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Editor’s note: This article was originally published in the December 2014 issue of Velo magazine, the annual awards issue.
Pick a number between one and three. That’s where Jeremy Powers (Rapha-Focus) finished 99 percent of the races he contested in the U.S. in the 2013-14 season.
Drop a chain in the first corner? No problem. Patiently slice through the entire field on the dusty track of Boulder’s reservoir course at the Colorado Cross Classic and finish up with a tidy second place.
Win New England worlds? Sure thing. Then win again, then again. He took all three races he started during “Holy Week” in New England, winning both days at the Gran Prix of Gloucester, then hitting day 2 at the Providence Cyclocross Festival and stamping his authority.
In all, Powers claimed 12 wins in 22 starts between StarCrossed in September and the North Carolina Grand Prix in December.
The cherry on top was a second national title at Valmont Bike Park in Boulder at the beginning of 2014, in convincing fashion.
But it only got better.
He was beaten to the line at CrossVegas 2014 by only two men — the god himself, Sven Nys, and the current World Cup champion, Lars van der Haar — in what proved to be a tactical battle, with one lethal attack on the final lap. It bodes well for Powers’ intention of focusing on World Cup races this season.
After racing in the desert, Powers set his sights on the domestic UCI races in the more traditional ’cross locales of New England. Before heading to Europe, he won eight straight races, including sweeping three of the four races at New England Holy Week, again.
At the World Cup opener, Powers cracked the top 10 for the second time in his career. If he keeps improving, we’ll soon be calling him the Katie Compton of men’s cyclocross. And there isn’t any higher accolade than that.