FORT COLLINS, Colo. (VN) – Ryan Trebon (LTS-Felt) won a power-rider’s race on Saturday during day one of the New Belgium Cup in Fort Collins. The win came after Trebon spent the morning warm and drying, opting out of the traditional pre-ride on Saturday morning.
The fast-starting Jeremy Powers (Rapha-Focus) snatched the $250 SRAM holeshot, distancing the Trebon-led field as the Exergy U.S. Gran Prix of Cyclocross came back to Colorado.
Powers then took his gap and built it into a substantial lead going into the flyover. Ben Berden (Ops Ale-Stoemper) had moved into second, but soon Trebon had regained the No. 2 spot, with Berden fading. Geoff Kabush (Maxxis-Rocky Mountain), Jamey Driscoll (Cannondale- Cyclocrossworld.com), Troy Wells (Clif Bar) and the surprise of the day, 17-year-old Yannick Eckmann (Pearl Izumi-Focus) were all in the mix behind the leaders.
Trebon reconnoitered the track Friday afternoon in the dry, dusty afternoon, but didn’t take a second ride on Saturday after the rain started, opting instead for two hours on the trainer. The Oregonian has been on a tear lately, however, and his near-blind run wasn’t missing much in the way of speed.
“It took me a few laps to find my rhythm out there,” Trebon told VeloNews.
Two men missing from the front were Tim Johnson (Cannondale) and Chris Jones (Rapha). Johnson had a bad day, eventually finishing 13th, and Jones made his way through a treacherously slick course in his first ’cross race of the season.
“There’s no need for any candlelight vigils. I got my ass handed to me by a whole number of individuals who are flying and I’m not. It’s definitely hard to try and deal with that,” Johnson told VeloNews. “I was hoping to be better today than I was.”
Despite the sloppy conditions Powers managed to ride the long run-up on the second lap, one of the only riders to do so, then bobbled in a slippery S-turn and Trebon closed on him as the two cleared the flyover.
“I figured in the first lap I would take it easy and follow,” Trebon told VeloNews. “I was able to come back to him pretty fast and I just kind of stayed with him a little bit.”
On a long backside climb Trebon moved to the front and gave it some throttle going through the start-finish line. Kabush gave the chase group the slip with his top-notch mud skills and was a handful of seconds behind in third. Driscoll followed suit soon after and made his way into a solid fourth position.
Once again Powers rode the run-up as Trebon ran it, but the two men remained locked together. Then, about 20 minutes into the race, the big man finally put some daylight between himself and Powers, throwing one leg or the other out for balance as he slalomed through the slippery corners.
“I made a couple of small mistakes today,” Power told VeloNews. “I wouldn’t say they rode me off their wheels. I made a few mistakes and that’s for me to deal with.”
Trebon held a six-second advantage with four laps to go. Powers had brought him back by the flyover and stayed within a few bike lengths on the backside of the sloppy course.
With three laps to go it appeared to be anyone’s race. Again Powers rode the run-up as Trebon ran, neither man getting an advantage. But by the flyover Trebon had begun to overpower his rival in on the mud-slathered, wind-whipped course.
“This wasn’t a great course for me. It was really slimy out there, but it was ok,” said Trebon. “I could ride what I wanted to and felt pretty comfortable. I was never really under pressure.”
Powers bobbled, hung a lever in the course tape and put a knee down and a lap later Trebon had a solid 10 seconds. When Trebon saw the gray daylight behind him, he hit the accelerator.
“I put one really hard effort on him and I got a gap and just started punching away at it and punching away at it,” said Trebon. “He was handling the bike pretty well, but I was definitely hurting him on the climbs. I could just stand up and if I wanted to go faster, I could go faster. It felt good.”
As the big man hit the barriers Powers was nowhere in sight — Kabush had moved into second, with Powers slipping to third.
Bell lap: Trebon was alone, mashing through the mud. Kabush and Powers were racing for second, separated by about 10 seconds.
Trebon had time to high-five spectators on both sides of the finish line as he took the win.
Kabush followed suit, 23 seconds later. He had hoped a late surge would overcome, Trebon, but it was not to be.
“My hope was to kind of control it and ride up and attack them,” said Kabush. “I was able to do that the last little bit, but Ryan had more in the gas tank and I couldn’t quite close it down on him.”
Powers made what he expected to be a lemon of a day into lemonade and crossed for third at 58 seconds back.
“Today was crazy because it was altitude, in conditions that I don’t love. It was not my perfect ideal scenario, and I did the best I could,” he said. “I have to be happy with third.”
Driscoll trailed in for fourth, while Eckmann jumped away from Wells and Chris Sheppard (Rocky Mountain) for fifth – his best USGP result and first for the U23 division.
The first words out of Eckmann’s mouth at the finish: “Oh, man, it feels great.”
USGP-New Belgium Cup, day 1
- 1. Ryan Trebon, (USA) LTS, 56:07:00
- 2. Geoff Kabush, (CAN) Team Maxxis-Rocky Mountain, at 24
- 3. Jeremy Powers, (USA) Rapha-Focus, at 58
- 4. James Driscoll, (USA) Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com, at 2:08
- 5. Yannick Eckmann, (GER) Pearl Izumi-Shimano, s.t.