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Johnson victorious at day 1 of dusty Derby City Cup

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."

Results

Elite men
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Timothy Johnson (USA) Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com0:57:26
2Ryan Trebon (USA) Kona0:00:15
3Jeremy Powers (USA) Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com0:01:19
4Todd Wells (USA) Specialized0:01:27
5Tristan Schouten (USA) cyclocrossracing.com/Blue/Rolf0:01:36
6Jesse Anthony (USA) California Giant-Specialized0:01:53
7James Driscoll (USA) Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com0:02:37
8Christopher Jones (USA) Rapha Focus0:02:48
9Derrick St John (Can) Garneau Club Chaussure-Ogilvy0:02:53
10Barry Wicks (USA) Kona0:03:15
11Davide Frattini (Ita) Hudz-Subaru0:03:21
12Brian Matter (USA) Gear Grinder0:03:24
13Geoff Kabush (Can) Maxxis-Rocky Mountain0:03:31
14Matthew Pacocha (USA) Hudz-Subaru0:03:45
15Adam Mcgrath (USA) Feedback Sports-Van Dessel0:04:18
16Daniel Summerhill (USA)0:05:20
17Luke Keough (USA) Bikereg.Com/Cannondale
18Mark Lalonde (USA) Specialized
19Cody Kaiser (USA) California Giant-Specialized
20Justin Robinson (USA) California Giant-Specialized
21Troy Wells (USA) Team Clif Bar
22Brady Kappius (USA) Team Clif Bar
23Frank Spiteri (USA) Peninsula Velo-Pomodoro
24Tom Burke (USA) Specialized Michigan
25Greg Wittwer (USA) ALAN North America Cycling Team
26Mike Sherer (USA) The Pony Shop
27Joachim Parbo (Den) Kch Leopard Cycles
28Ryan Iddings (USA) Redline
29Mitchell Hoke (USA) Clif Bar Development Team
30Jeremy Ferguson (USA) California Giant-Specialized
31Brad Cole (USA) KCCX/Verge
32Joseph Schmalz (USA) KCCX/Verge p/b Challen
33Troy Heithecker (USA)
34Dave Hackworthy (USA) Cyclocrossracing.com p/b Blue
35Andrew Reardon (USA) Van Dessel / Real Design
36Robin Eckmann (Ger)
37Matt Shriver (USA) Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory
38Eric Wondergem (USA)
39Clayton Omer (USA) Papa Johns' Racing Team
40Steve Fisher (USA) Rad Racing Nw-Hagens Berman Llp
41Noah Metzler (USA)
42William Fyfe (USA)
43Bryan Fawley (USA) Park Place Dealerships
44Scott McLaughlin (USA) SRAM Factory Team
45Robert Kendall (USA)
46Kevin McConnell (USA) mercy-specialized
47Skyler Trujillo (USA)
48Josh Johnson (USA) DRT Racing
49Christopher Bogedin
50Cary Fridrich (USA) Embrocation Cycling Journal / Mad Alchemy
51David McNeal (USA) Birmingham Bicycle Company
52Erik Hamilton (USA)
53Sean Babcock (USA) Kona
54Kip Spaude (USA)
55Zachary Edwards (USA) DRT Racing
56Mathew Allen (USA)
57Jason Karew (USA)
58Joshua Whitmore (USA)
59Matt Spohn (USA) Cyfac-Champion System Racing Team p/b Revolution Wheelworks
60Daniel Gerow (USA)
61Dustin Greer (USA)
62Gregg Shanefelt (USA) ZWS/Cyclesport

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Kirsten Frattini is an honours graduate of Kinesiology and Health Science from York University in Toronto, Canada. She has been involved in cycling from the community and grassroots level to professional cycling's WorldTour. She has worked in both print and digital publishing, and started with Cyclingnews as a North American Correspondent in 2006. Moving into a Production Editor's role in 2014, she produces and publishes international race coverage for all men's and women's races including Spring Classics, Grand Tours, World Championships and Olympic Games, and writes and edits news and features. As the Women's Editor at Cyclingnews, Kirsten also coordinates and oversees the global coverage of races, news, features and podcasts about women's professional cycling.

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