By Fred Dreier
Ryan Trebon (Kona) and Katerina Nash (Luna) took impressive solo victories at the opening day of the 2008 Crank Brothers U.S. Gran Prix of Cyclocross, at Champion’s Park in Louisville, Kentucky, on Saturday.
Trebon, 27, left no room to question who the strongest man was at the USGP opener as he sped away from the country’s fastest men on just the second of nine laps around the grassy former golf course. Jesse Anthony (Jamis) eventually joined the Kona rider on lap four, by Trebon proved too large an engine for the multiple-time junior and U23 champion, dropping Anthony for the win with two laps remaining.
“With four laps to go I knew — I could see [Anthony’s] body language that he was pretty tired,” Trebon said. “We rolled through the start/finish and he said ‘Oh man I really don’t have that much left.’ I told him to hang in there — and pull through.”
Anthony held on for second place — his best-ever finish at the USGP as an elite — and Jeremy Powers (Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com) out sprinted Troy Wells (Clif Bar) for third.
Chasing the Big Man
Less than 24-hours after greater Louisville was engulfed in a daylong rainstorm, sunshine and tacky course conditions greeted the hundreds of amateur and elites who toed the line at Champion’s Park. The course resembled the twisting, sand-pit laden course organizers used in 2007, however racers embarked on it backwards.
After a series of opening-lap accelerations, a front group established itself containing all of the major players of American cyclocross, minus Todd Wells (GT) and Jamie Driscoll (Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com), who languished behind. As the group rolled through the start/finish at the end of the opening lap, Matt Shriver (Jittery Joe’s) attacked on the pavement, and the move drew out the eager Trebon, who quickly dropped Shriver and built an early lead.
Anthony, who missed most of the season to a fractured wrist suffered at Superweek, wasn’t content to let the Kona rider ride off on his own. Anthony attacked away from the chase group containing Troy Wells, Jeremy Powers and Tim Johnson (both Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com), Barry Wicks (Kona).
Trebon said he cooled his jets to wait for Anthony’s company.
“I looked back and the gap from me to the group wasn’t getting any bigger or smaller, but the gap from [Anthony] to the group wasn’t getting smaller either,” Trebon said. “I thought maybe I could crack, so I wanted someone to sit on for at least three laps.”
Anthony wasted little time putting the Kona rider on his toes. The 24-year-old New Englander surged against Trebon for two laps, and gained a sizable gap when Trebon entered the mechanical pits for a bike change due to a faulty seat post.
“I knew [Trebon] wasn’t digging as deep as I was,” Anthony said. “But I wanted to put the pressure on him and try to get away.”
Anthony lost contact with Trebon on the seventh lap, but held on for second. His efforts earned him the $250 SRAM bonus for the most-aggressive rider.
Behind the duo the chase group surged and slowed with disorganization. Troy Wells and Powers took turns attacking, while national champ Tim Johnson dangled off the back. Wicks snapped his seat post and was dropped. Johnson, Todd Wells and Driscoll caught on, but the latter faded.
“It was painful no one wanted to pull — Jeremy saying ‘Dude it’s you!’ And me saying ‘Dude it’s you!’ back to him,” Johnson said. “I wasn’t on a good day.”
The battle for third place erupted on the final lap, with the Wells brothers going to the whip. But midway through the final lap Troy Wells and Powers tangled, sending Todd Wells and Johnson tumbling to the ground. Johnson’s leg became wedged between the elder Wells’ water bottle cage and his big chainring.
“I went to pick up my bike and [Johnson] was all ‘Aaaaaagh – Pull my leg out!’” Wells said. “We were just standing there looking at it and I was all ‘Dude, I’m not pulling your leg out of my bike!’ We eventually got it out.”
With his victory Trebon took early bragging rights in the rivalry between his Kona and Johnson’s respective Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com teams. The next battle is at the second U.S. Gran Prix round, held Sunday in Louisville.
After winning Saturday’s Papa John’s Derby Cup, Nash was asked to play out a hypothetical last-lap scenario. With just one lap remaining in the elite women’s race, Nash and Luna teammate Georgia Gould rode confidently at the front, having dropped the other women in the field. The stage was set for a Luna team showdown, until Gould clipped a pedal on a course marker and crashed, bending her front brake in the pileup and allowing Nash to roll in for the easy win.
So what if Gould hadn’t crashed — who would have won?
“It’s a tough call — I was feeling pretty strong today,” Nash said. “I would have had to try to get away on one of the corners or on a run up.”
Gould paid for her mishap — the bobble forced her to carry her broken rig into the tech pits for a bike swap, and she eventually remounted her rig just as Rachel Lloyd (California Giant Strawberry) sped by. Gould tried in vain to chase down the Californian, finishing third.
She offered a less equivocal answer.
“[Nash] probably would have [won], she was riding really fast,” Gould said. “[Nash] bridged from [Lloyd] up to me really quickly, she made it look easy.”
Luna vs. Everyone Else
Crowds were surprisingly small as the elite women took the line at 1:30 pm. Chilly morning temperatures, which forced the amateur riders to race in coats and tights, vanished as the sun rose higher in the sky, drying out the course.
The women sped out of the gate with Sue Butler (Monavie-Cannondale) and Maureen Bruno-Roy (Dansko Wheelworks) surging early with the Luna duo close behind. At the end of the opening lap the first selection had occurred, with Butler, Bruno, Nash, Gould and Lloyd making the front group, and Laura Van Gilder chasing in arrears with Deidre Winfield (Velo Bella) and Rebecca Wellons.
Nash surged to the front of the group, shedding Bruno-Roy. Additional attacks by Gould and Lloyd popped Butler on lap three. Lloyd, who finished second at the 2007 USA Cycling national championships, appeared aggressive in trying to shake the Luna duo, and momentarily escaped off the front with Nash.
“I really wanted to shake the group down, I didn’t want Sue or Mo in there with me,” Lloyd said. “I knew [Nash and Gould] were going to attack me when we got separated, so I decided to try and shake them.”
It was Gould who opened up what appeared to be the winning gap on the “Green Monster” flyover. The Luna rider surged to a 10-second advantage over Lloyd, with Nash content to ride the California’s wheel.
But on the final lap Nash sprung around Lloyd, who bobbled into the course tape, and gave chase to her teammate. The Czech rider caught Gould’s wheel in less than a quarter of a lap, setting the stage for a finish line drama.
But then Gould crashed.
“Luckily I just took myself out, and not Katerina too,” Gould said. “[Nash] turned around and said ‘are you okay?’”
Nash and Gould joked about the battle the final lap could have boiled into after receiving their prize cash. This year the USGP is paying equal prize cash to the top-three women and top-three men, meaning both winners took home $495 for their respective victories. Lloyd pocketed the $250 check for the SRAM most-aggressive rider.
“I would have dropped Georgia if she didn’t crash,” Nash joked with her teammate after the race. “And if I couldn’t take her out with physical strength, then I would have resorted to dirty tricks.”
? Nash has viewed cyclocross as a secondary sport since first picking up a ’cross bike in 2006. The Kentucky race marked only the second ’cross race of the season for Nash, who finished second at Cross Vegas. The Czech rider will try out elite European racing this season, and is heading to Europe for the November 9 World Cup in Pijnacker, the Netherlands, as well as the European cyclocross championships.
“I enjoy racing cyclocross, but I’ve never been too serious about racing it,” Nash said. “We hear so much about European racing, I just figured I’d give it a shot.”
? Adam McGrath (Van Dessell) was the top-finishing U23 man, with Joey Thompson (Specialized) and Luke Keough rounding out the top-three.
1. Ryan Trebon, Kona-YourKey.com
2. Jesse Anthony, Team Jamis Bikes
3. Jeremy Powers, Jelly Belly Pro Cycling
4. Troy Wells, Team Clif Bar
5. Todd Wells, Team GT
6. Timothy Johnson, Cyclocross Worlds.com
7. James Driscoll, FIORDIFRUTTA
8. Matt Shriver, Jittery Joe’s Pro Cycling Team
9. Barry Wicks, Kona
10. Andy Jacques-, California Giant Berry
11. Christopher Jones, Sonic-Louis Garneau
12. Brian Matter, Team Geargrinder
13. Mark Lalonde, PLANET BIKE
14. Jesse Lalonde, Planet Bike
15. Adam Mcgrath, Van Dessel
16. Joseph Thompson, Rocky Mountain Chocolate
17. Justin Lindine, TARGETRAINING- FASTAR
18. Nicholas Keough, Sakonnet Technology
19. Braden Kappius, Clif Bar Development Cross
20. Mitchell Peterson, Devo
21. Andrew Llewellyn, Calistoga Racing Team
22. William Dugan, RGM Watches-Richards Sachs-Boathouse Inc.
23. Derrick St. John, Stevens Cross
24. Ben Popper, HRS – Rock Lobster
25. Ben Raby, unattached
26. Grant Berry, Team Rocky Mtn Choc
27. Mike Sherer, Alderfer Bergen
28. Ryan Knapp, Alderfer Bergen
29. Dave Hackworthy, Bianchi-Grand Performance
30. Mike Purvis, Barbasol
31. Mitchell Kersting, Barbasol
32. Richard Visinski, Exodus Road Racing
33. Kip Spaude, nova-IScorp
34. Nathan Rice, Michelob Ultra-Big Shark
35. Michael Kennedy, Barbasol-Rapid Transit
36. Mark Batty, Team Race Pro
37. William Elliston, Fuji
38. Charles Totaro, Human Zoom – Pabst Blue
39. Joseph Schmalz, HRRC – Trek Stores
40. Greg Lewis, Directory Plus- Trek
41. Stephen Cummings, Indiana Regional Medical
42. John Grant, Texas Roadhouse Cycling
43. Nicholas Shaffer, Human Zoom- Pabst Blue
44. Andrew Reardon, Krystal
45. Nathanael Wyatt, Santa Cruz Bicycles-Carolina
46. Isaac Neff, Alderfer Bergen
47. Scott Ogilvie, Bare Knuckle Brigade
48. Brendan Shafer
49. Mitchell Graham, Bio Wheels Racing
50. Jeremy Ferguson, California Giant Berry
51. Scott Moro, Ohio Orthopedic-Moro Cycling
52. Aaron Hawkins, Chrysalis Ventures Cycling
53. William Street, Team Geargrinder
Did not Finish
Jeff Winkler, Bicycle Shock Racing
Daniel Estevez, Sakonnet Tech.
1. Katerina Nash, LUNA Women’s MTB Team
2. Rachel Lloyd, PROMAN Racing
3. Georgia Gould, LUNA Women’s MTB Team
4. Susan Butler, MonavieCannondale.com
5. Laura Van Gilder, C3 Sollay.com
6. Natasha Elliott, EMD Serono-Stevens
7. Deidre Winfield, Velo Bella – Kona
8. Maureen Bruno Roy, MM Racing
9. Devon Haskell, The Pony Shop
10. Rebecca Wellons, NEBC-Cycle Loft-Devonshire
11. Kristin Wentworth, Team Kenda Tire
12. Meredith Miller, Aaron’s Womens Pro Cycling
13. Josie Jacques-, California Giant Berry
14. Anne Schwartz, Flying Rhino Cycling Club
15. Anna Young, America’s Dairyland
16. Amy Wallace, RGM Watches – Richards Sachs – Boathouse Inc.Richard Sachs – RGM
17. Shannon Gibson, VeloBella
18. Maria Stewart, Velo Bella
19. Heidi Von, C3-ADG
20. Robin Williams, Mercy-Specialized
21. Nicole Borem, DRT Racing
22. Kristen Bowers, Atomic Race Team
23. Amanda Mckay, BioWheels-Reece-Campbell
24. Deb Whitmore, BMW-Bianchi
25. Christy Blakely, BMW-Bianchi
26. Marne Smiley27. Elicia Hildebrand, Gear Grinder
28. Jennifer Maxwell, Kenda Tire
29. Whitne Kroll, Cane Creek
Did not Finish
Amy Dombroski, Webcor-Alto Velo
Alie Kenzer, NEBC-Cycle Loft-Devonshire