Jeremy Powers (Rapha-Focus) put an exclamation point on the first half of his cyclo-cross season with his second victory in as many days at the US Gran Prix of Cyclocross Derby City Cup. Once again the reigning US champion dropped his rivals to win alone, this time from more than three laps out, while Belgium's Ben Berden (Raleigh-Clement) took the fierce battle for second place as he held off Tim Johnson (Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld) by one second in the sprint finale 21 seconds in arrears of Powers.
Ryan Trebon (Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld), who animated the earlier laps and was part a three-rider duel with Berden and Johnson for second place until the last lap's finale, crossed the line in fourth place 20 seconds later.
Jamie Driscoll (Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld), celebrating his 26th birthday today, rebounded from a 13th place result on Saturday to claim fifth on the day at 54 seconds.
"I wanted to put in a hard race," Powers told Cyclingnews. "This was my last race before a big bloc and I wanted to win here because this is a bit of a monumental race for racing here in the States. It's important. I want to race every race 110 percent and this is obviously more important because Worlds are here.
"I went early but that's because we weeded out so many guys so early with the sand being so hard," said Powers. "This is actually a very demanding course so for me to go early wasn't ideal but it was what I had to do today. Once I got the gap I just tried to keep riding those sections smoothly and I was riding them a couple of seconds faster every lap so it (his lead) just extended."
The second day of racing at Louisville, Kentucky's Eva Bandman Park, nestled against the Ohio River, featured a few course modifications from the Saturday's parcours iteration: a section of turns added at the apex of the first out-and-back grass straight blunted the pure speed picked up off of the asphalt start/finishing section, but more important to the day's outcome was a switch regarding the two sand sections. The lengthy, undulating sector, encountered early in the lap on Saturday swapped positions with the shorter sector, negotiated late in the lap. Additionally, the approach direction was reversed which added difficulty to the longer sector as there was now a slight elevation gain from entrance to exit.
Ben Berden rocketed down River Road to grab the hole-shot and by lap's end the first trip through the sand made its mark as a six-man lead group found themselves with some breathing room: Powers, Trebon, Johnson, Berden, Chris Jones (Rapha-Focus) and Danny Summerhill (Chipotle-First Solar Development Team).
The impetus at the front seemed to momentarily stall, however, and by the mid-lap ascent of the limestone step run-up the lead group had ballooned to 13 with Jamey Driscoll, Zach McDonald (Rapha-Focus), Jeremy Durrin (JAM Fund/NCC/Vittoria), Brian Matter (RACC p/b GG), Tristan Schouten (Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies), Barry Wicks (Kona) and Allen Krughoff (Raleigh-Clement) making contact. Another trip through the sand, immediately followed by the headwind pavement sector and the last, technical foray through the woods trimmed the group back to seven with Powers, Trebon, Johnson, Berden, McDonald, Jones and Summerhill making the selection.
Jones and McDonald came to grief in the third of nine trips through the long sand sector, but managed to bounce back along with Matter to the head of the race by the early railroad tie run-up. As the leaders approached the steps of the flyover, Trebon came to the fore to once and for all force a selection from which there would be no recovery.
"The beginning of the race was weird...a lot of people up there, a lot of people making mistakes," Trebon told Cyclingnews. "I had wanted it to be a little more challenging at the front and make an instant selection versus having to wait half way through the race and then going."
The rangy Cannondale rider ripped through the circuit and entered the long sand sector by himself, but Berden and Powers crossed to Trebon by the end and the lead trio concluded the lap with a 12-second advantage on Johnson, McDonald, Jones and Summerhill.
As Powers, Trebon and Berden approached the mid-lap limestone step run-up, which Powers had been riding most laps, the chase group increased in size, now featuring Johnson, Jones, McDonald, Driscoll, Matter, Summerhill, Schouten and Justin Lindine (Redline). As Johnson led the chasers to the same run-up, Jones crashed in a tight turn which disrupted the group and provided Johnson a gap which he chose to exploit.
Exiting the long sand sector for the fifth time Johnson was closing in on the leaders, but soon found himself in the company of his teammate as Trebon made a mistake in woods near the laps's end and lost contact with Powers and Berden.
"I slid out," said Trebon. "I felt good physically but I was just making small, little mistakes. When someone's riding fast laps it's hard to bring back 15 or 20 seconds."
Powers set a furious tempo which Berden struggled to match, while the Cannondale duo of Trebon and Johnson fought with all their might to keep the tenuous gap from growing. Just six seconds separated the two groups as they hit the limestone steps for the sixth time, but Berden soon found himself in trouble as Powers rode the steps and created some daylight.
"He bunny-hopped those concrete stairs and got like five metres and kept putting on the gas," Berden told Cyclingnews. "I'm really good in the sand but I didn't have the power on the rest of the course to make a difference."
As Powers crossed the finish line for three laps to go he led Berden by five seconds and the Cannondale duo by 15 seconds. With an unfettered view of the parcours Powers showcased his considerable technical skills and fitness, slowly eking out a steady advantage over his pursuers as he nailed his lines throughout the circuit.
"When I got to the front I really thought I was getting my rhythm again because I felt better than yesterday on this course and the sand was going well for me," said Powers. "The [limestone] steps over there I was riding every lap. Even though I was really tired at the end of the race I felt that was worth doing because that's something I really want to be able to nail like 110 percent every time for Worlds - it's an advantage for me."
Berden was caught by Trebon and Johnson and a surge from Trebon put Johnson in trouble as he lost contact. Johnson did not give up, however, and as he fought his way back to Berden and Trebon with one to go the trio trailed Powers by 24 seconds.
"The thing you have to remember is that it's an hour-long race and things can really change from the beginning to the end," said Johnson. "Jeremy and I talked about whether today's course was harder than yesterday and actually today I think it was an easier set-up. They added some corners and gave some more rest but I felt a lot better today."
Powers was not to be caught and enjoyed a clean final lap to win yet again in Louisville. The remaining steps on the podium remained to be decided, however, and Berden made his bid as he hit the final long sand section first and rode the Cannondale teammates off his wheel. Trebon clearly struggled and fell out of contention, but Johnson clawed his way back yet again, reaching Berden's wheel just as they hit the asphalt finishing stretch. The veteran Belgian still had gas left in the tank and a final kick locked up second for Berden while Johnson took a hard-fought third place.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Jeremy Powers (USA) Rapha-Focus||0:55:12|
|2||Ben Berden (Bel) Raleigh-Clement||0:00:21|
|3||Timothy Johnson (USA) Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld||0:00:22|
|4||Ryan Trebon (USA) Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld||0:00:41|
|5||James Driscoll (USA) Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld||0:00:54|
|6||Christopher Jones (USA) Rapha-Focus||0:01:02|
|7||Tristan Schouten (USA) Optum Pro Cycling p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies||0:01:04|
|8||Zach McDonald (USA) Rapha-Focus||0:01:08|
|9||Brian Matter (USA) RACC p/b Geargrinder|
|10||Daniel Summerhill (USA) Chipotle-First Solar Development Team||0:01:09|
|11||Adam Craig (USA) Rabobank-Giant Off-Road Team||0:01:53|
|12||Allen Krughoff (USA) Raleigh-Clement||0:02:05|
|13||Yannick Eckmann (Ger) Cal Giant Berry Farms/Specialized||0:02:22|
|14||Justin Lindine (USA) BikeReg||0:02:26|
|15||Russell Finsterwald (USA) Trek Cyclocross Collective||0:02:54|
|16||Matt Shriver (USA) Trek Cyclocross Collective||0:02:58|
|17||Evan McNeely (Can) Specialized Canada||0:03:02|
|18||Spencer Paxson (USA) Kona||0:03:17|
|19||Dan Timmerman (USA) Richard Sachs - RGM Watches - Radix||0:03:28|
|20||Chris Jackson (USA) Castex Racing p/b Felt||0:03:33|
|21||Jeremy Durrin (USA) JAM Fund / NCC||0:03:36|
|22||Tobin Ortenblad (USA) California Giant||0:03:39|
|23||Andrew Dillman (USA) Bob's Red Mill Cyclocross Team||0:03:52|
|24||Isaac Neff (USA) Trek Cyclocross Collective||0:03:56|
|25||Adam Morka (Can)||0:03:59|
|26||Sean Babcock (USA) Kona||0:04:01|
|27||Barry Wicks (USA) Kona|
|28||Alex Candelario (USA) Optum Pro Cycling p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies||0:04:13|
|29||Adam Myerson (USA) Team SmartStop/Mountain Khakis||0:04:15|
|30||Greg Wittwer (USA) Bob's Red Mill Cyclocross Team||0:04:17|
|31||Cody Kaiser (USA) Cal Giant Berry Farms/Specialized||0:04:18|
|32||Giancarlo Dalle Angelini (USA) Don Walker Cycles||0:04:45|
|33||Kevin Fish (USA) Super Squadra||0:04:49|
|34||Robert Marion (USA) American Classic Pro Cyclocross Team|
|35||Chase Dickens (USA) American Classic Pro Cyclocross Team||0:05:05|
|36||Skyler Trujillo (USA) Boo Bikes||0:05:17|
|37||Zane Godby (USA) enCompass Racing||0:05:27|
|38||Joseph Schmalz (USA) Source Endurance||0:05:33|
|39||Braden Kappius (USA) Team Clif Bar||0:05:36|
|40||Luke Haley (USA) Bob's Red Mill Cyclocross Team||0:05:38|
|41||Andy Reardon (USA) Bob's Red Mill Cyclocross Team||0:05:39|
|42||Kerry Werner Jr. (USA) BMC U23 Development Team||0:05:40|
|43||Mike Anderson (USA) Bissell ABG/Nuvo||0:05:50|
|44||Jason Siegle (USA) SDG/Felt p/b IRT Wheels||0:05:56|
|45||Troy Wells (USA) Team Clif Bar||0:06:14|
|46||Jeffrey Bahnson (USA) Van Dessel Factory Team|
|47||Ryan Knapp (USA) Pony Shop Cyclocross||0:07:11|
|-1 Lap||Sven Baumann (Ger) Trek Cyclocross Collective|
|-2 Laps||Joseph Welsh (USA) Mock Orange Bikes|
|-2 Laps||Lewis Gaffney (USA) Team FITaos|
|-2 Laps||Mitchell Kersting (USA) Bob's Red Mill Cyclocross Team|
|-2 Laps||Jason Monk (USA) Team WHAYNE|
|-2 Laps||Eric Thompson (USA) Plan C p/b Challenge Tires|
|-2 Laps||Matthew Allen (USA) behindbars/littleguyracing|
|-2 Laps||Richard Cypress Gorry (USA) Whole Athlete-Specialized|
|-2 Laps||Chad Tieman (USA) Team Upland p/b Sustainable Cycles|
|-2 Laps||Daniel Gerow (USA) Wolverine Racing Elite CX|
|-2 Laps||Christopher Cruise Bogedin (USA) Wolverine Elite Cyclocross Team|
|-2 Laps||Bill Street (USA) Bicycle Blue Book/HRS/Rock Lobster|
|-2 Laps||Ray Smith (USA) Bob's Red Mill Cyclocross Team|
|-3 Laps||Josh Johnson (USA) Big Shark Racing|
|-3 Laps||Justin Crawford (USA) Veloshine Cycling Team|
|-4 Laps||Johnathan Freter (USA) Don Walker Cycles Racing|
|-4 Laps||Jeremiah Gantzer (USA) HealthyHabitsQC.com p/b DICE|
|-6 Laps||James Billiter (USA) BioWheels/Reece-Campbell Racing|
|-6 Laps||Daniel Chabanov (USA) Richard Sachs - RGM Watches - Radix|
|-6 Laps||Mike Sherer (USA) Optum Pro Cycling p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies|
|-6 Laps||Mark Parmelee (USA) Cycletherapy / Specialized Racing|
|DNF||Travis Livermon (USA) Mock Orange Bikes|
|DNF||Mitchell Hoke (USA) Team Clif Bar|
|DNF||Zeb King (USA) MOB p/b Ridley|
|DNS||Bradley White (USA) Moms in Tow Cyclocross|
|DNS||Jesse Anthony (USA) Optum Pro Cycling p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies|
|DNS||Jacob Lasley (USA) Team Soundpony|
|DNS||Trevor Walz (USA) Honey Stinger/Bontrager|
|DNS||David Reyes (USA) SRAM Factory|
|DNS||Anthony Viton (USA) BSM Cycling|
|DNS||Brad Cole (USA) KCCX Fuji Elite Cyclocross Team|
|DNS||Jesse Rients (USA) KUHL|
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Based in the southeastern United States, Peter produces race coverage for all disciplines, edits news and writes features. The New Jersey native has 30 years of road racing and cyclo-cross experience, starting in the early 1980s as a Junior in the days of toe clips and leather hairnets. Over the years he's had the good fortune to race throughout the United States and has competed in national championships for both road and 'cross in the Junior and Masters categories. The passion for cycling started young, as before he switched to the road Peter's mission in life was catching big air on his BMX bike.
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