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Cyclocross

Every man for himself at the USGP finale

The final round of the 2009 US Gran Prix of Cyclocross hits Oregon this weekend at the Stanley Portland Cup and the elite men and women’s fields will be competitive as ever. The competition returns to the Portland International Raceway on a course that includes sections of motocross track.

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The final round of the 2009 US Gran Prix of Cyclocross hits Oregon this weekend at the Stanley Portland Cup and the elite men and women’s fields will be competitive as ever. The competition returns to the Portland International Raceway on a course that includes sections of motocross track.

In 2008, Tim Johnson (Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com) took home the win in dry conditions on the first day and Ryan Trebon (Kona-FSA) won in muddy conditions on the following day and Johnson walked away with the overall series title. Luna’s Katerina Nash scored back-to-back wins at the 2008 edition, which helped to solidify her overall USGP series lead — and this year is shaping out to be no different.

The 2009 elite women’s USGP series title is no longer a battle for first, as Nash leads by a hefty margin over her teammate Georgia Gould. However, Amy Dombroski (Primus Mootry-Schlamm) only trails Gould by 24 points and leads Alison Dunlap (Luna) by 24 points — so these three women have a very good chance of mixing up their overall standings.

No predictions – except for speed

The elite men’s battle for the overall USGP title is a bit harder to predict than the women’s. Trebon, the current cyclocross national champion, leads the series but he only has a 30-point buffer over Jamey Driscoll (Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com), the surprise runner-up at 2008 nationals. This presents an interesting situation for the Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com boys—do they ride for Driscoll to get the overall win or do they capitalize on good form and hunt individual podium finishes?

“Winning (the series) is super important but we have to take those races one day at a time,” says Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com rider Jeremy Powers. “If James is there (fitness-wise), Tim and I are going to be looking out for him.”

Unlike road racing, it’s harder to “protect” the team captain in order to deliver him or her to the finish line first. The Cannondale-cyclocrossworld.com boys can take turns attacking Trebon, but there is no knowing which of these attacks will stick and whether or not they’ll be able to topple the tall Kona rider.

Three-time series winner Trebon concedes, “It’s harder when you’re racing against a team with three fast people.” The outcome of the race entirely rests on Trebon’s shoulders, which means it’s up to him to cover attacks, and by the numbers, he’s got fewer matches to burn than the Cannondale-cyclocrossworld.com team.

More players

However, it may not just be a race between Trebon and the men in green and black — Todd Wells (Specialized) is coming into form late in the season after taking care of a nagging injury. Despite the time off, he proved that he has podium pedigree, despite setbacks, at the second day of the Mercer Cup in New Jersey where he finished third. He also went three-for-three at the Jingle Cross Rock UCI races in Iowa.

“I hope Todd is riding well,” says Trebon. “The more people at the front — the less responsibility I have to cover Cannondale.”

At the end of the day, it’s all about getting the big “W,” whether it means helping out a teammate or going solo.

“The last man standing is going to win,” says Powers, frankly. “I tell you that I hope to help my teammate out — I hope that James can launch an attack and win and if I can do that then that’s fantastic—but the gloves are off this weekend.”

“I love these races,” says Powers. “This is the best part of the U.S. cyclocross season. So many guys are still so hungry — I can’t think of a better way to say it — the gloves are off. A lot of these guys haven’t had the season that they wanted so it’s going to be an absolute slaughter fest … It’s going to be blistering fast.”

Current Overall USGP Standings

Previous USGP of Cyclocross Overall Titles:

2008

Men: 1. Tim Johnson; 2. Ryan Trebon; 3. Todd Wells

Women: 1. Katerina Nash; 2. Georgia Gould; 3. Rachel Lloyd

2007

Men: 1. Ryan Trebon; 2. Tim Johnson; 3. Barry Wicks

Women: 1. Georgia Gould; 2. Alison Sydor; 3. Lyne Bessette

2006

Men: 1. Ryan Trebon; 2. Tim Johnson; 3. Barry Wicks

Women: 1. Lyne Bessette; 2. Georgia Gould; 3. Katerina Nash

2005

Men: 1. Barry Wicks; 2. Tim Johnson; 3. Mark McCormack

Women: 1. Lyne Bessette; 2. Wendy Simms; 3. Barb Howe

2004

Men: 1. Ryan Trebon; 2. Geoff Kabush; 3. Adam Craig

Women: 1. Ann Knapp; 2. Gina Hall; 3. Rhonda Mazza

Weekend Schedule

Friday, December 4th 3:30 – 4:30 pm
Clif Bar Kids’ Cross Clinic—registration is free and limited to the first 30 kids ages 10-16 on BikeReg.com

Friday Night Numbers Ceremony
Location: Hopworks Urban Brewery, 2944 SE Powell Blvd., Portland, OR 97202
Number Pick Up for SATURDAY ONLY in all pre-registered categories 6:00 pm to 8:00pm

Saturday and Sunday
8:00am – Racing begins for the amateurs
1:45pm – Elite Women
3:00pm – Elite Men