by Philip Beckman
LOS ANGELES – It was a big weekend in Los Angeles, with the Cross After Dark CXLA race on Saturday followed by the daytime UCI race on Sunday. Bathed in bright, warm sunshine the day after the Cross After Dark finale, Ben Berden (Raleigh-Clement) got a measure of revenge after loosing his series lead to Ryan Trebon (Cannondale/Cyclocrossorld.com). The Belgian followed wheels near the front of another large group until the halfway mark, when teammate Jamie Driscoll — seventh the night before — made things interesting. Driscoll launched an attack that stuck for two laps, gaining a maximum of roughly ten seconds. The pack began to fragment, with a group of three getting away to chase Driscoll. A lap later, Berden, Tim Johnson (Cannondale/Cyclocrossworld.com) and Danny Summerhill (K-Edge/Felt) made it four at the front with two to go, some 20 seconds ahead of the second group.
Driscoll led out of the final turn, but Berden came from third wheel and timed the line superbly to win by a whisker over his teammate, giving Raleigh-Clement the top two steps on the podium. Johnson topped Summerhill for third. Twenty-six seconds later, Adam Craig (Giant Factory Off-Road Team). narrowly edged teammate Carl Decker to round out the podium.
When asked if his mid-race move was planned, Driscoll responded, “We had discussed that I was going to race aggressively and it just worked out really well. I thought maybe I would attack and the whole group would bring me back but it worked out perfect that only a few guys came back up. I was surprised at how much it paid off. Usually you try that and you waste a bunch of bullets and you don’t have anything left. But I think maybe with the fitness I have right now for good, steady efforts instead of just punchy stuff, I was able to put people on the defensive without putting myself at a loss.”
Everything certainly fell into place for Berden. “We had a really good, tactical race to go 1-2 at the finish,” he said. “My teammate attacked and got a gap, and Johnson and Summerhill closed it while I was sitting on their wheels to keep my strength up. Jamie pulled the last lap because I’m really fast at the finish line, especially when I’m fresh. We have a really good team and awesome bikes and tires; we have all our stuff dialed in.”
In the women’s race, the top two remained the same as Saturday, with Katerina Nash (Luna Pro Team) taking the win over Nicole Duke (Marin/Spy). Rachel Lloyd (California Giant Berries/Specialized) and Duke traded second and third over the weekend, both of them well ahead of the rest both times out. Lloyd had a better sprint on Saturday night, while Duke came out ahead on Sunday.
For Lloyd, CXLA was a gratifying return to big-league bike racing. “I haven’t raced at this level for four years, since the 2009 Cyclocross World Championships in The Netherlands,” she stated. “I’ve got two kids now. My twin sister started racing ’cross up in Washington, so that kind of inspired me to start again, to support her in her racing. Then before you know it I was doing well in local races and I just wanted to see where it could go. My husband’s been really supportive, and I called up Anthony at Cal Giant and he was very excited to hear back from me; he told me to hop aboard. I’m really grateful to Anthony and SRAM and Zipp for hooking me up and helping me out.”
Junior Men had the opportunity to gather UCI points at CXLA too, and Maxx Chance (Clif Bar Development Team) made the most of it. He topped a seven-rider sprint on Saturday night and then came from way behind after a first-lap spill to win again on Sunday.
The SoCalCross Prestige Series crew produced this event, and it was jam-packed with cycling and community activities as well as a full program of CX racing for riders of all levels. Next weekend the series heads north to Bakersfield for another double-header at Hart Park as the season draws to a close.
CXLA Day 2 2013 Elite Men Results
CXLA Day 2 2013 Elite Women Results
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