The US-riders suffered mixed fortunes at the 2011 cyclo-cross world championships: Jonathan Page flatted while riding in the lead group, Tim Johnson crashed out of the race, Jeremy Powers (Cannondale) struggled while hopping the barriers and James Driscoll (Cannondale) had an off-day.
In the large group that sprinted for eighth place at more than two minutes behind winner Stybar, veteran Belgian Bart Wellens (Belgium) held off Christian Heule (Switzerland), Tom Meeusen (Belgium), Gerben de Knegt (The Netherlands) and Jonathan Page (USA). Page probably had his best legs of the season but punctured while riding comfortably in the lead group at the start of the third lap. Page faced an uphill battle to close the gap after also losing a lot of time before he could take a new bike.
“You have championships riders and consistent riders. I'm a little bit of both. I'd rather be good on a day like today instead of being consistently good. Despite starting from third row I immediately got to the front. I felt it was a great day for me and that was all I could ask for. Unfortunately I flatted right after the pit. On the climb I felt like a scooter on the highway,” Page said.
The silver medallist from the 2007 world championships didn't give up and bounced back from a distant 27th place. Being the top US-finisher in twelfth place brought little consolation for his bad luck. Though far from his second place in 2007 his result was probably one of the best US-results for the Elite Men category in recent years.
“Afterwards I kept going, giving everything to leave it out there. I caught [Niels] Albert who was struggling and then rode most of the race on my own. I made one mistake and crashed hard on my shoulder. Apart from that I could've been a little bit further up,” Page said.
“On the last lap I could've gone with Wellens but some guys were blocking the way. I had to choose between risking to blow up my engine or save it for the line.”
Half a minute behind Page, Jeremy Powers (USA) finished sixteenth. “It could've been a little bit better. With four laps to go I crashed when hopping over the barriers like an idiot and I flatted. I'm happy with the result though. It's a good end to my season,” Powers said.
Tim Johnson was unlucky too. The former US-champion crashed out of the race at the end of the fourth lap when he seemed to touch wheels with another rider on the athletics track. Johnson hurt his ribs and he was taken to the nearby hospital for a check-up.
“That didn't end up the way I'd hoped or pictured. [I was] smashed in by someone on the track. [It] left me without spokes and boof-down,” Johnson twitted.
James Driscoll (USA) didn't have a great day and he ended up finishing 27th. “I wasn't feeling fresh,” Driscoll said.