Sure, USAC and UCI have their own cyclocross rankings. And with the USGP, NACT, MAC and Verge series with UCI points up for grabs and North Americans hitting all of these series, it’s hard to figure out who’s the best of our continent. Enter Cyclocross Magazine’s North American Cyclocross Rankings, the first of its sort, determined by complex mathematical equations calculated only in the head of resident Live Coverage and Fantasy Cyclocross League guru, Jake Sisson. Agree? Think he missed a number? Let us know. Last week’s ranking is in parentheses.
North American Men’s Cyclocross Power Rankings
1 (1) Tim Johnson (Cannondale/Cyclocrossworld.com)
Smartly, Johnson took a weekend off. The season’s wearing on, and winning all those times will take it out of a man. The weekend off will refill the tanks so he can take a crack at the last two weekends of the season in his best form. Johnson is the odds-on favorite for victory in Bend at this point, regardless of how Portland shakes out. Still, to keep up his winning edge, Johnson will have to win one day at Portland. I’ll say it here and I’ll repeat it further down. If you can win Sunday in Portland, you’re the man to watch in Bend.
2 (2) Jeremy Powers (Cannondale/Cyclocrossworld.com)
Powers has been fighting some illnesses in the later stages of the season, so he wisely skipped his rest weekend in favor of Baystate Cross in Sterling, Massachusetts. Powers, as was expected, took home both wins, but neither were easy. New England’s best gave him a real tussle, but a win is a win is a win, and Powers got two. Powers had been in that precarious situation of not really knowing where his form was going into the crunch, but Baystate proved it’s in the right place.
3 (3) Jamey Driscoll (Cannondale/Cyclocrossworld.com)
Driscoll too took the weekend off in an effort to recharge his batteries. Driscoll will not be the same wild card he was a year ago, but he’s proved that that silver medal in Kansas City was no fluke. Driscoll has been riding well, but has looked a touch off his game in the last two weeks. Of the men who took the weekend off, don’t be surprised if the weekend off serves the young man from Vermont the best.
4 (4) Ryan Trebon (Kona/FSA)
Trebon’s hold on fourth this week was tenuous after finishing second at the Crossaflixion to teammate Barry Wicks. While second place is good, it’s not Trebon, and if he wants to repeat his Nationals victory, he’s got to be winning. This weekend will be pivotal for Trebon. If he doesn’t win on Sunday, there’s a good chance he won’t have the Stars and Stripes in Bend. Psyche is most important to a rider like Trebon, and he’s going to have to set his head in the right place to be a big Nationals threat.
5 (5) Geoff Kabush (Maxxis – Rocky Mountain)
Kabush was off over the weekend, and he too has been feeling the strain of the season to a large degree. Portland is Kabush’s final race of the season, and he’s made it no secret he wants to top a USGP podium this season. While others aren’t watching, Kabush could sneak his way onto the podium. If other Americans have been trying to peak for Nationals, Kabush is peaking for Portland where all bets will be off.
6 (8) Todd Wells (Specialized)
Wells picked up his first, second and third wins of the season in Iowa at the Jingle Cross weekend, and did so handily. Wells was easily the strongest man there, and he moved his way up the Nationals ladder somewhat. Wells has a shot at the win in both Portland and Bend, and he proved in Iowa, if nothing else, that he’s a man for adverse conditions, something that will not be in short supply in the next two weekends.
7 (6) Chris Jones (Champion Systems)
Jones picked up a win over the weekend, enhancing his resume, but his win in California in the Northern California District Championships was not enough to keep Wells from leapfrogging him. Still, Jones set his season in a positive direction with the win, something he’s been looking for all season. Conditions may not favor the Californian going forward, so it was good for him to get a win now, but Jones has been known to surprise in bad conditions, so he could still be a rider to watch.
8 (7) Adam Craig (Giant Factory Team)
Craig took a weekend off as well, and while it will no doubt be a benefit for Craig, his performances may have been best served by heading to Sterling and fighting for a UCI win. Certainly, his start position at Nationals would have improved with a couple top finishes in Sterling, and he’s been as fast as the front all season, so it’s a surprise he elected to skip last weekend. Craig will be a danger man this weekend, but he’ll have to work hard to get past that podium boogey man.
9 (10) Barry Wicks (Kona/FSA)
He’s there and then he’s not. This weekend he was there, and hopefully he will be there for the next two weekends. Wicks took home a victory in Bend at the Crossaflixion event, besting teammate Ryan Trebon by a significant margin. Wicks will no doubt be in the mix, if only to help Trebon rid himself of the Cannondale/Cyclocrossworld.com armada, so his aspirations for the rest of the season will no doubt be modest. Watch for a top five in Portland.
10 (-) Dan Timmerman (RGM Watches – Richard Sachs – Radix)
Timmerman showed, once again, why he’s wearing the leader’s jersey in the Verge New England Cyclocross Championships Series, proving an extremely tough rider to shed on both days in Sterling. Timmerman was the last man standing on Saturday, and only dropped one place on Sunday. Next weekend will sew up the NECCS title, and then he’s off to Nationals, where he will truly have his mettle tested.
Who fell off the list this week? Davide Frattini (9)
North American Women’s Cyclocross Power Rankings
1 (1) Katie Compton (Planet Bike)
Compton was finally beaten fair and square over the weekend in the Koksijde World Cup, and blamed much of that on herself. Compton will bounce back with a vengeance when she lands in the States, and it won’t take long to crown this year’s National Champion. Number six should be a mere formality before she hops a plane back to Europe to continue her assault on Europe. Compton is our best shot at a World Championship in recent memory, and she’ll have the weight of the American cyclocross world behind her.
2 (2) Katerina Nash (Luna Pro Team)
Katerina Nash kept the wheels turning over the weekend by winning the Bay Area Super Prestige Race #4 in Golden Gate Park (but was ineligible to win the District Championship – that went to Vanderkitten’s Barb Howe). Nash has one more set of races in the United States where she’ll just have to keep things upright to take home the USGP jersey in Portland. After that, it’s off to Europe where she’ll build her form towards the World Championships in Tabor, Czech Republic. Incidentally, that’s her home country, and she’ll be spearheading the Czech team come Worlds. That’s a dangerous combination.
3 (3) Amy Dombroski (Schlamm p/b Clement & Primus Mootry)
Dombroski has precious little time left on her cyclocross campaign, after stating that she will forgo a shot at Worlds in favor of recovering for her next season of racing. That means that she’ll be pulling out all the stops for Nationals in an effort to dislodge Katie Compton. The way she’s been riding, a podium finish is no stretch for the pint sized Dombroski.
4 (5) Meredith Miller (Cal Giant Berry Farms/Specialized)
Like Todd Wells, Miller went three for three at the Jingle Cross weekend in Iowa. Miller seems to be taking this ‘cross thing rather seriously, and it would not be a surprise to see her on the Nationals podium in Bend. Miller is no stranger to national titles, and she has yet to face off against Katie Compton, so we could be in for some high drama in Bend. We’ll get a preview in Portland, where Miller will be faced with not only worse conditions, but bigger competition.
5 (4) Georgia Gould (Luna Pro Team)
To say that a medal at Nationals would salvage Gould’s season may be a bit harsh. Gould has said that ‘cross has not been her competitive focus this season, and if you measure her to those standards, she’s been great. If you measure her to her previous standards, this season has been a disappointment. No Worlds trip means that Gould has two weekends to right the ship, and a win in Portland would right things in the biggest of ways. Is she prepared to do that? We’ll see.
6 (6) Alison Dunlap (Luna Pro Team)
Dunlap has proved the naysayers wrong all season, but you can see that she’s been out of the game for a while. As the season has gone on, the stamina that was once there has begun to desert her. She’s an outside shot at the Nationals long podium, but the taste will no doubt bring her back next year for more. Dunlap has truly impressed since coming out of retirement, and a USGP or Nationals podium will close out her season on the best of notes.
7 (7) Kelli Emmett (Giant Factory Team)
After coming back from a broken wrist suffered in the off-season and taking some time off mid way through the calendar, Emmett is finding her top form at the best possible time. Emmett, should she decide to go, will be holding Worlds team auditions in Portland and Bend, as well as hunting for medals in both locales. Emmett was fast in Southampton, but when the big guns start firing, she may be a little out matched. Portland will be the true litmus test for Emmett.
8 (9) Mary McConneloug (Kenda – Seven – NoTubes)
McConneloug grabbed another pair of superb wins in Sterling, albeit not against the stiffest of competition. McConneloug will head to Bend as a bit of an unknown. Her wins, which she has five of, have been in smaller UCI races, and just how she stacks up will not be known until game day. McConneloug has been outclassed by people ahead of her, but has also outclassed them from time to time. McConneloug will be a real dark horse on the West Coast.
9 (-) Maureen Bruno Roy (MM Racing p/b Seven Cycles)
Bruno Roy is possibly the best served rider on this list when the going gets muddy. As a standout cross country runner, Bruno Roy has things dialed in when there’s a ton of running to be done. Nothing says mud like Oregon, but the mud there may not be running mud like it is on the East Coast. Bruno Roy struggled a bit in Sterling, but did manage to take home a second place finish. Bruno Roy should be in the top ten in the next couple of weeks, but she’ll have to work hard for it.
10 (-) Alison Sydor (Maxxis – Rocky Mountain)
Sydor is in the same boat as Kabush, and her season’s curtain will draw when racing is over in Portland. She’ll no doubt be primed to grab a podium in her last chance of the season. Sydor took home another championship over the weekend in British Columbia, winning the provincial championship, but she’ll have to step up hear game comparatively to grab success in Portland. Still, Sydor can see the light at the end of the tunnel, and that should be extra motivation for the current Canadian Champion.
Who fell off the list this week? Laura Van Gilder (8), Natasha Elliott (10)
North American U23 Cyclocross Power Rankings
1 (1) Danny Summerhill (Felt – Holowesko Partners – Garmin)
Summerhill was off, and if not for the odd challenge from Valentin Scherz, he’s been the most dominant of the nation’s U23′s. The 2007 Worlds Silver Medalist has got to be the man to beat when things head to Bend, and it doesn’t look likely that anyone else has the ability or the experience to overthrow him. Give the rest a couple years, and maybe you’ll see a change of the guard, but that’s pretty unlikely.
2 (2) Valentin Scherz (Pro Cycles – Scott)
Scherz was off this weekend, and it will be sad to see the young Swiss rider head back home. It’s been a real pleasure to watch him ride, and he’s got some uncanny ability for a man who is only 19 years old. The question remains how long he’ll pursue cyclocross once he’s back in Switzerland, but you would hope he’d keep going, as he’d be the favorite for the Swiss U23 National Title at this point.
3 (3) Zach McDonald (Classic Cycles)
Zach McDonald headed to Europe over the past weekend, and while his results may not say much, keep in mind he was traveling like a mad man, and is only a first year U23 rider. Considering those obstacles, to stay on the lead lap was a feat. McDonald will make waves when he’s in Europe full time, and it’s a strong bet that you’ll see him on the Nationals U23 podium in two weeks time.
4 (-) Jerome Townsend (Bikereg.com/Joe’s Garage/IF)
Townsend exploded over the weekend to some strong results in Sterling. He’s another good podium bet if he has a good ride, but he’s yo-yoed much of the year in and out of the top ten at some major races. The East Coast has given us some great U23 battles, and your top five could reflect the same top fives we’ve seen throughout the year. Townsend should be able to produce in Bend if the chips fall his way.
5 (4) Luke Keough (Champion Systems)
Keough had a good, but not great, pair of rides in Sterling, but he’ll have to do better if he wants to have a realistic shot at a Nationals podium. If he’s inside the top ten, that’s a victory for the man from Massachusetts, but he’ll need to ride his heart out to get there, as the U23 is deeper than it has ever been before. Keough will also have to impress to make sure he’s in the running for a Worlds selection.
Who fell off the list this week? Gavin Mannion (5)