Francis Mourey outkicks Ryan Trebon to win his first cyclocross race in the States. © Joe Sales

Francis Mourey outkicks Ryan Trebon to win his first cyclocross race in the States. © Joe Sales

StarCrossed typically has one of the more diverse pro cyclocross fields of the year. Racers from all around the world are lured by the night race party environment, the promise of UCI points (in combination with the Rad Racing GP) and recently, the relative close proximity to Interbike and CrossVegas.

Tonight, racers from France, Switzerland and the Czech Republic (or Truckee, Calif. depending on your perspective) showed their class, surviving a muddy, slick course and worsening conditions and strong North American competition to take the wins at StarCrossed and steal the first West Coast UCI points of the year. [Didn’t get to attend or watch our live coverage? You can relive it here.]

For a brief moment, there was a familiar face in the lead in the women’s race, with 2008 winner Sue Butler (Hudz-Subaru) getting a flying start and showing her new team colors at the front of the race. Wendy Simms (Kona), in her first race back from a maternity break, quickly gave chase while Katerina Nash (Luna) was patiently making her way through the field after a slow start.

“I was just taking it easy in corners, I didn’t want to go down, because it’s the beginning of the season and it’s kind of silly to start with a broken collarbone,” said Butler. “It’s about risk, and if I’d taken more risks, maybe I would’ve been a little closer to the front. But third is a great place to start, I feel good about that. And I could breathe, this is my first cyclocross race since struggling with asthma last year. And it’s a new team, new gear so there are still some adjustments to be made.”

Soon after joining the leaders, Nash showed she’s enjoying great form from the mountain bike season, and the Luna rider accelerated away from Simms and Butler. Simms did her best to keep Nash in sight, but the Czech champ kept pouring it on as the rain strengthened, and she would cruise to win her season opener.

Butler, who lives down the road in Portland, has seen the event grow over the years. “The race gets bigger, we’re getting more talent in. There’s definitely a deeper field here – not even just the top end with people like Katerina, there were people like Barb here, Natasha, and a bunch of the people who are consistently at the front of races in North America.”

In the men’s race, Jonathan Page (Planet Bike) and French National Champion Francis Mourey used their European experience to battle for the holeshot, and as the field backed up in the tight, slippery corners, the pair squeezed out an early lead as Troy Wells (Clif Bar), Jake Wells (Hudz-Subaru), and Christian Heule (Team Champion System – LBS) chased. Ryan Trebon (Kona – FSA) was caught behind an early crash, as Geoff Kabush slid out into the first corner. The lanky Kona rider remained calm and moved up through traffic in an attempt to keep the early leaders in sight.

Soon the Kona star would catch and pass a fading Page, and worked his way up to join a relaxed-looking Mourey at the front. “I had to slow down a lot and go around Geoff at the beginning. I stayed calm and worked my way to the front,” said Trebon.”Once I made it to Francis, I wanted to push the pace on the front. I felt good, and I was riding pretty well, and I felt good going through the turns. I was trying to keep the pace high, and hopefully he’d make a mistake, but he’s strong and it didn’t work out too well – sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn’t. I knew I wasn’t going to outsprint him, he’s got a pretty good kick.”

The French rider told Cyclocross Magazine that he was doing everything he could to match Trebon’s power and speed, and showed his roadie roots as he drafted incredibly closely – especially considering the slick conditions – behind the much taller American. Once Trebon hit the front of the race on the third lap, he would remain there until the final corners.

“I felt really good and had a great start,” said Mourey. “When Trebon came back really strongly, I sat in and paced my race based on his race. I couldn’t take the front – Trebon was just too fast and strong, and he was accelerating really hard out of each corner. I was just trying to catch up and stay on his wheel. Trebon also never asked me to take the front, otherwise I would have.”

“I’ve been a professional on the road for eight years,” Mourey said, when asked about his racing style and up-close drafting tonight. “This year I raced 70 days on the road – so that’s my habit. Later in the year, I suspect I will leave more of a gap in a similar race, because the way I rode is more dangerous, especially in the conditions today.”

Meanwhile, mountain bikers Adam Craig (Giant Rabobank) and Barry Wicks (Kona) pushed through the field to fight for third with Heule and Page, with Jake Wells lingering not far off the pace. The group would remain close in the battle for the final step of the podium, until a late crash entangled both Page and Wells, knocking them further off the pace.

craig_mud_liberles

Adam Craig shows off his mud-riddled Giant post-race. Photo by Josh Liberles

“I should’ve started harder – once I got going I was running the same lap times as the front guys,” said Craig. “I was trying to shake Christian, but couldn’t quite do it. Then on the last lap, I kicked my wide-profile ’cross brake open [followed by a stream of expletives]. Starting with CrossVegas I’ll be running the dope TRP mini-Vs, so I can stop kicking my brakes open.”

Craig’s feelings about disc brakes adoption were not thinly-veiled. When asked if he’s someone who would consider making the switch, the MTB’er said, “Hell yeah. For the last 10 days I’ve been riding my 6.5-inch-travel bike with 8” disc brakes. So, I’d love to run ’em for ’cross, but it’ll be four to five years. We just finished developing Giant’s new carbon ’cross bike.”

Heule, who will be racing on American soil through the USGP in Madison next weekend, started his season off solidly on the podium, even though it wasn’t the repeat StarCrossed win he was looking for. “My start was not very good, but I was in good position after a half a lap,” said Heule. “I came back to Jonathan, then Ryan came to us and rode very hard. I slipped twice in the corners on the same lap and lost some time, and I couldn’t come back to the two guys in the front. Adam rode very well, especially in the corners, he was very fast.”

StarCrossed 2010. © Joe Sales

Trebon and Mourey controlled the race, much to the fans' delight. Photo by Joe Sales

At the front, Trebon powered along, in the drops, accelerating out of every corner, doing his best to tire and shake Mourey. But it was all to no avail, and the French champion was content to study the “Treefarm” to decide when to use his hatchet.

Trebon attacked the final lap, and looked like he had the gap he needed to take the win, but Mourey accelerated aggressively to lead into the velodrome. Trebon made one last desperate attempt at a pass with just a couple of corners remaining, and when Mourey closed the door, Trebon was forced to slow. The resulting small gap was more than enough to seal Mourey’s victory – he sprinted out of the final corner to take the win by three bike lengths and had time to post up and salute the crowd.

“In Europe, when the best in the world show up, the level is a little higher and harder, but I was really happy that the level was so high today,” said Mourey. “The champ of Switzerland [Heule] came, and the Americans are really good. For an early season race, the level was really high and the atmosphere was fantastic – the spectators were numerous and awesome. The course was technical and challenging, it was great.”

It’s an exciting block of racing for U.S. cyclocross, with Rad Racing continuing the West Coast – and internationally-flavored – UCI action, followed by CrossVegas during the week and the USGP in Madison, Wisconsin, next weekend.

Full results below the photos.

Joe Sales Photo Gallery:


Janet Hill Photo Gallery:

CXM Photo Gallery:

Full Results:

Elite Women:

Pos    Bib    Nat    U23    Name    Team    Time
1    212    CZE         NASH Katerina    Luna Pro Team    0:41:25
2    224    CAN         SIMMS Wendy    Kona    0:41:44
3    202    USA         BUTLER Susan    Hudz-Subaru    0:42:02
4    205    CAN         DYCK Mical    Trek Canada / Terrascape Racing    0:42:13
5    201    CAN         ELLIOTT Natasha    Garneau Club    0:42:24
6    210    USA         HASKELL Devon    Bike Station Aptos    0:42:55
7    207    USA         WILLIAMS Wendy    River City Bicycles    0:43:06
8    204    USA         STUDLEY Kari    Redline    0:43:17
9    209    USA         PENNINGTON Alice    Team S&M    0:43:23
10    206    USA         HOWE Barbara    Ibis And The Danger Twins    0:43:38
11    211    USA         MAILE Sarah    Ventana Mountain Bikes    0:43:41
12    226    USA         SHERWIN Kathy    Hudz-Subaru    0:43:44
13    231    USA         CUTLER Jessica    Cucina Fresca    0:43:51
14    232    USA         BENJAMIN Kelly    Kccx    0:44:38
15    223    USA         BISHOP Serena    Sunnyside Sports    0:44:39
16    208    USA         GAERTNER Jennifer    Riverstone Cda    0:44:54
17    234    USA         BRUBAKER Tina    Veloforma    0:45:25
18    229    USA         MARKHAM Kristin Jo    Olympia Orthopaedics Associates    0:46:04
19    230    CAN         GUYNUP Joele    Island Racing Club/Everti Bicycle    0:46:31
20    203    USA         SONE Linda    Planet Bike    0:46:32
21    222    USA         ERA-MILLER Brandee    Olympia Orthopaedic Associates    0:47:39
22    221    CAN         JONES Kelly    North Shore Sports Medicine    0:47:40
23    233    USA         ALLBUT Elizabeth    Team Beer    0:00:00
24    225    USA         OPPENHEIMER Karen    Bend Memorial Clinic/Total Care    0:00:00
25    228    USA         MYSLIWIEC Angela    Old Town Bicycles    0:00:00
220    USA         JORDAN Sarah    Bay 101 / Hrs / Rock Lobster    DNS
227    USA         RITTER Ali    Hagens Berman    DNS

Elite Men:

Pos    Bib    Nat    U23    Name    Team    Time
1    1    FRA         MOUREY Francis    Francaise Des Jeux    1:00:15
2    2    USA         TREBON Ryan    Kona    1:00:17
3    19    SUI         HEULE Christian    Team Champion System – LBS    1:00:58
4    25    USA         CRAIG Adam    Giant    1:01:06
5    26    USA         PAGE Jonathan    Planet Bike    1:01:13
6    3    USA         WICKS Barry    Kona    1:01:16
7    4    CAN         ST JOHN Derrick    Garneau Club Chaussure Ogilvy    1:01:48
8    6    USA         WEIGHALL Nicholas    California Giant/Specialized    1:02:13
9    8    USA         WELLS Jake    Hudz-Subaru    1:02:25
10    11    CAN         RICHEY Craig    Cyclocrossracing.Com P/B Blue    1:03:03
11    24    USA         DECKER Carl    Giant    1:03:14
12    5    USA         WELLS Troy    Cliff Bar    1:03:18
13    7    CAN         SCHOOLER Aaron    Team H&R Block    1:03:18
14    30    USA         BABCOCK Sean    Kona    1:03:20
15    9    CAN         TRACE Tyler    Trek Red Truck    1:03:36
16    18    USA    *    FISHER Steve    Rad Racing / Hagens Berman Llp    1:03:56
17    48    USA         SPITERI Frank    Peninsula Velo/Pomodoro    1:03:59
18    15    USA         CAMERON Molly    Castelli Usa    1:03:59
19    23    BEL         VAN NUFFEL Tim    Van Goethem-Prorace    1:04:00
20    31    USA         BAKER Jonathan    Hudz-Subaru    1:04:01
21    35    USA         PAXSON Spencer    Team S&M Young Guns    1:04:21
22    21    USA         MCGRATH Adam    Feedback Sports/Van Dessel    1:04:27
23    20    CAN         KABUSH Geoff    Maxxis-Rocky Mountain    1:05:15
24    41    USA         GALLAGHER Michael    Cyclorossracing.Com P/B Blue    1:05:19
25    13    USA         YEATER Davy    River City Bicycles    1:05:43
26    46    CAN         BERRY Nicholas    Mighty Riders    1:05:50
27    45    NZL         TUCKERMAN Aaron    Corsa Concepts    1:06:03
28    16    USA         BANNERMAN Nathan    Cyclocrossracing.Com P/B Blue    1:06:20
29    22    CAN         NOILES Kevin    La Bicicletta Pro Shop
30    43    USA         MCGILVRAY Kyle    Old Town Bicycle
31    44    USA    *    EMSKY Eric    Blue Competition Cycles
32    32    USA         BRADFORD Aaron    Www.Aaronbradford.Com
33    56    USA         BAILEY John    Bailey Bikes
34    62    USA         ERICKSON Landon    Stanley
35    42    USA         BEHRENS John    Bailey Bikes
36    34    USA         RATHKAMP Ben    Fanatik
37    52    USA         DOLL Jesse    Montanacyclocross.Com
38    63    USA         MARINO Darren    Unattached
39    64    USA         COLTON Eric    The Team
40    65    USA         OSBORN Gregory    La Velocity
41    59    USA         PEASE Michael    Collision One/Bicycle Centers
42    69    USA         BESTWICK Andy    Allegiant Airlines/Pain Md’S
43    60    USA         REEDY Kamden    Web-Op
44    51    USA         YARRA Derek    Box Dog Bikes
45    66    USA         ADAMS Alan    Hagens-Berman Cycling
46    58    USA         ANDERSON Jeff    Team Stanley
DNF    10    USA         IDDINGS Ryan    Redline
DNF    14    CAN         MACKENZIE Drew    Island Racing Club
DNF    33    USA         CHAPIN Scott    Bay101/Hrs/Rocklobster
DNF    36    USA         BENNO Michael    Veloce Racing
DNF    37    USA         FLACK John-Christian    Olympia Orthopaedic Associates
DNF    38    USA         FOX Matthew    Sunnyside Sports
DNF    39    CAN         CHADDOCK Ben    Rubicon-Orbea
DNF    40    USA         WORK Alex    Bay 101/Hrs/Rock Lobster
DNF    49    USA         SYVERTSEN Brue    Murder
DNF    53    USA         HUNTER Steven    Embrocation Cycling Journal
DNF    55    USA         WEAVER Ryan    River City Bicycles
DNF    67    USA         GROVE Phil    Hammer Nutrition
DNF    68    USA    *    WORSECH Sean    Rad Racing / Hagens Berman Llp
DNF    50    USA         KUBAS Benjamin    Tai Cycling Team/Genr8/Smith Optics

I had to slow down a lot and go around him. I stayed calm and worked my way to the front.