Wells wipes the field clean

Trebon and Powers round out the podium

Todd Wells (Specialized-Cal Giant) captured his first cyclo-cross win of the season, the one that counted the most, at the UCI elite men's USA Cycling Cyclo-cross Championships held on Sunday in Bend, Oregon. The newly-crowned national champion outgunned the hometown favourite Ryan Trebon (Kona-FSA) who placed second and recent US Gran Prix of Cyclo-cross (USGP) overall winner Jeremy Powers (Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld.com) in third.

Wells won the mountain bike cross-country and short track national championships earlier this year. He took some time off to recover from a successful summer of racing before diving into the cyclo-cross season this Fall with a goal of winning the national title. He is no stranger cyclo-cross stars and stripes jersey, having won the event on two previous occasions - in 2001 and 2005.

"All my jerseys are pretty special to me but it's always nice to get a title and this one is right up there with the others," Wells said.

Wells dedicated his victory to friend and former team manager, Jerry Hutchinson, who passed away this summer. "He passed away six weeks ago and I wanted to dedicate the race to him and get a victory," Wells said. "I was thinking about him the whole time and I felt like he was with me out there."

Wells caught the early race leader, Powers, on the second lap and the pair raced shoulder-to-shoulder until a crash before the circuit's fly over caused both riders to get tangled up. Wells was able to get himself up and going within several seconds; Powers was less fortunate, however. He was passed by Trebon and left to chase in third place.

"Jeremy crashed around one of the corners before the fly over and I ran into him," Wells said. "My foot got stuck in his wheel and I'm not sure if that screwed up his wheel or not. It took us a couple of seconds to come untangled."

Wells' flawless second half of the race allowed him to power through the sluggish mud and maintain a five to 10-second margin ahead of a charging Trebon. Powers, disappointed by his unfortunate crash, rode to the finish line in third place.

"I heard the time checks to Trebon but I knew that if I didn't make any mistakes then I could go through the corners faster than him," Wells said. "He was gaining on me in the power sections. I didn't want to go to deep because I knew at that point that it was mine to lose."

Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld.com stacked third, fourth and fifth place with Powers, who was the odds-on favourite to win the jersey after securing the USGP and North American Cyclo-cross Trophy (NACT) overall series, Jamey Driscoll, who recently won doubles at Jingle Cross and Tim Johnson, the defending title holder.

"I knew that just because you won every race previous doesn't mean you are going to win this one," Wells said. "That's the cool thing about national champs, the one day championships, everyone lines up with the same shot at winning."

Crashes reshuffle the top contenders

The UCI elite men's field lined up on a challenging course built throughout the Old Mill District outside of Bend, Oregon. The circuit had similarities to the previous year's design - however, race organisers made several changes that included various steep inclines, a fly over, a set of barriers located at the base of a lengthy climb and a set of stairs to run up right before the finishing straightaway.

"These guys are so good and the starts just keep getting faster and faster," said Wells. "I didn't have the best start because there were lots of crashes but I managed to avoid them and stay upright. I was taking risks in the corners that I felt like I could get through fast. There were some off-cambre wet sections that were tough."

Chris Jones (Rapha-Focus) pushed the pace on the first lap with Powers in tow. The pair gained a several seconds as their competitors behind fumbled to stay upright. Half a lap in, Powers moved ahead of Jones in a solo getaway. Many crashes marred the opening lap and one rider that went down early was Trebon. The crash caused Jones, who was back in the chase group, to go down as well.

"There was a course marker leaning over and I just hooked my bars and it spun me pretty hard on the bars," Trebon said. "Unfortunately, I took Chris Jones out too but I didn't see it there and I came around the turn and it was just in the course. It happens."

Powers muscled through the deep mud ahead of the charging field. Those chasing included Johnson, Trebon, Wells, Barry Wicks (Kona-FSA), Jesse Anthony (Cal Giant-Specialized), Adam Craig (Giant), Alex Candelario (World Bicycle Relief) and Driscoll.

Wells caught up to Powers on the second lap and the pair looked evenly matched on the circuit's difficult obstacles with both riders bunny hopping the barriers and powering neck-to-neck through the second, lower section of the course affectionately named the oatmeal bowl after event sponsor Bob's Red Mill.

However, Powers' race for first place was cut short when he crashed before the fly over. "Thanks guys, 100 emails, 131 replies on twitter," he tweeted following the race. "Appreciate ALL of your support. I wish I could have pulled that off today. I had great legs. There will be another chances. IF WINNING COMES EASY, YOU'LL NEVER APPRECIATE WHAT IT TAKES TO GET THERE!"

Trebon worked his way into second place, passing Powers as the former leader struggled to get his bike in order after the crash. Despite Trebon's biggest effort to claw back the slim 10-second gap to Wells he was not successful and forced to settle for second place ahead of Powers in third.

"Those guys were going hard and I caught Powers but I just couldn't get Todd," Trebon said. "I was digging as hard as I could with three laps to go. My hats off to Todd because he was riding a great race. I was pulling him back a little in the boggy section but he was pulling away from me in the middle area. It was a good race and the crowd was awesome."

Driscoll worked his way into a respectable fourth place ahead of his teammate Johnson in fifth, Wicks in sixth, Craig in seventh, Tristan Schouten (Nova Cycle Sports Foundation) in eighth, Candelario in ninth and Anthony rounding out the tenth place.

Full Results
1Todd Wells (Specialized Factory Racing)1:00:49 
2Ryan Trebon (Kona)0:00:25 
3Jeremy Powers (Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com)0:01:27 
4James Driscoll (Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com)0:02:03 
5Timothy Johnson (Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com)  
6Barry Wicks (Kona)0:02:14 
7Adam Craig (Rabobank-Giant Off Road Team)0:02:40 
8Tristan Schouten (cyclocrossracing.com/Blue/Rolf)0:03:17 
9Alex Candelario (World Bicycle Relief)0:03:50 
10Jesse Anthony (California Giant-Specialized)0:04:19 
11Justin Lindine (BikeReg.com / Joe's Garage / Scott)0:04:37 
12Spencer Paxson (Team S&M Young Guns)0:04:41 
13Mitch Hoke (Clif Bar Development Team)0:05:02 
14Sean Babcock (Kona)0:05:12 
15Christopher Jones (Rapha Focus)0:05:28 
16Erik Tonkin (Kona)0:05:33 
17Joshua Dillon (Richard Sachs-RGM Watches-Radix)0:05:36 
18Carl Decker (Giant)0:05:38 
19Allen Krughoff (Boulder Cycle Sport)0:05:41 
20Peter Webber (Boulder Cycle Sport)0:06:00 
21Matt Pacocha (Hudz-Subaru)0:06:16 
22Brady Kappius (Team Clif Bar)0:06:17 
23Jake Wells (Hudz-Subaru)0:06:21 
24Brandon Dwight (Boulder Cycle Sport)0:06:29 
25Tyler Wren (Boo Bicycles)0:06:33 
26Adam Mcgrath (Feedback Sports/Van Dessel)0:06:50 
27Aaron Bradford (Specialized/Onsite Ultrasound)0:07:03 
28Tim Allen (Niner)0:07:09 
29Russell Stevenson (Cycling Northwest)0:07:21 
30Frank Spiteri (Peninsula Velo Cycling Club/Pen)0:07:23 
31Troy Wells (Team Clif Bar)0:07:45 
32Ryan Knapp (BikeReg.com)0:08:08 
33Adam Myerson (Cycle-Smart)0:08:13 
34Ryan Iddings (Redline)0:08:36 
35Stephen Tilford (Tradewind Energy/Trek) -2laps 
36Jared Nieters (Haymarket Bicycles)  
37Benjamin Thompson  
38Scott Chapin (Rocklobster!!!)  
39Weston Schempf (Charm City Cycling Llc)  
40John Curry (Gallatin Valley Bicycle Club/Gallatin Alpine Sports/Intrinsik Archite)  
41Joshua Snead  
42Brad Cole (Kccx Verge Elite Cyclocross Tea)  
43Justin Robinson (California Giant Cycling/Califo)  
44Molly Cameron (Portland Bicycle Studio)  
45Nathan Bannerman (Wheatland Wheelers)  
46Scott Frederick (Inland Construction)  
47Brue Syvertsen (Murder)  
48Troy Heithecker (Echelon Energy)  
49Ward Baker (Justin'S / Titus Mountain Bike)  
50Ian Brown (River City Bicycles / Tonic Fab)  
51Eric Rasmussen (Kuhl)  
52Michael Gallagher (Cyclocrossracing.Com P/B Blue)  
53John Behrens (Bailey Bikes)  
54Damian Schmitt -3laps 
55Brett Luelling  
56Dan Chabanov (Century Road Club Association/J)  
57Kevin Smallman (Cannondale)  
58Krishna Dole  
59Brennan Wodtli  
60Greg Wittwer (Alan North America Cycling)  
61Logan Wetzel (Cbtinc/Cyclingnorthwest)  
62Lawrence Leonard (Successful Living)  
63Chris Jackson  
64Kevin Mullervy (Escalera Racing Club/Team Exerg)  
65Jason Siegle (Bike Religion)  
66Davy Yeater (River City Bicycles / Cannondal)  
67Shawn Harshman (Pm Racing Team)  
68Jesse Rients  
69Alex Ryan (Champion System/ Cannondale)  
70Aaron Bouplon (Rockymounts Izze Racing)  
71Frederick Bottger (Pasadena Athletic Association)  
72Brandon Gritters (Rock N Road)  
73Matthew Fox -4laps 
74Evan Plews  
75Patrick Jackson  
76Conor Mullervy (Team Exergy)  
77Dave Weaver (Alan N. America Cycling Team)  
78Kevin Bradford-Parish (Emde Sports/Emdesports.Com/Fitn)  
79David Wilcox (Pedro'S Grassroots Cycling Club)  
80Kenny Wehn (Colavita Racing Inc./Colavita R)  
81Anastasio Flores  
82John Frey (Hutch'S Westside Bend Or)  
83Michael Kennedy (Fetzer)  
84Joshua Whitmore (Globalbike Racing/Team Globalbi)  
85Benjamin Dodge (Los Gatos Bicycle Racing Club)  
86Eric Colton (The Team)  
87Lucas Livermon (Mock Orange Bikes)  
88David Sheek  
89Derek Yarra (Murder)  
90Alan Adams (Lake Washington Velo/Hagens Ber)  
91Chad Cheeney (Durango Devo)  
92Ben Popper -5laps 
93Bobby Langin (Platinum Performance Cycling Te)  
94Collin Samaan (Kingsnorth International Wheele)  
95Skip Spaude (Nova Cycle Sports Foundation Inc.)  
96Jim Gentes (Team Rambuski Law)  
97Garrett Mcallister (Team Wisconsin/Team Wisconsin /)  
98Michael Nixon  
99Kendal Johnson  
100Dean Poshard  
101Michael Birner (Ben'S Performance Bicycles Inc)  
102Gregg Shanefelt (Zephyr Wheel Sports)  
103Juozas Martynaitis  
104Scott Mcclave  
105Lane Miller  
106Christopher Hamlin -6laps 
107John Flack (Cbc Racing/Olympia Orthopaedic)  
DNFBrian Matter (Team Geargrinder/Team Geargrinder)  
DNFTravis Livermon (Mock Orange Racing)  
DNFJonathan Baker (Hudz-Subaru)  
DNFNathanael Wyatt (Carolina Fatz Pb Santa Cruz Bic)  
DNFAnton Petrov (Bike Religion)  
DSQNicholas Weighall (California Giant Cycling/California Giant Berry Farms/Specialized)  
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