Jeremy Powers (Aspire Racing) won his fourth US cyclo-cross title Sunday in Asheville, North Carolina, pulling away from Stephen Hyde (Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com) and Logan Owen (California Giant Strawberries) in the waning laps. Hyde finished second, with Owen close behind in third.
The victory was Powers' third national title in a row, and one of the hardest fought against two up and coming riders. "My first title is definitely the most special. If I watch that I still get goosebumps," Powers told Cyclingnews. "But no doubt, this is one of the most hotely contested nationals that I've won. This one is special because it was really talked about, Stephen and I have been going head to head, and Logan, Stephen and I have been doing good battles all year.
"There was a lot of pressure on everyone to put a good performance in. For me, it's a big win, and I think a lot of people see my season, and see my results in Europe and think I'm not going well, but I've been hunkered down and putting a lot into the end of this season because I know how long it is, and it's hard to be going good in August and February. This nationals is a big deal, I'm proud to be able to wear the jersey and I'm psyched to take it to Europe."
Hyde and Owen made Powers work for the stars and stripes, however. Owen hit out on the first lap with a big attack. "I thought if we're going to go this hard today, I'm going to have to take a rain check. It was that insane," Powers said of Owen's move. "It settled in a little bit after that."
Owen explained why he made the effort. "I saw them sitting up and said 'I'm not here to sit around and plaly games'," Owen said to Cyclingnews. "I decided to put in a big dig and see if they'd chase me. You never know, they might let me get the gap and I could hang on. I have a lot of road fitness. I've been sick the last few weeks so I was kind of shooting for the stars there, trying to go for the win. But I knew the podium was in reach so I'm happy to come away with that."
Owen said he just couldn't get one section just at the first big climb - a major run-up followed by an off-camber, twisty descent. "I was smoother everywhere else, but I couldn't get that figured out. I didn't have the right toe spikes in, and they were able to run straight up it and I was having issues digging in. I lost a lot of time on the running because of that," Owen said. He would finish third, 41 seconds behind Powers.
Powers and Hyde were locked in battle, with Owen on the chase, but one mistake turned into several for Hyde.
"I wanted to win really bad. I had the legs for it. I just made some mistakes and paid for it," Hyde said. "The first crash - there was a rut and I went into it at too much of an angle and it just spit me out. It shifted my groupset all the way into the 12 and then the levers were pushed in. I had to pit, so that took some wind out of my sails.
"Then I was in a bad spot in the back of the group, and got slammed once. That took a little steam out of me. I couldn't get out of my pedals and fell over. Sometimes it goes down like that," Hyde said, disappointed. "I came in today with a lot of confidence. I know where these guys stack up and I know where I am, we're close. Everyone said it'd be the three of us, and it was, it was very close and one of us has to win it, why not me?"
Before the race, Powers predicted that whoever made the fewest mistakes would win, and it proved true. "I had no mistakes and that was the best I could hope for, just riding smooth and steady," Powers said. "I had probably one lap that I took conservatively, because I was gassed after Stephen's first crash. They came back to me, and then I felt I got my footing again, and I was able to keep it moving. After the second bobble he had, I could extend that."
When Owen attacked, Powers was surprised, but not overly worried, knowing that he was only using his advantage, and that's his quickness. "He's 20 and he has a lot of snap, and I'm 32 and it's just different. When he does those big attacks, it reminds me he has a lot of snap but he can't necessarily hold it. For me, I wanted to hold it steady and not overextend myself and go into the red and then make mistakes. I've done enough of these that I know the crowd and the momentum can make it seem like you can go harder than you can."
Powers' choice of tyre - the FMB slalom, a diamond tread with lower rolling resistance rather than a wider, mud tire gave him an advantage on a course that quickly began to dry out during the race. "I like that tyre because it has less rolling resistance and it's not overkill. I felt pretty confident when I was warning up, and knew it would dry out more."
Although a prime favourite for the U23 title, Owen chose to race the elites, knowing that he'd be up against a big challenge to keep his long streak of national championship victories alive, but he said the risk was worth it. "It's good to challenge myself instead of sitting back and sandbagging. If you're not challenging yourself, then you're not doing it. I was so stoked for my teammate Tobin [Ortenblad] to pull off the win. To keep the jersey in the team. I was so happy for him. He really deserves it."
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Jeremy Powers (USA) Aspire Racing||0:56:45|
|2||Stephen Hyde (USA) Cannondale Cyclocrossworld||0:56:55|
|3||Logan Owen (USA) Cal Giant/Specialized||0:57:26|
|4||Jonathan Page (USA)||0:59:17|
|5||Kerry Werner (USA) Uci Ct/Wpt: Team Optum P/B Kell||0:59:26|
|6||James Driscoll (USA) Raleigh/Clement||0:59:33|
|7||Ryan Trebon (USA) Cannondale Cyclocrossworld||0:59:51|
|8||Travis Livermon (USA) Mock Orange Cx Pb Vp Components||0:59:52|
|9||Yannick Eckmann (USA) Maxxis/Shimano||1:00:00|
|10||Cody Kaiser (USA) Langtwins/Specialized||1:00:23|
|11||Jack Kisseberth (USA) Jam Fund / Ncc / Vittoria||1:00:38|
|12||Ben Frederick (USA) Beyondcx||1:00:57|
|13||Justin Lindine (USA) Apex / Nbx / Trek||1:00:59|
|14||Allen Krughoff (USA) Noosa Pro Cyclocross||1:01:19|
|15||Tristan Cowie (USA) Mock Orange Cx Pb Vp Components||1:01:25|
|16||Anthony Clark (USA) Squid Bikes||1:01:39|
|17||Daniel Summerhill (USA) Maxxis-Shimano||1:01:54|
|18||Jeremy Durrin (USA) Neon Velo Cycling Team||1:02:04|
|19||Zach Mcdonald (USA)||1:02:26|
|20||Tim Allen (USA) Feedback Sports Racing||1:02:28|
|21||Troy Wells (USA) Team Clif Bar Cycling||1:02:51|
|22||Kevin Bradford-Parish (USA) Set / Coaching.Com||1:02:54|
|23||Daniel Chabanov (USA) House Industries - Withings - S||1:02:58|
|24||Andrew Juiliano (USA) Rock Lobster||1:03:19|
|25||Robert Marion (USA) American Classic||1:03:33|
|26||Jake Wells (USA) Stan's Notubes Elite Cx||1:03:56|
|27||Alex Ryan (USA) Mob Pro Cycling Team Pb Vp Com||1:04:02|
|28||Dan Timmerman (USA) Stan's Notubes Elite Cx||1:04:11|
|29||Adam Myerson (USA) Cycle-Smart Inc.||1:04:16|
|30||Tristan Uhl (USA) Giant South||1:04:38|
|31||Cole Oberman (USA) Rare Disease Cycling||1:05:18|
|32||Michael Mihalik (USA) J Mac Cycling Llc||-2|
|33||Philip Short (USA) Hearts Racing Club|
|34||Jared Nieters (USA) Seavs/Haymarket|
|35||Kacey Campbell (USA)|
|36||Ryan Woodall (USA) Top Gear Bicycles|
|37||Dylan Mcnicholas (USA) Polartec|
|38||John Purvis (USA) Tyson Foods Cycling Team|
|39||Dylan Postier (USA) Evoke Racing|
|40||Andrew Reardon (USA) Sonic Cycling|
|41||Payson Mcelveen (USA)|
|42||Lewis Gaffney (USA) Giant South|
|43||Jordan Snyder (USA) C3-Twenty20Cycling.Com|
|44||Braden Kappius (USA) Team Clif Bar Cycling|
|45||Frank Travieso (USA) Team United Healthcare Georgia/|
|46||Tyler Cloutier (USA) Matrix/Rbm|
|47||Nicholas Lemke (USA) Kona/Hifi/Anchor And Frame|
|48||Max Judelson (USA)|
|49||Hunter Resek (USA) Charm City Cycling/C3-Twenty20C|
|50||Josh Bauer (USA) Twin Six||-3|
|51||Brandon Feehery (USA) Crank Radlers||-4|
|DNF||Greg Wittwer (USA) C3-Twenty20Cycling.Com|
|DNF||Kyle Trudeau (USA)|