Hot, dry and dusty was the theme of the US cyclo-cross weekend, and things were no different at the Tailwinds 'Double Cross' races in Michigan. A strong elite men's field featured Jonathan Page (SunWeb/ProJob), who proceeded to display why he was the Worlds silver medallist by dominating both races of the weekend. Page's closest competition came from 2003 Swiss U23 cyclo-cross champion Michael Mueller (Inovex), who took second both days.
"It was like the time Lance Armstrong raced the SF Grand Prix, no one wanted to pass Jonathan Page," said Nerac's Adam Myerson about the start of Saturday's race. "Everyone was giving him a lot of respect. It was almost like he was riding in a bubble." The bubble burst when the field came through the paved section at the start finish. A momentary lull caused the pack to bunch up. Immediately, Nerac Pro Cycling racer Chris Jones put in a powerful attack, quickly drawing out Canadian CX Champion Greg Reain, Jonathan Page and Michael Mueller. Jones, Reain, Page and Mueller wasted no time establishing a significant lead over the chasing riders.
Page put in a tremendous surge on a long, grassy incline leading to the uphill wooded section midway through the race, pulling Mueller with him. Working together, Page and Mueller distanced themselves from Jones and Reain, who also teamed up and worked together to limit their losses. As Page and Mueller raced their way over the last 500 meters of the final lap Mueller bobbled a difficult off camber 120 degree turn to open the door for Page to surge ahead and secure the win by 15 seconds.
Day two dawned hotter, drier and dustier than day one. The course was changed slightly from the day before with faster open sections. The dust and lack of moisture actually created slicker conditions, especially on the grassy sections where the thin layer of dust on the grass made it difficult to take turns at high speeds without risking a fall. At the start Jonathan Page grabbed the hole-shot and put the field in the hurt locker, immediately gapping everyone. Coming into the barrier section half way through the first lap, Page was several seconds in the lead with a cheeky Chris Jones bridging up while the rest of the pack suffered single file. As Jones made contact with Page, Reain also launched himself out of the pack. By the end of the first lap it was Jones leading Page and Reain.
As the chasing pack struggled to regain it's composure, Mueller became the first to attempt to bridge to the Jones, Page, Reain group. Sensing his training partner was closing the gap, Page started to work over Reain and Jones, who both slowly started to lose contact. Mueller spent a lap hop scotching over the Reain and Jones, to make contact with Page midway through the race. As the junction was made, Page put his head down and lead Mueller, quickly putting 30 seconds then 60 seconds on the two chasers. Page then led Mueller to the finish for another win.
In the women's race, pro mountain biker Kerry Barnholt rode away from the women's field both days to take back to back wins ahead of Anna Milkowski and Catherine Wahlberg.
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