Jonathan Page (Planet Bike) and Sue Butler (Monavie-Cannondale) claimed wins at the Rad Racing Gran Prix of Cyclocross in Lakewood, Washington, on Sunday, on the second day of racing in the Seattle area.
Riders were greeted with sunny skies, a welcome change from Saturday night’s rain at the FSA Star Crossed. Pre race favorite and defending champion Tim Johnson (Cannondale-Xyclocrossworld.com) chose not start after a mild shoulder separation the night before. Johnson is confident that he’ll be ready for CrossVegas on Wednesday night. Alison Sydor (Rocky Mountain-Maxxis) also did not start due to her crash in the velodrome at Star Crossed the night before.
The main course feature of the day was the Knapp 80-meter run-up. The course was routed differently than last year, favoring riders with good descending skills and confidence. Overall the course turned out to be very fast with a few twisting sections and reasonable climbs. Numerous flat sections favored powerful riders.
Sue Butler grabbed the hole shot with Alison Dunlap and Saturday’s winner, Helen Wyman, in tow. Wyman and Butler quickly gained a lead after tackling the run-up the first time through. By the second lap Dunlap had formed a chase with Velo Bella’s Kari Studley.
It looked as if Butler was riding a bit above her level but on the second lap Wyman had an ill-timed flat tire that derailed her race. Butler recalled Wyman looking back and saying to her, with an English accent of course, “I think I’ve punctured.” And Butler continued to ride off. Wyman drifted back dozens a places and lost over three minutes and was forced to chase the remainder of the race.
During a post-race interview, Wyman recalled, “I punctured at one of the furthest places away from the pit. I lost three minutes-twenty.” But she remained immensely positive nevertheless.
Once Butler had her 20-second advantage over Dunlap, the nearest chaser, the gap continued to grow. With two laps to go the question was not whether Butler would win it, but rather, how much she would win it by.
After the race Butler said, “I felt I could hold her (Wyman’s) wheel … it was fast but possible.”
Butler had to ride a smart race so as not to out-pace herself, even without Wyman within striking distance. “The course comes back on itself so I could gauge my lead during the race. I just kept pushing and kept it consistent,” she said. “I knew Helen was charging … you never know what’s going to happen.”
Dunlap proved that she is back, maybe not on the top but definitely near the top of her game. The last cyclocross race that Dunlap competed in before this weekend was the world championships in 2004.
“It was a good weekend — a good start,” said Dunlap. “It’s been really fun… I’ve had a lot of support from other riders… It’s better to be involved than to be on the sidelines.”
On the race, Dunlap commented, “I knew it would be a good course for me because it was technical — almost like a mountain bike race. I knew the run-up would get me and it did — I definitely lost time on that run.”
A second and a first place at the first round of the NACT series gives Butler a good lead over Dunlap, who racked up a third and second place finish this weekend.
Ryan Trebon grabbed the hole shot and Jeremy Powers quickly moved to the front, perhaps trying to be the first heading into the run-up. A group of about 11 riders stayed together for the first three of eight laps.
With five laps to go Page and Christian Heule separated themselves from the rest of the group, forcing Jamey Driscoll (Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com) and Andy Jacques-Maynes (Bissell) to chase. At one point the Euro-duo of Page and Heule had 10 seconds on their chasers but Driscoll, the current collegiate national road race champion, broke away from his companions and continued the chase on his own.
Driscoll managed to bridge up to Page and Heule but they kept the youngster at bay. Driscoll recalls the two chatting before the run-up and then speeding away. Driscoll then drifted back about 12 seconds, but still held a good lead over the fourth place Jacques-Maynes.
“I was successful in bridging up,” said Driscoll. “I can only imagine that they wanted to split up the race themselves. They were working well together. The gap remained steady until they started attacking each other and then it grew.”
Meanwhile, some of the pre-race favorites had a downward spiral of mishaps. Trebon dropped out with four laps to go because he was still aching from a crash the night before. And Jesse Anthony (Jamis) tumbled near the barriers and lost at least a dozen places.
For Powers, the stars were far from aligned. Several mechanicals prevented him from riding at his best. On a positive note, he said, “We come out here and work out the kinks, that’s all we could ask for.”
Heule and Page continued to share the work up front with two laps to go but the gap back to Driscoll never increased. With a lap to go third and fourth seemed to be in the bag for Driscoll and Jacques-Maynes, but the battle for the win was still heating up.
Heule led the race through the last lap, attempting to accelerate from his companion. With a few final corners remaining, Page attempted to get around the Swiss national champ but was shut down. In the final stretch Page came around Heule in a dominating fashion.
Heule will keep his NACT series leader jersey and Page moved up to second overall with Jacques-Maynes slotting into third. However, with Heule and Page heading back to Europe soon, those who stick around for the final weekend in November will determine the NACT series title.
Men’s Results: | Click for: (Women’s Results)
- 1. PAGE Jonathan (Planet Bike)
- 2. HEULE Christian (Rendementhypo Cycling Team)
- 3. DRISCOLL James (Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.Com)
- 4. JACQUES-MAYNES Andy (Bissell Pro Cycling)
- 5. JONES Christopher
- 6. PARBO Joachim (Ccv Leopard Cycles)
- 7. STEVENSON Russell (Benaroya Research Institute Cycling Team)
- 8. SHEPPARD Chris (Santa Cruz/Shimano/Wtb/Giro)
- 9. WICKS Barry (Kona)
- 10. IDDINGS Ryan (Lapierre USA)
- 11. TRACE Tyler (Trek Red Truck)
- 12. RICHEY Craig (Blue Competition Cycles P/B Neverblue)
- 13. BABCOCK (Sean Team S&M)
- 14. WELLS Jake (Mafiaracing.Com)
- 15. SCHMITT Morgan (Bissell Pro Cycling)
- 16. SCHOOLER Aaron (Team H&R Block-Kona)
- 17. BRADFORD Aaron
- 18. PETERSON Cody (Hutchs Bicycles)
- 19. BRADFORD-PARISH Kevin (Emdesports.Com)
- 20. FISHER Steve (Rad Racing/Hagens Berman)
- 21. NOILES Kevin (La Bicicletta Pro Shop)
- 22. YEATER Davy (River City Bicycles)
- 23. FERGUSON Jeremy
- 24. POWERS Jeremy (Cannondale/Cyclocrossworld.Com)
- 25. BERRY Josh
- 26. CURRY John (G.A.S./Intrinsik)
- 27. WETZEL Logan
- 28. PAXSON Spencer (Team S&M Young Guns)
- 29. WEIGHALL Nicholas (California Giant Berry Farms/Specialized)
- 30. BANNERMAN Nathan (Rad Racing/ Hagens Berman)
- 31. TERRY Ian (Rad Racing Nw/Hagens Berman)
- 32. HOLDEN Kristopher (Vertical Earth)
- 33. BLACKWELDER Mark
- 34. CARLILE Scotty (Tai Cycling/Genr8)
- 35. ADAMSON Shaun (Juventus)
- 36. LUELLING Brett (Capitol Subaru Cycling)
- 37. ANTHONY Jesse (Jamis)
- 38. HULICK Kevin (Vanilla Workshop)
- 39. WEAVER Ryan
- 40. MCGILVRAY Kyle (Old Town Bicycle)
- 41. DAVIS Matthew (Mad Duck/Momenta Training)
- 42. HILL Chris (Cucina Fresca)
- 43. BERRY Nick (Mighty Cycling)
- 44. FOX Matthew (Sunnyside Sports)
- 45. DODGE Ben (Sugar Crm)
- 46. WITTLER Matt (Lost Coast Brewery/Marin Bikes)
- 47. RAGUSA Christopher (Ccb Volkswagen)
- 48. WOODS Tim
- 49. WESSEL Joe (Kelowna Cycle United)
Women’s Results: | Click for: (Men’s Results)
- 1. BUTLER Sue (Monavie-Cannondale.Com)
- 2. DUNLAP Alison (Luna)
- 3. STUDLEY Kari (Velo Bella)
- 4. WYMAN Helen (Kona)
- 5. HOWE Barbara (Vanderkitten)
- 6. WILLIAMS Wendy (Hudz/Subaru)
- 7. GAERTNER Jenni (Vertical Earth)
- 8. PENNINGTON Alice (Veloforma)
- 9. MAZZA Rhonda (Team S&M)
- 10. VAN METER Emily (Hudz/Subaru)
- 11. CURRY Lisa (G.A.S./Intrinsik)
- 12. FARIS Megan
- 13. BERG Kristi (Redline Bicycles)
- 14. RILEY Jadine (Team Group Health)
- 15. GUYNUP Joele (Island Racing Club)
- 16. HOLDEN Shannon (Vanderkitten)
- 17. STRALKA Lea Byrne
- 18. BISHOP Serena (Sunnyside Sports)
- 19. SMITH Lee (Team Group Health)
- 20. BROWN Audrey (Team S&M)
- 21. ELLIOTT Megan (Black Mountain Bicycles)