US National Champion Tim Johnson (Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld.com) captured a slim solo victory at the hot and dusty UCI Category 1 Derby City Cup, round three of the US Gran Prix of Cyclo-cross (USGP).
"I had a water bottle on my bike today and made that decision 10 minutes before the race," said Johnson who admitted that his water bottle was partially mixed with sponsored Red Bull. "Having water paid off huge, and I finished the whole thing and was wasn't that tapped out. Even for comfort it was worth it."
Ryan Trebon (Kona-FSA) was his closest competitor and maintained a mere five-second deficit for the final four laps of the race. Johnson's teammate Jeremy Powers captured a hard-fought third place ahead of Todd Wells (Specialized-Cal Giant) in fourth.
"It was a good race," Trebon said. "We separated early, and I was going hard at the beginning. I didn't want to keep two of them [Tim Johnson and Jeremy Powers] around so I was riding hard, not at my limit but I think it just kind of wore me out toward the end. I was on his wheel after he attacked. I made a mistake because I was following him in the sand and got off too early and he got a five-second gap."
Johnson's victory moved him further into the lead of the USGP series overall standings. He took the lead following round two at the Planet Bike Cup in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin last month. He started the day tied for first place with Powers.
Wells earned himself the event's Most Aggressive Rider award for putting forth a tough battle for third place against Powers. The award was a tough decision between he and Matt Pacocha (Hudz-Subaru) for starting the race in 56th place and diligently working his way into 14th before the finish.
"It was a fast and dusty course today," Wells said. "I tried to make up time over the barriers and the sand pit was also a place where you could gain time or lose time. I tried to keep it the same going through there each lap. I made it through those sections clean and tried to make up a few places by the end."
Dust, heat and high speed 'cross racing on hand in Kentucky
Race organizers Bruce Fina and Joan Hanscom offered the elite men and women a C1-level race on Saturday along with a brand new course at the Eva Bandman Park, site of the UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships scheduled for 2013.
"It's a good course, fast and needed to be longer because we were doing like five-minute laps," Trebon said. "It was nice and dry, super loose dirt and lots of sliding around. I like stuff like this that is technical with hilly sections, varied terrain and natural grounds which is harder to ride. Those steep ups and downs really weigh on you."
A crash in the first corner caused panic amongst the 'cross riders trying to fight their way into position behind the pace-setter - Trebon. His teammate Sean Babcock was involved in the accident and was forced to run the first half lap to get to the pits for a spare bike while one other riders stopped to receive medical attention.
Valentin Scherz (Cyfac-Champion System) took over the lead and gained a small advantage ahead of Trebon, Johnson, Powers, Wells, Barry Wicks (Kona-FSA), Davide Frattini (Hudz-Subaru), Tristan Schouten (Cyclocrossracing.com), Chris Jones (Rapha-Focus), Derrick St John (Garneau Club Chaussure-Olgivy), Jamey Driscoll (Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld.com), Geoff Kabush (Maxxis-Rocky Mountain) and Jesse Anthony (Cal Giant-Sepcialized).
Trebon and Powers separated themselves from the field and were later joined by Johnson. Trebon continued to put forth a strong effort on the front until Powers eventually fell off pace on the fourth lap.
"I was trying to do everything I could to take the first lap easier than I normally do," Powers said. "I felt a little bit beat up and tired from the travel. I didn't have a great race today, the dust didn't help and I felt off rhythm. I had a little bit of an off day but I'm trying not to sweat it too much."
Trebon and Johnson acknowledged each other's strengths and weaknesses on the various sections of the course. Trebon liked the punchy up hills and the fast nature of the course design while Johnson felt that the technical corners and choice of tire for the dusty terrain better suited his skills.
"On the start line, I noticed that Ryan had slick tires almost with tire treads with really small side knobs," Johnson said. "I just thought that if I pushed all the corners that would put him under pressure. I tried and then I was sitting on Ryan and it seemed like along the river it was dry and dusty."
In the chase, Powers lost several seconds each lap and was nearly caught by Anthony who launched himself out of a chase group in pursuit of a podium spot. He was not able to close the gap but Wells made it across on lap eight.
Anthony and Schouten eventually caught up to form a chase group of four. There was another gap to a second group of chasers that included Jones, Wicks, Driscoll and later St John, all racing for the top ten.
Back up front, Johnson gained the valuable five-second margin he needed entering the sand pit with four laps to go. He maintained the slim lead over the green monster fly over supported by the cheering from his family members and friends. He held the gap until the last lap and rolled to the finish line with his second USGP victory.
"When he was going fast I didn't think that I was going to be able to hold it," Johnson said. "The water bottle helped and when I did attack I felt like I had something. "I just got a couple of feet on him out of the sand pit. When these straightaways are so long and it is so hard when you get a little gap that's all you need."
As Trebon rode in for second place, the race for third heated up between Powers and Wells. The evenly matched duo tried desperately to outpace one another on the run ups, through the sand pit and over the barriers. It was Powers who got the final advantage and rolled to the line in third place.
"Third is not bad," Powers said. "Once Todd was coming across I had to let him catch me and he had a good rhythm which helped me get back into mine. I got some of my mental edge back and felt like I could do it. Once I got Todd's rhythm I was able to get five seconds on him and make the most of that."
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Timothy Johnson (USA) Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com||0:57:26|
|2||Ryan Trebon (USA) Kona||0:00:15|
|3||Jeremy Powers (USA) Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com||0:01:19|
|4||Todd Wells (USA) Specialized||0:01:27|
|5||Tristan Schouten (USA) cyclocrossracing.com/Blue/Rolf||0:01:36|
|6||Jesse Anthony (USA) California Giant-Specialized||0:01:53|
|7||James Driscoll (USA) Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com||0:02:37|
|8||Christopher Jones (USA) Rapha Focus||0:02:48|
|9||Derrick St John (Can) Garneau Club Chaussure-Ogilvy||0:02:53|
|10||Barry Wicks (USA) Kona||0:03:15|
|11||Davide Frattini (Ita) Hudz-Subaru||0:03:21|
|12||Brian Matter (USA) Gear Grinder||0:03:24|
|13||Geoff Kabush (Can) Maxxis-Rocky Mountain||0:03:31|
|14||Matthew Pacocha (USA) Hudz-Subaru||0:03:45|
|15||Adam Mcgrath (USA) Feedback Sports-Van Dessel||0:04:18|
|16||Daniel Summerhill (USA)||0:05:20|
|17||Luke Keough (USA) Bikereg.Com/Cannondale|
|18||Mark Lalonde (USA) Specialized|
|19||Cody Kaiser (USA) California Giant-Specialized|
|20||Justin Robinson (USA) California Giant-Specialized|
|21||Troy Wells (USA) Team Clif Bar|
|22||Brady Kappius (USA) Team Clif Bar|
|23||Frank Spiteri (USA) Peninsula Velo-Pomodoro|
|24||Tom Burke (USA) Specialized Michigan|
|25||Greg Wittwer (USA) ALAN North America Cycling Team|
|26||Mike Sherer (USA) The Pony Shop|
|27||Joachim Parbo (Den) Kch Leopard Cycles|
|28||Ryan Iddings (USA) Redline|
|29||Mitchell Hoke (USA) Clif Bar Development Team|
|30||Jeremy Ferguson (USA) California Giant-Specialized|
|31||Brad Cole (USA) KCCX/Verge|
|32||Joseph Schmalz (USA) KCCX/Verge p/b Challen|
|33||Troy Heithecker (USA)|
|34||Dave Hackworthy (USA) Cyclocrossracing.com p/b Blue|
|35||Andrew Reardon (USA) Van Dessel / Real Design|
|36||Robin Eckmann (Ger)|
|37||Matt Shriver (USA) Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory|
|38||Eric Wondergem (USA)|
|39||Clayton Omer (USA) Papa Johns' Racing Team|
|40||Steve Fisher (USA) Rad Racing Nw-Hagens Berman Llp|
|41||Noah Metzler (USA)|
|42||William Fyfe (USA)|
|43||Bryan Fawley (USA) Park Place Dealerships|
|44||Scott McLaughlin (USA) SRAM Factory Team|
|45||Robert Kendall (USA)|
|46||Kevin McConnell (USA) mercy-specialized|
|47||Skyler Trujillo (USA)|
|48||Josh Johnson (USA) DRT Racing|
|50||Cary Fridrich (USA) Embrocation Cycling Journal / Mad Alchemy|
|51||David McNeal (USA) Birmingham Bicycle Company|
|52||Erik Hamilton (USA)|
|53||Sean Babcock (USA) Kona|
|54||Kip Spaude (USA)|
|55||Zachary Edwards (USA) DRT Racing|
|56||Mathew Allen (USA)|
|57||Jason Karew (USA)|
|58||Joshua Whitmore (USA)|
|59||Matt Spohn (USA) Cyfac-Champion System Racing Team p/b Revolution Wheelworks|
|60||Daniel Gerow (USA)|
|61||Dustin Greer (USA)|
|62||Gregg Shanefelt (USA) ZWS/Cyclesport|