates Chase Dickens and Robert Marion, Adam Myerson (Team SmartStop/Mountain Khakis) and Andrew Dillman (Bob's Red Mill Cyclocross Team).
One lap later Matter and Timmerman rode away from the front group and were joined mid-race by Werner and Lasley. The lead quartet kept the pressure on and steadily added to their advantage over the five-man chase group comprised of Myerson, Dickens, Marion, Wells and Dillman.
On the penultimate lap Lasley, who had been gapped at times from the front group, lost contact for good but pressed on in his effort to hold down fourth place. Meanwhile, Dillman's teammate Mitchell Kersting bridged to the chase group as now six riders were vying for fifth place honours.
Tapped as the strongest rider by breakaway companion Kerry Werner, Matter put his strength on display as he attacked Werner and Timmerman approaching their second pass of the pits on the final lap.
"We each kind of tested the waters a little bit but then Brian accelerated on the pavement," Timmerman told Cyclingnews. "We had to chase and he just kept the gas on. Nobody was able to make the acceleration to close the gap. I just didn't have the legs."
After Matter, Werner and Timmerman filled the podium positions, Lasley finished alone in fourth at 32 seconds. One minute later Dickens edged Myerson and Marion in a close sprint for fifth place.
|1||Brian Matter (USA) RACC p/b Geargrinder||0:58:32|
|2||Kerry Werner Jr. (USA) BMC U23 Development Team||0:00:05|
|3||Dan Timmerman (USA) Richard Sachs - RGM Watches - Radix||0:00:16|
|4||Jacob Lasley (USA) Team Soundpony||0:00:32|
|5||Chase Dickens (USA) American Classic Pro Cyclocross Team||0:01:33|
|6||Adam Myerson (USA) Team SmartStop/Mountain Khakis||0:01:34|
|7||Robert Marion (USA) American Classic Pro Cyclocross Team|
|8||Andrew Dillman (USA) Bob's Red Mill Cyclocross Team||0:01:40|
|9||Mitchell Kersting (USA) Bob's Red Mill Cyclocross Team||0:01:48|
|10||Jake Wells (USA) No Tubes Elite Cross Team||0:01:54|
|11||Greg Wittwer (USA) Bob's Red Mill Cyclocross Team||0:02:05|
|12||Brian Sheedy (USA) Giant Bicycles/Brevard College||0:02:08|
|13||Westley Richards (USA) Clemmons Bicycle||0:02:11|
|14||Jared Nieters (USA) SEAVS/Haymarket||0:02:14|
|15||Keck Baker (USA) Carytown Bicycle Co. p/b Cannondale||0:02:17|
|16||Richard Cypress Gorry (USA) Whole Athlete-Specialized||0:02:30|
|17||Lewis Gaffney (USA) Brevard College||0:02:31|
|18||Stephen Cummings (USA) C3-Athletes Serving Athletes||0:02:34|
|19||Patrick Beeson (USA) Mock Orange Racing||0:02:59|
|20||Andy Reardon (USA) Bob's Red Mill Cyclocross Team||0:03:29|
|21||Joseph Welsh (USA) Mock Orange Bikes||0:03:35|
|22||Mike Van Den Ham (Can) Cycle-Smart||0:03:36|
|23||Andrew Bailey (USA) MSG Cyclocross||0:03:37|
|24||Matt Moosa (USA) Carolina Break||0:04:38|
|25||Justin Crawford (USA) Veloshine Cycling Team||0:04:41|
|26||Byron Rice (USA) Inland Construction/Back To Dirt||0:04:44|
|27||Nolan Tankersley (USA) Krystal Elite Cycling Team||0:04:56|
|28||Frank Travieso (USA) Team Coco's||0:05:15|
|29||Anthony Viton (USA) Trek CXC||0:05:30|
|30||Joshua Stevens (USA) Garneau Custom P/B Hutchinson||0:05:51|
|31||Bradford Perley (USA) Champion System/Cannondale||0:06:10|
|32||Michael Crouch (USA) Swiftwick Factory Racing p/b Cumberland Transit||0:06:23|
|33||Christopher Uberti (USA) Team Racing Cyclocross||0:07:01|
|34||Bryan Schoeffler (USA) Subaru-AFAS p/b OSP||0:07:28|
|35||Ray Smith (USA) Bob's Red Mill Cyclocross Team||-2laps|
|36||John Proppe (USA) Lake Effect Racing||-4laps|
|37||Paul Mesi (USA) FastFrankie Coaching/CLR||-5laps|
|38||Lucas Livermon (USA) Paul's Cycling and Fitness|