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By Neal Rogers
The second day of UCI cyclocross racing in Boulder, Colorado, saw repeat scenarios develop as on Sunday, with an identical result in the women’s race and a new winner from the same podium finishers from Saturday’s men’s race.
In men’s racing, a lead group quickly formed containing Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com teammates Tim Johnson and Jeremy Powers, Ryan Trebon (Kona) and Saturday’s winner Todd Wells (GT).
After several laps Powers lost contact and would not see the front again. From the lead trio, Johnson attacked with two laps remaining, opening a sizeable gap. The national champion then soloed to the finish line well ahead of Wells, with an ailing Trebon, who came to Boulder fighting a flu bug, taking the final podium position.
As she had Sunday, Luna’s Georgia Gould ran away from the women’s field, opening a large gap over Saturday’s runner-up Rachel Lloyd. Gould’s gap over Lloyd was 16 seconds after two laps, 20 seconds after three laps, 33 seconds after four laps and nearly one minute by the final, seventh lap.
Gould’s impressive display, combined with Lloyd’s solid hold on second place, left little suspense for the crowd of nearly 3,000 spectators, making the battle for third place an exciting fight between Kerry Barnholt (Tokyo Joe’s), Ronda Mazza (Vanilla), Kelli Emmett (Giant), Amy Dombroski (Velo Bella) and Heather Irmiger (Subaru-Gary Fisher).
Emmett, who missed the final podium spot in a sprint on Saturday, broke free from a chase group to finish clear in third place.
After six of eight rounds of the North American Cyclocross Trophy (NACT), series leaders Trebon and Dombroski maintained their respective overall leads.
Johnson crowned the King of Day Two
Under balmy conditions, a field of national-level and amateur racers changed venues from the Boulder Reservoir to Harlow Platts Park in South Boulder. With Boulder’s iconic Flatirons in the background, the Boulder Cup course utilized the hilly, grassy bowl of the park as well as a pair of adjacent sand volleyball courts. The course was changed from years past, with its long, straight power sections halved, adding significantly more turns per lap.
As with Saturday, Trebon, Johnson, Wells, Powers and Jonathan Baker (Vitamin Cottage) formed the race’s initial selection. However Baker was dropped by the second lap, and was joined, and then passed, by Jamis rider Jesse Anthony.
At the front Powers was gapped off by the third of 10 laps with Trebon setting a blistering pace. One lap later Wells lost contact following the sand pit section, however the GT rider valiantly clawed his way back to the front.
Johnson also lost his place with the leaders with four laps to go when he bobbled in the sand and dropped his chain, losing “30 bike lengths,” and leaving just Trebon and Wells at the front.
“The sand sections were crucial,” Johnson said. “If you went through them perfectly, you could gain five seconds. If you had a problem, you could lose five seconds.”
Within a lap Johnson caught back on, and before the leaders came through the start/finish with two laps remaining, he attacked and opened a small gap that quickly stretched out to a winning margin as Wells and Trebon appeared powerless to respond.
“I was hoping Ryan was going to pull us back on the (start/finish) pavement,” said Wells, who returned to national-level ’cross racing later this season than his rivals. “I don’t have too many speeds yet. I can’t ‘up it’ a lot. I can bring it up and keep it up, but it’s hard to close a good gap.”
What had once looked like it would come down to a three-man sprint suddenly blew apart into three solo riders. As Wells gave chase, a clearly suffering Trebon, the only man not to have been gapped off from the lead prior to Johnson’s move, fought solely to hold his third-place position.
Johnson finished with a near 30-second lead; Wells, who was clearly the strongest rider Saturday, said the strongest man had again won on Sunday.
“Tim was the strongest today,” Wells said. “He rode a great race.”
Assessing his competitors, Johnson said, “I knew Ryan’s punches weren’t as strong, or as long, as usual. Todd was at the front a lot, and I thought he was strong enough to get a gap. They were sort of racing together, but the lesson I learned yesterday was that no one was that fast in the final laps. If you could open a gap, you were just as likely to hold it. We were very evenly matched, but I didn’t want to end up in a sprint against Ryan. I saw a chance and figured I would take whack at it.”
Trebon, whose hoarse voice and puffy, red face continued to reveal the heavy congestion of his illness, said, “I felt okay for the first half of the race, but with three laps to go I just sort of fell apart. There was nothing I could do. The move went and I couldn’t keep up. It wasn’t a fun day. The last two laps I was hurting so much. But to be on the podium both days isn’t too bad, considering how sick I’ve been.”
With Johnson’s win, he is quickly becoming the king of second-day racing at weekend cyclocross events. The national champion has also registered UCI ’cross wins on Sundays in Seattle and Louisville this season.
Gould beats all comers for a second day
As she had on Saturday, Gould went to the front early and rode away from the field, leaving many to wonder how well she might fare in the elite men’s field. Gould said that although she had what appeared to be an insurmountable lead, she’s raced ’cross enough to know it’s never over until the finish line.
“You always have to keep the person in second place in mind,” Gould said. “But more than anything, I was just trying to have a good, hard race. This time of year, most of my training comes from racing. It was a punchy course, not much flat, just up and down all day. It was definitely trying on my lower back and upper body.”
Gould said her ultimate goal this season is to win the national championships, which injured rider Katie Compton has won for four years running. Gould added that she was no plans to race ’cross in Europe this season, but might attend the world championships if she takes the national title.
Lloyd had little to say about her second consecutive second-place ride — better than everyone but Gould, who was in a league of her own.
“I thought I might be able to ride with Georgia a little longer, but she’s just so strong,” Lloyd said. “I rode as hard as I could. She rode away from me. The fact that it’s a hilly course didn’t help me. You can’t fake it on the hills.”
Emmett said her improved performance Sunday came from a better starting position. Though she didn’t receive a call-up Saturday, after the race she mentioned UCI points received at Cross Vegas to race officials, who brought her to the line ahead of those without points on Sunday. On the fourth lap, following the sand pits, Emmett left Irmiger, Barnholt and Mazza for good. It was Emmett’s first-ever UCI cyclocross podium.
Gould said although she was happy to walk away with a pair of wins this weekend, she would have preferred to have raced against Katie Compton, who is injured but was in the crowd as a spectator.
“I want all the strongest people here,” Gould said. “I want to race against the best all the time, but you just have to race against who shows up.”
? Just below his neck, race winner Tim Johnson’s skinsuit reads “For Dad.” Johnson’s father, Roger, passed away suddenly in March due to cardiac arrest at the age of 63.
“He was always very proud of what I’ve been able to accomplish in cycling, and followed me every chance he got,” Johnson said.
? Women’s race winner Georgia Gould offered congratulations to her Luna teammate Katerina Nash, who finished third Sunday at the European cyclocross championship, 13 seconds behind winner Hanka Kupfernagel but ahead of 2003 world champion Daphny Van Den Brand.
Boulder Cup, Pro Men
1. Tim Johnson, Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com, 1:01:22
2. Todd Wells, Team GT, at 0:28
3. Ryan Trebon, Kona, at 0:56
4. Jeremy Powers, Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com, at 1:45
5. Jesse Anthony, Jamis, at 2:06
6. Chris Sheppard, Santa Cruz, at 3:02
7. Troy Wells, Clif Bar, at 3:08
8. Erik Tonkin, Kona, at 3:10
9. Tim Heemskerk, United Cycle Racing, at 3:31
10. Kevin Bradford-Parish, Redlinebikes.com, at 3:31
11. Barry Wicks, Kona, at 3:58
12. Joey Thompson, Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, at 4:07
13. Alex Howes, Clif Bar, at 4:14
14. Russell Stevenson, Benaroya, at 4:22
15. Matt Shriver, Jittery Joe’s, at 4:32
16. Colin Cares, Clif Bar, at 5:24
17. Brent Prenzlow, Celo Pacific, at 5:35
18. Travis Brown, Trek, at 5:44
19. Paul Brooks, Newton Running, at 6:03
20. Robert Squire, Devo, at 6:35
21. Greg Krause, Primal Wear, at 6:48
22. Matt Pacocha, VeloNews, at 7:10
23. Chance Noble, California Berry Farms, at 7:44
24. Mitch Hoke, Clif Bar, 1 lap
25. Bryan Alders, Monaviecannondale.com, 1 lap
26. Greg Lewis, Directory, 1 lap
27. Nat Ross, Subaru-Gary Fisher, 1 lap
28. Justin Robinson, California Berry Farms, 1 lap
29. Aaron Bouplon, Rocky Mountain, 1 lap
30. Andrew Llewellyn, Calistoga, 1 lap
31. Jon Tarkington, Vitamin Cottage, 2 lap
32. Joshua Johnson, Big Shark, 2 lap
33. Spencer Powlison, Mafia , 2 lap
34. Jake Wells, Mafiaracing.com , 2 lap
35. Allen Krughoff, Rio Grande , 2 lap
36. Kurt Refsnider, Fort, 2 lap
37. Chad Melis, Dales, 2 lap
38. Kevin Mullervy, Clif Bar, 2 lap
39. Chris Parrish, Hagens, 2 lap
40. John Phillips, Colorado Multisport, 2 lap
41. Ben Raby, Kccx-Verge, 2 lap
42. Nicholas Stevens, Waltworks/fuentesdesign, 3 laps
43. Michael Hosey, Soulcraft, 3 laps
44. Brett Morgan, Mafia, 3 laps
45. Alister Ratcliff, Fior, 3 laps
46. Blake Harlan, Unattached, 3 laps
47. Bryan Mickiewicz, Unattached, 3 laps
48. Corey Piscopo, Moots, 3 laps
49. Joshua Berry, Team Bode, 4 laps
50. Shawn Harshman, Harshman Wealth, 4 laps
51. Logan Garey, Rio Grande, 4 laps
52. Chris Peterson, Monaviecannondale.com, 4 laps
53. Troy Kilgore, Boulder Cycle Sport, 4 laps
54. Darian Founds, Unattached, 4 laps
55. Darryn Biggerstaff, Unattached, 4 laps
56. Daniel Matheny, Mafia, 4 laps
57. Connor Sallee, Crca, 4 laps
58. Dustin Wanstrath, Tamarack, 5 laps
59. Joseph Brenner, Echelon, 6 laps
60. Chad Cheeney, Durango Devo, 6 laps
DNF Jonathan Baker, Vitamin Cottage
DNF Christopher Pietrzak, Porcupine/specialized
DNF Tim Allen, Waste Management
DNF Grant Berry, Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory
DNF Jeff Courter, Horizon
DNF Jesse Dekrey, Unattached
DNF Jesse Giordano, Nob Hill Velo
DNF Jason Hilimire, Gary
DNF Brady Kappius, Clif Bar
DNF Eric Moore, Aradd
Boulder Cup, Pro Women
1. Georgia Gould, Luna, 49:01
2. Rachel Lloyd, California Giant Berry Farms, at 1:04
3. Kelli Emmett, Giant, at 2:58
4. Kerry Barnholt, Tokyo Joe’s, at 3:10
5. Heather Irmiger, Subaru/Gary Fisher, at 3:10
6. Rhonda Mazza, Team S&M, at 3:31
7. Meredith Miller, California Giant Berry Farms, at 3:31
8. Lisa Strong, Tough Girl, at 4:31
9. Judy Freeman, Tough Girl, at 5:21
10. Sarah Kerlin, Hrs/Rock Lobster, at 5:28
11. Kris Walker, Kriegcycling.com, at 5:38
12. Amy Dombroski, Velo Bella-Kona, at 5:52
13. Anna Young, Planet Bike, at 7:02
14. Sarah Maile, Ventana, at 7:05
15. Becca Blay, Mafia, at 7:45
16. Brenda Moczygemba, Tough Girl, 1 lap
17. Shannon Gibson, Velo Bella-Kona, 1 lap
18. Amanda Miller, Mesa, 1 lap
19. Lindsey Bishop, Mafia, 1 lap
20. Kate Scheider, Mafia, 1 lap
21. Jennifer Tilley, Velo Bella-Kona, 2 laps
22. Susan Prieto, Blue Sky Velo, 2 laps
23. Maria Stewart, Velo Bella-Kona, 2 laps
24. Lynn Bush, Tough Girl, 2 laps
25. Alie Kenzer, Rgm, 2 laps
26. Kacey Manderfield, Verducci/Breakaway, 3 laps
DNF. Kari Studley, Velo Bella-Kona
DNF Andi Burnum, Tough Girl
DSQ Kathy Sherwin, Velo Bella-Kona