Reigning US 'cross champion Jeremy Powers (Rapha-Focus) soloed to victory on the Saturday round of the Derby City Cup, the fifth race in the US Gran Prix of Cyclocross (USGP). Ryan Trebon (Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld) finished alone in second, 14 seconds back, while Danny Summerhill took the sprint for third place from a four-rider chase group 1:08 behind Powers.
For the latter half of the 10-lap race in Louisville, Kentucky's Eva Bandman Park, the site of the 2013 UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships, the battle for the top step of the podium was a two-man affair featuring Powers and Trebon.
The duo were evenly matched, each throwing in probing surges to find chinks in the other's armor but eventually the unseasonably warm conditions, which led many riders to take water bottle hand-ups lap after lap, coupled with a deceptively hard course cracked Trebon near the end of the penultimate lap as Powers ever so steadily increased his advantage.
"Today's a hard day, just based on the heat," Powers told Cyclingnews. "That's a big factor when you're racing in the woods and you're not really going very fast and you don't have the air moving through you it's just burning up.
"For today I felt that I was lacking a little bit," said Powers. "I feel that I need a little bit of a break and then look forward to the rest of the season. In my legs I didn't feel as good as I quite had hoped."
Those factors made it a waiting game for Powers, who timed his winning move to perfection.
"With two to go I made a conscious effort, but that's still a 15-minute TT in what to my body feels like 90 degrees...a thousand degrees, actually. I wasn't going to go earlier than that and it was those little technical sections to wear him down slowly and then a good, hard 12 minutes all out at the end of the race."
"It wasn't really a race of attacking each other, we were slowly dying out there and he just happened to have a little bit more in those last two laps," said Trebon. "He got a gap and just kept holding it. I think he was feeling about as bad as I was for most of that race. I think I just felt a little worse than he did today."
As Powers heard the bell for one lap to go Trebon trailed by five seconds, and a on a mistake-free final circuit of Eva Bandman Park the stars-and-stripes-clad rider kept his season's unbeaten streak in UCI C1-ranked races in the US alive, making it six for six this thus far, extending back to CrossVegas.
While first and second seemed assured on the final lap, the battle for the final podium spot was fiercely contested between a chase group containing Summerhill, Adam Craig (Rabobank-Giant Off-road Team), Ben Berden (Raleigh-Clement) and Tim Johnson (Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld). Berden gapped his three rivals mid-way through the lap on the approach to the limestone step run-up, which Craig actually rode virtually every lap, but his attack was neutralised.
Over the second sand sector late in the lap Craig led, with Summerhill hot on his heels while gaps formed to Berden and Johnson. Craig emerged first onto asphalt for the short sprint to the finish line, but Summerhill's kick was too strong in the finale.
"I wanted that [podium finish], I wanted that a lot," Summerhill told Cyclingnews. "To be honest, I really wanted to win. Getting outsprinted at the Boulder Cup by Ryan [Trebon] by a couple of inches really hurt, but today just wasn't the day in the end. Jeremy and Ryan obviously deserved it because they just dropped the shit out of us.
"This was a hard, hard day of racing. That hurt. It was hot and I love the dry races but there comes a point where it just becomes an off-road, super-hot crit and because you're not going as fast as you are on the road you sweat and get even more over-heated."
The heat is on
It took a few laps for the day's main protagonists to distance themselves from the 80-strong field, but early in the third lap during through the lengthy sand pit Powers, Trebon, Berden, Summerhill and Craig found some daylight at the head of the race. By the end of the lap, with exactly 18 minutes of racing concluded, the leading five held a slender 11-second lead over three chasers: Zach McDonald (Rapha-Focus), who had earlier grabbed the hole shot, Allen Krughoff (Raleigh-Clement) and Tim Johnson.
Approximately midway through the fourth lap, on the limestone step run-up, Johnson completed his solo bridge across to the lead group, digging deep to return to the pointy end of the field after an early mistake cost him plenty of positions.
"I had a really good start on the pavement, but as we were getting off the pavement I was on the inside of the first corner and people checked up on the brakes and whoever was on the second and third row just came flying around us," Johnson told Cyclingnews. "So really that was my mistake, I should have started on the right hand side of the group.
"But then it took a long time to get to that lead group. By the time I got there I was feeling a bit toasted."
The fifth lap would prove decisive for the formulation of the Derby City Cup's endgame, ignited by a strong solo attack by Berden. There was a momentary decrease in pace behind the Belgian, which allowed Zach McDonald, Justine Lindine (Redline) and Brian Matter (RACC p/b GG) to join Berden's five former companions in what was now an eight-strong chase group.
Sensing the race was in danger of getting out of hand, Trebon bridged to Berden and then the move was duplicated by Powers, who made contact by the end of the fifth lap.
"When Ryan went across that was the moment," said Powers. "As soon as that happened, Ryan forced me out of hibernation. I just hit the technical section with as much speed as I could and snapped them back quickly right through the start/finish so that way I didn't have to do any extra work through those two big headwind sections."
The breakaway effort would prove too much for Berden, who cracked on the next lap and lost contact with Powers and Trebon. Meanwhile, the chase group splintered and would consolidate into a four man group as Johnson, Summerhill and Craig picked up Berden.
The stage was now set for the Powers/Trebon battle for the podium's top step with the four-man chase group vying for third place honours.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Jeremy Powers (USA) Rapha-Focus||0:59:34|
|2||Ryan Trebon (USA) Cannondale/Cyclocrossworld.com||0:00:14|
|3||Daniel Summerhill (USA) Chipotle Development Team||0:01:08|
|4||Adam Craig (USA) Giant Rabobank Team||0:01:09|
|5||Ben Berden (Bel) Raleigh Clement||0:01:12|
|6||Timothy Johnson (USA) Cannondale/Cyclocrossworld.com||0:01:15|
|7||Justin Lindine (USA) Redline||0:01:36|
|8||Brian Matter (USA) RACC pb GG||0:01:53|
|9||Allen Krughoff (USA) Boulder Cycle Sport||0:01:54|
|12||Christopher Jones (USA) Rapha-Focus||0:03:18|
|13||James Driscoll (USA) Jamis/Sutter Home||0:03:36|
|14||Dan Timmerman (USA) RGM Watches - Richard Sachs||0:03:42|
|15||Spencer Paxson (USA) Kona Bicycles||0:03:53|
|16||Barry Wicks (USA) Kona||0:03:54|
|17||Tristan Schouten (USA) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strateg||0:04:07|
|18||Troy Wells (USA) Team Clif Bar||0:04:21|
|21||Sean Babcock (USA) Kona||0:04:37|
|23||Anthony Clark (USA) JAM Fund / NCC / Vittoria||0:04:44|
|25||Jacob Lasley (USA) Team Soundpony||0:04:55|
|29||Alexander Candelario (USA) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies||0:06:05|
|31||Joseph Schmalz (USA) Source Endurance||0:06:39|
|32 (-2 laps)||Chris Jackson (USA) Castex Racing p/b Felt|
|34||Eric Thompson (USA) Plan C p/b Challenge Tires|
|35||Robert Marion (USA) American Classic Pro CX Team|
|36||Braden Kappius (USA) Clif Bar Development Cross Team|
|37||Brad Cole (USA) KCCX Fuji Elite Cyclocross Team|
|38 (-3 laps)||Mitchell Hoke (USA) Team Clif Bar|
|40||Sven Baumann (Ger) Wolverine Sports Club|
|41||Adam Myerson (USA) Team SmartStop/Mountain Khakis|
|42||Mitchell Kersting (USA) Bob's Red Mill Cyclocross Team|
|43||Andy Reardon (USA) Bob's Red Mill Cyclocross Team|
|44||Isaac Neff (USA)|
|48 (-4 laps)||Matthew Allen (USA) Behind Bars / Littleguy Racing|
|49||Daniel Chabanov (USA) RGM Watches - Richard Sachs|
|50||Mark Parmelee (USA) Cycletherapy / Specialized Racing|
|51||Chad Tieman (USA) Team Upland p/b Sustainable Cycling|
|53||Joseph Welsh (USA) Mock Orange Bikes|
|54||Ray Smith (USA) Bob's Red Mill Cyclocross Team|
|55||Mike Anderson (USA) Bissell ABG/Nuvo|
|56||Christopher Cruise Bogedin (USA) Wolverine Elite Cyclocross Team|
|59||Bill Street (USA) Kuhl/ Velocity Wheels/BH|
|60 (-5 laps)||Justin Crawford (USA) Veloshine Cycling Team|
|62||James Billiter (USA) BioWheels/Reece-Campbell Racing|
|63||Gantzer Jeremiah (USA) HealthyHabitsQC.com p/b DICE|
|DNF||Anthony Viton (USA) BSM Cycling|
|DNF||Jeremy Durrin (USA) JAM Fund / NCC / Vittoria|
|DNF||Bradley White (USA) Moms in Tow Cyclocross|
|DNF||Travis Livermon (USA) Mock Orange Racing|
|DNF||Mike Sherer (USA) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strateg|
|DNF||Ryan Knapp (USA) Pony Shop Cyclocross|
|DNF||Matt Shriver (USA)|
|DNF||Greg Wittwer (USA) Bob's Red Mill Cyclocross Team|
|DNF||Jason Siegle (USA) SDG/Felt|
|DNF||Giancarlo Dalle Angelini (USA) Don Walker Cycles Racing|
|DNS||Jesse Anthony (USA) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strateg|
|DNS||Jason Monk (USA) Team WHAYNE|
|DNS||David Reyes (USA) SRAM Factory|
|DNS||Trevor Walz (USA) Honey Stinger/Bontrager|
|DNS||Jesse Rients (USA)|
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Zach McDonald (USA) Rapha - Focus||1:01:58|
|2||Yannick Eckmann (Ger) California Giant/Specialized||0:00:06|
|3||Josh Johnson (USA) Bissell-ABG-Nuvo||0:02:00|
|4||Adam Morka (Can)||0:02:07|
|5||Russell Finsterwald (USA) Trek Cyclo-Cross Collective||0:02:18|
|6||Evan Mcneely (Can) Specialized Canada||0:02:31|
|7||Skyler Trujillo (USA) Niner/Stans/Erogn||0:02:42|
|8||Andrew Dillman (USA) Bob's Red Mill Cyclocross||0:02:47|
|9||Kerry Werner Jr. (USA) USA BMC U23 Development Team||0:02:51|
|10||Tobin Ortenblad (USA) California Giant Berry Farms||0:04:05|
|11 (-2 laps)||Jeffrey Bahnson (USA) Van Dessel Factory Team|
|12 (-3 laps)||Cody Kaiser (USA) California Giant Berry Farms/Specialized|
|13||Zane Godby (USA) Clif Bar junior development|
|14||Lewis Gaffney (USA) Team FITaos|
|15 (-4 laps)||Richard Cypress Gorry (USA) Whole Athlete-Specialized|
|16||Daniel Gerow (USA) Wolverine Racing Elite U/23|
|17||Zeb King (USA) MOB p/b Ridley|
|18||Luke Haley (USA) Bob's Red Mill Cyclocross Team|
|19 (-5 laps)||Johnathan Freter (USA) Don Walker Cycles Racing|
|DNF||Chase Dickens (USA) American Classic Pro Team|
|DNF||Kevin Fish (USA) KCCX/Fuji pb Challenge Tires|