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Jeremy Powers stages miraculous comeback to win day 2 of 2011 New Belgium Cup

Jeremy Powers (Rapha-Focus) staged a marvelous comeback to beat Ryan Trebon (LTS-Felt) on day two of the New Belgium Cup on Sunday in Fort Collins.

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2011 Exergy USGP, New Belgium Cup day 2
Powers staged a late-race comeback. Photo: Wil Matthews
FORT COLLINS, Colo. (VN) – Jeremy Powers (Rapha-Focus) staged a marvelous comeback on Sunday to beat Ryan Trebon (LTS-Felt) on day two of the New Belgium Cup in Fort Collins. Powers fought back from a crash in the same corner that dogged him Saturday to distance the Exergy U.S. Grand Prix of Cyclocross series leader on the final lap.

Powers took the holeshot for the second day in a row, riding the railroad-tie climb ahead of Geoff Kabush (Maxxis-Rocky Mountain) with Trebon in third.

Then Kabush took the lead going into the flyover and really opened it up, taking a slight gap into the barriers.

At the advice of his coach, Rick Crawford, Powers backed off in the opening lap.

“He wanted me to relax a little bit at the beginning, being at altitude. That was really important for me because yesterday I did put myself in the box a little bit and found out later that that did not leave me with good legs,” said Powers. “I hadn’t gone bananas, just enough to stay out of trouble.”

A four-man lead group formed up briefly before Chris Jones (Rapha-Focus) decided to take a flyer. Trebon gave chase, wearing the green series leader’s jersey, with Powers on his wheel and Kabush slightly off the back.

“He attacked and I said, ‘Go. Just go!’ He got a big, big gap and Ryan had to close that down,” said Powers. “It’s nice to have a teammate to mess things up.”

Trebon had slashed the gap by the barriers and at the pits he was on Jones, with Powers locked to the big man’s wheel.

At the railroad-tie climb Powers moved forward and rode as Trebon ran, and the Rapha rider took a slight advantage. He built that advantage on the descent, taking perhaps five seconds on Trebon as they snaked along the sinuous circuit.

“When Chris did that big, big attack, that helped so much,” said Powers. “I just hung on to Ryan’s wheel and when we got to the start-finish I whaled Ryan as hard as I could going through the run-up. That put a lot of pressure on him.”

Next time through the barriers Trebon seemed to be closing on the leader, with Kabush just behind him in third but losing ground 20 minutes into the hourlong race.

But Powers kept the pedal to the metal and held onto a six-second advantage with five laps to go. Kabush followed in third some 12 seconds later.

“That was the first time that I think (Trebon’s) been in trouble in a while,” said Powers.

And then Powers had a miscue on the downside, crashing in the high-speed, downhill left turn that sent him to the ground yesterday – and one of two days here in 2010.

“I don’t know what it is,” he said. “It’s like Kryptonite corner out there.”

Trebon shot past, leading into the chicanes. Suddenly it was the series leader with a half-dozen seconds in hand as he hit the flyover, and Kabush closing in on Powers at the barriers.

“I punched it to try and put some time into him because we were riding the same speed,” said Trebon. “He was gaining two or three seconds in the barriers and in the uphill. I would come back to him and then he would go again, so I got a gap and just tried to go for it.”

Four laps to go and Trebon led Powers by 10 seconds, but the Rapha rider was not giving up. He kept riding the railroad ties, riding the barriers, and hoping to shut the gap.

But Trebon was holding firm to his 10 seconds as he hit the pavement with three laps to go, while Kabush hung tight to a similar deficit on Powers.

Until the leader hit two laps to go — Powers had clawed back three or four seconds, and as Trebon hit the chicanes he was looking over his shoulder. Trebon seemed tired, but so did Powers, and the Rapha rider was running out of course.

“Sometimes your legs are good, but not great,” said Trebon. “I was just suffering on those last couple laps. My legs just didn’t have any more.”

Still, at the barriers Powers had cut further into Trebon’s advantage. At the pits he was just seconds behind the big man. And at the bell lap the two were just three seconds apart.

Then, after the railroad tie-run, they were together. Trebon still held the lead at the chicanes, but he was looking cooked. When Powers sensed the moment in the long straightaway at the pits, with a half lap remaining, he jumped.

“He was closing on me and in those last two or three seconds I just sat up and tried to conserve a little bit,” said Trebon. “When he came by I thought, ‘Just stay on his wheel, stay on his wheel. Get to the finish line and have a shot,’ but I just didn’t have anything.”

Powers opened up a couple of bike lengths on the descent, tripodding around the sweeping corners, and pushed hard up the two-track dirt road climb to the barriers. He led into the barriers by four seconds, getting off to run for the first time.

“I could hear the people screaming,” said Powers. “I knew in my head that that was the moment I had to just bury it. I just went bananas. I was just in tunnel vision. I couldn’t breathe, I can’t breathe up here. I couldn’t go any harder, I had nothing left in my legs.”

The race appeared to be coming down to the pavement and a sprint to the line, but Trebon was cooked.

Unwilling to chance a sprint, Powers gave it all he had, pushing ahead on the final pass of the pits, and Trebon finally cracked.

“He put his chips down early and I holstered mine,” said Powers. “That was the moment that I got him and he didn’t attack. I knew if he responded he had something left, but he sat up and I knew he was blown.”

Powers hit the pavement first, Trebon out of sight, and sailed across the line, beaming, one hand in the air, just a second or so ahead of the series leader. Kabush trailed in for third, while Tristan Schouten (ISCorp) nipped Tim Johnson (Cannondale) for fourth.

“I’m just really, really happy to win today. It’s an incredible win today because Ryan’s been really dominant all year,” said Powers. “I’ve been getting more and more pissed… I’ve trained hard and I’m ready to go, but I just haven’t come up with the win, just a bunch of second, third and fourth places.

“To get this one today, when everyone’s firing on all cylinders, at altitude, I’m really happy with that.”

Stay tuned for photos.

Quick results

  • 1. Jeremy Powers, (USA) Rapha-Focus, at 56:02:00
  • 2. Ryan Trebon, (USA) LTS-Felt, at 3
  • 3. Geoff Kabush, (CAN) Team Maxxis-Rocky Mountain, at 51
  • 4. Tristan Schouten, (USA) IS Corp, at 1:10
  • 5. Timothy Johnson, (USA) Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com, at s.t.

Complete results