On Day two of the Sun Prairie USGP, the weather cleared up and sunny skies greeted racers as they took to the course. A catastrophic crash in the men’s 35+ race canceled the race directly before the women’s race, allowing for more course inspection time, but a sober mood throughout the crowd.
Katie Compton Seizes Control of USGP Series
In the women’s race, Caroline Mani of Raleigh-Clement snagged the holeshot, closely followed by Gabby Day of Rapha-Focus and Mani’s teammate Nicole Duke.
Within a lap, Katie Compton had again created a gap on the field, and was chased just seconds back by the Rapha-Focus duo of Julie Krasniak and Day, as well as Duke, with Meredith Miller of Cal Giant close behind.
Compton opened more of a gap by the time the racers crossed the finish with four to go, but Krasniak was chasing hard. Unlike yesterday’s race, the riders were spread out and riding solo near the front, and Day, Miller and Duke all separately chased back to the leader. Georgia Gould was farther back but again, steadily moving up along with Katie Antonneau and three other riders.
Day and Krasniak connected within the next half lap, and began to work together to reel in the current National Champion, but Compton increased her lead to 20 seconds. Gould rode hard, chasing up to Duke, as Meredith Miller closed on the Rapha-Focus riders. Mical Dyck chased to join the Duke and Gould group, and made contact by midway through lap three, along with Gould’s teammate from Luna, TeaL Stetson Lee.
Compton showed her technical prowess, sailing through the end of lap three looking smooth with a large lead. Gould separated herself from the group behind Miller, Day and Krasniak and went after the three, mirroring her performance from the day before.
The hard, bumpy ground gave racers pause, and it was apparent from how the women were positioning themselves above the saddles that the hard-packed ground was indeed a challenge over the course of the race.
Krasniak cleared the two racers, with Miller close behind and Day giving chase. Gould, sitting in fifth, was hammering away behind, gunning for the front runners. Heading into two to go, Gould made contact with Day and Miller and Stetson-Lee were chasing, with Dyck and Duke a few seconds behind them.
Compton’s lead only increased as the race progressed, and Krasniak maintained second spot, with Day and Gould chasing close behind and Miller nipping at their heels. Gould and Day were closing on Krasniak as they went into one to go.
Gould caught Krasniak in the last lap and hammered by, trying to create a separation. Within the last lap, she successfully pulled away, and soloed to a second place finish over a minute behind Compton. Krasniak rolled in to complete the podium, followed by Day, Miller and Stetson-Lee.
Fluckinger Rallies for the Win
Yesterday’s winner, Jeremy Powers (Rapha-Focus) quickly took control of the race, heading to the front in the first lap. Behind him was Jonathan Page, and trailing him was nearly the entire field in one, strung out line, with all of the standard race favorites in the top slots. Yesterday’s third place finisher Lukas Fluckinger (Trek World Racing) took the lead as they rolled into the finish in a blazing fast 6:07 lap, with Page on his wheel and Powers sitting in fourth spot, seconds back.
On what was a run up for all but a few racers in other categories proved to be a ride up for nearly all the men, especially the top ten, who crested the steps with ease. Chris Jones elected to run, losing a spot to Ryan Trebon. Page took control of the front going into the third lap, with Fluckinger hot on his heels and the rest of the chase group only bike lengths back. Fluckinger and Page continued their push to create a separation, and were chased by Jones, who was unaffected by his decision to run the run up, as well as Trebon. Behind them, Ben Berden chased, and as they came halfway through the lap, Flcukinger had created a solo separation and the riders behind him were chasing hard as a group. Behind the main chase group rode Powers and Johnson, chasing hard.
In the U23 race, similar to yesterday, Zach McDonald was far ahead of Yannick Eckmann in second for the u23 race.
Fluckinger increased his lead to six seconds by three laps in, and the groups had spread out quickly over the course of the first few laps. With a drier course and more power sections, gaps and separations were maximized. Powers seized the lead of the chase group, and put in an attack to catch the Swiss National MTB champion. However, Chris Jones and Ryan Trebon held control of the chase group, trading places in the front.
The lead group made contact with Fluckinger, and Trebon, Jones and Berden caught him on the north end of the course. By the ride up, the group was joined by Powers and Johnson with six laps to go.
Trebon seized the lead and pushed the pace, with Fluckinger and Powers close behind. At the halfway point of the race, Trebon and Fluckinger had created a slight separation, with Powers chasing hard, looking focused at the top of the run-up. He was followed by Jones and Berden, with Johnson and Page behind, as well as Jamey Driscoll, who was working hard to make contact with the group.
Jones crossed the gap, joining Fluckinger and Trebon at the front, with Berden and Powers chasing hard to reestablish contact. After the run-up, the three leaders had broken apart, with seconds between each, and Powers chasing hard behind. Page and Johnson worked hard to catch back to Berden, who was shaking his head going through the finish line.
Fluckinger and Trebon developed a 10 second lead on Jones and Powers, who were separated by a large gap from Johnson and Berden, who were chased by Page. Trebon and Fluckinger worked together, opening an even larger gap on Jones, who in turn, was building a larger gap to Powers, but Powers closed the gap in the run-up as they rolled into two laps to go. Far behind was Johnson with Berden on his wheel, followed by Driscoll, with Page farther back as he rolled through the finish.
McDonald still controlled the U23 race just behind Page, with Eckmann not much farther back.
Fluckinger attacked as they rolled into one to go, and Trebon was chasing hard with Powers, who passed Jones, seconds behind with Jones chasing hard trying to regain the podium spot. Well behind was Johnson chased by Berden, with Driscoll soloing behind but now fully separated from Page, who had a mechanical which forced him to the pit.
Fluckinger built his gap in the last lap, and soloed in for the win. Trebon high-fived the crowd as he took second place, and Powers came in for third place, with Jones in fourth and Johnson in fifth.
In the u23 race, Zach McDonald took top honors, as well as a top ten in the overall race, followed by Yannick Eckmann and Evan McNeely.
Interview with Teal Stetson-Lee and Georgia Gould: