September 26th, 2009 – (Sun Prairie, WI) The USGP of Cyclocross raced in Sun Prairie, WI today under beautiful sunny skies and warm weather. The racing for the inaugural USGP Planet Bike Cup was fast and aggressive from the gun.
After suffering from a crash in Wednesday’s Cross Vegas, all eyes were on Luna’s Katerina Nash to see if she could hold on to the frantic pace of Katie Compton (Planet Bike). The Planet Bike Cup set the stage for another battle between the heads of the American cyclocross state. For a few laps, it looked like Nash would prove again to be a close equal to Compton, but Compton clearly had other plans.
On a course where power and technical skills were of equal merrit, Compton and Nash seemed to be about equal in terms of straight line speed, but Compton’s unparalleled technical skills proved to be a difference maker. Nash did her best to hang on to Compton’s wheel as long as she could, but Compton persistantly openened up gaps through the course’s technical sections. Inches turned into feet, and before too long, Compton had shed Nash as she powered away to extend her gap. Compton cruised across the line, putting 38 seconds between herself and Nash,who took home the silver medal.
Behind Compton and Nash, Georgia Gould (Luna) was on her own desperately chasing the leading duo. Gould would continue to lose time as the meters ticked away. Behind her, a group of four formed that included Alison Sydor (Rocky Mountain-Maxxis), Amy Dombroski (Richard Sachs-RGM Watches-Radix), Sue Butler (Monavie-Cannondale.com) and Deidre Winfield (C3 Athletes Serving Athletes). Sydor had started her race quickly, coming through the first few turns of the race on the wheels of Nash and Compton. Possibly starting too quickly, Sydor faded back a bit but clawed her way back into the group riding for fourth place. The group stayed together for much of the race, before it was Dombroski who put in a string of attacks on the final lap of the race to distance her chase group, a gap she would hold to the finish.
Sydor continued to ride well, often chosing to ride up the vicious run up that was the most feared feature on the course, and was also able to gap her chase group to finish fifth. Sue Butler out sprinted Winfield to take home sixth. Alison Dunlap (Luna) had suffered from the early pace and dropped off the main chase groups, but continued to fight through in eighth, despite concerted chases from the likes of Devon Haskell (Velo Bella). Dunlap held off the chase to finish in eighth. Haskell finished up ninth, holding off Planet Bike’s Krisin Wentworth.
Katie Compton took home the first USGP leader’s jersey of the year, but she will not likely hold it much longer than this weekend, as her European campaign will take her out of the running for the overall title. This puts Nash in the early hot seat for a repeat USGP series title. Alison Sydor was awarded the SRAM Most Aggressive Rider Award, most likely for her decision to ride up the course’s run up.
The Elite men’s race was packed with high drama, as the attacks and chases came fast and furious. Jeremy Powers (Cannondale/Cyclocrossworld) took the race’s first initiative by taking the second wheel in the holeshot and continuing his assault through the first lap, extending his lead first from bike lengths and then to seconds. Behind him, Jonathan Page (Planet Bike), Erwin Vervecken (Revor-Baboco) and Ryan Trebon (Kona) did the lion’s share of the chasing, hoping to bring back the flying Powers.
Behind the chasing group, Chris Jones (Champion System), who had moved up from a slow start, and Geoff Kabush (Rocky Mountain – Maxxis), who had been earlier dropped from the chasing group, were chasing in fifth and sixth place. Further Back, Jamey Driscoll (Cannondale/Cyclocrossworld) and Jesse Anthony (Jamis Bicycles) were holding on to seventh and eighth. Andy Jacques-Maynes (Bissel Pro Cycling), who had faded since taking the holeshot, was riding in ninth, just ahead of Tim Van Nuffel (Rendementhypo) who was trying to save face for his team, after teammate Christian Heule was victim of a mechanical and dropped down to second to last. Heule consistently picked up rider after rider, but decided to abandon and save himself for Sunday.
At the front, Page and Vervecken were successful in chasing down Powers, if only for a short time. After making contact, Page and Powers took turns trying to rid themselves of the former World Champion, Vervecken. Page and Powers’ efforts led to small gaps forming between them and Vervecken. Disaster struck for Page when he rolled a tire far away from the nearest pit. Page managed to replace his tire, and rode his way gingerly back to the pits to grab a new bike. Page had been passed by Trebon, but page was determined to get back to the front.
Powers had a bit of a gap over Vervecken, now that Page was nowhere to be found, and he used that to fuel his fire for victory. Not to be out done, Vervecken doggedly chased his way back on to the wheel of Powers. Powers seemed to sit up a bit when he saw how close Vervecken was, and this small tactical move spelled the difference in the race. Powers again attacked Vervecken, and this time, the Belgian, who will retire at the end of this year, could not respond. Powers extended his lead with every pedal stroke, and held a comfortable margin when he crossed the finish line for victory. Vervecken just held off a charging Page who made his way past Trebon to grab third place. Trebon was fourth, followed by Kabush, who dropped Jones late in the last lap to take fifth. Seventh place went to Driscoll who used the last lap to shed Anthony, who finished eighth. Jacques-Maynes held on to ninth place, as the top ten was rounded out by Van Nuffel.
Powers moved himself into the USGP series lead, which he seems to have a good chance at defending, if his form from Saturday was any indication. Chance Noble (Cal Gian Berry Farms/Specialized) was the best placed Espoir rider in the race, and took over the U23 leaders jersey. After his rolled tire and brave chase back, Page was awarded the SRAM Most Aggressive Rider award.
U23 Men – Top Ten
1. Chance Noble – California Giant /Specialized
2. Joseph Schmalz – KCCX / VERGE
3. David Hackworthy – Bianchi / Grand Performance
4. Adam McGrath – THULE/Van Dessel
5. Kyle Fry – MCOR
6. Luca Lenzi – The Pony Shop
7. Jack Hinkins – Ridley Team
8. Logan Van Bokel – Mesa Cycles Racing Team
USGP Juniors 17/18
1. Cody Kaiser – California Giant /Specialized
2. Yannick Eckmann – SV Kirchzarten
3. Robin Eckmann – SW Kirchzarten
4. Thomson Remo – Baraboo Sharks
5. William Bain – BikeClicks/Team Louisville
1. Ali Goulet – Church of the Big Ring
2. Michael Wissink – Specialized
3. Jeff Weinert – Wolverine Sports Club
4. Richard Feldman – Durance-Colnago
5. Brian Conant – The Pony Shop
6. Jerry Long – emdsports.com/fitness
7. Raif Warmuth – Westwood Velo
8. Andrew Messer – DRT Racing
9. Jonathan Card – Saturn of Toledo
10. Tim Butler – River City Bicycles
1. Michael McShane – Calistoga
2. Christian Zauner – Verdigris
3. Wayne Simon – Verdigris
4. Troy Krause – Lincoln Industries-Highgear
5. Bob Bergman
6. Jeff Appletans – Mambo Kings Racing
7. Gregory Ferguson – MadCity Velo Club
8. Paul McKinney – Curt Goodrich Racing Team
9. Scott Arrigoni – Verdigris
10. Mark Wolowiec – Flying Rhino Cycling Club