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)
Johnson may not have had the best weekend ever in Portland at the weekend’s Portland Cup, his day two performance, as well as his performance on the season as a whole, is enough to keep him in the top spot, and give him the crown of number one favorite in Bend this coming weekend. Even on an off day, Johnson still pulled through for fourth, and then killed himself to set up Powers for arguably the biggest win of his career.
2 (2) Jeremy Powers (Cannondale/Cyclocrossworld.com)
If he doesn’t win nationals, the win in Portland will be the biggest of his career. Powers was only meters away from a double victory, and a little more aggressive riding may have seen him take that double. Powers now has three wins and a second place in his last four races, so he’s in the top three when it comes to Nationals favorites. Powers has had a tendency of being caught up in the moment and under performing on the nationals stage, but he’s aware of that, and ready to change things.
3 (3) Todd Wells (Specialized)
Todd Wells has the most confidence of all the Nationals favorites after winning three races in Iowa, winning Saturday in Portland and only barely missing out on victory on Sunday. Cannondale/Cyclocrossworld.com had to throw everything they had at him to beat him in a sprint, and Wells will be a very strong favorite for victory in Bend, if not the strongest favorite out there. Wells has a pair of National Championships under his belt, so he’ll be ready to go.
4 (4) Ryan Trebon (Kona/FSA)
Last week, I said that Trebon had to win on Sunday to have a shot at Nationals. I stand by that assertion and Trebon didn’t manage to ally any fears his detractors may have had. Trebon was on form early on Saturday in Portland, before running out of steam. On Sunday, Trebon was never a factor, and faded to fifth. Fading both days will do nothing for his confidence, and despite the fact that Trebon calls Bend home, and that he’s the defending Champ, he’s got underdog status.
5 (3) Jamey Driscoll (Cannondale/Cyclocrossworld.com)
Driscoll did not have a good weekend in Portland, but he was also sick on the weekend before, and had to travel across three time zones to get to Portland. Fifth and seventh are not what you want to see out of the man who was second at last year’s National Championships with only one week left to improve. That said, Driscoll will take a couple days in Portland to train before heading to Bend for Nationals. Driscoll has dropped back into wild card status, which may be where he wants to be.
6 (8) Adam Craig (Giant Factory Team)
Craig finally had a pair of good rides against great talent, finishing up eleventh and fourth. Craig managed to use his better starting position to good use, and really set himself up for a good run at a National Championships podium. Craig calls Oregon home, so just like Trebon, he’ll have the power of the locals behind him. You can only take so much psychological abuse before you slow down, so he’ll be at an advantage against some of the East Coast’s talent.
7 (5) Geoff Kabush (Maxxis – Rocky Mountain)
Luck does not favor Kabush when it comes to the USGP. Portland again saw Kabush’s bike fail him, but his legs were good, and he deserved better than his eighth and sixth speak to. Kabush ended his cyclocross, and further his overall cycling, season for the year after the racing in Portland, and it’s been quite the successful season for the Canadian Cyclocross champion. Not winning a USGP event will leave a sour taste in Kabush’s mouth, and he’ll be back stronger next year.
8 (7) Chris Jones (Champion Systems)
Chris Jones was just shy of the top five in Portland, but he’s a few lucky breaks and bad days from a podium in Bend. Conditions were just about ideal for Jones, so he may not want to expect more than fifth in Bend, when the course conditions get hairier. By the same token, if the conditions go down hill, the chance of catastrophe on other riders’ behalf increases, which can play into Jones’ favor. Regardless of how he fares in Bend, Jones has had a fantastic season by any measure.
9 (10) Dan Timmerman (RGM Watches – Richard Sachs – Radix)
Timmerman got knocked around by a first lap crash in Warwick, Rhode Island at the NBX Gran Prix on Saturday, possibly sustaining a concussion in the process, and still managed to significantly outpace the field. Sunday, he seemed a bit worse for wear, but still rode away from the field on the final lap. He’ll head to Nationals with an good shot at the top ten, and even a remote chance of a top five, but he’ll need some luck and to be beyond his best to do so.
10 (9) Barry Wicks (Kona/FSA)
This year, you’ve always wanted Wicks to do better than his results have been. He’s got the capability to do so, but for whatever reason, he’s not been living up to it. Wicks was ninth and twelfth in Portland, and despite the support of the crowd, couldn’t make the impact you expect of him. Trebon doesn’t seem to be able to shake off the efforts of Cannondale/Cyclocrossworld.com and if Wicks could get up to him, things might be more even, but that doesn’t look to be happening.
North American Women’s Cyclocross Power Rankings
1 (1) Katie Compton (Planet Bike)
A weekend off for Compton will be deadly for her competition at Nationals. Compton could have come home to win the Portland Cup, but she skipped things in order to make sure her legs don’t prevent her from winning Nationals for a record sixth straight time. Compton will be fresh, rested and motivated, and since no one can beat her on a bad day, she’ll be unstoppable in Bend for the sixth time in a row. Then it’s back to Europe to continue her drive to the World Championships.
2 (2) Katerina Nash (Luna)
Nash didn’t have to storm back to a win on Sunday in Portland after crashing and losing her lead, since she was the clear winner of the USGP before things even started on Sunday. Still, Nash had pride on the line and came roaring back to her sixth USGP victory of the season. The only person Nash lost to in the USGP was Compton, but that was back in September, and Nash has only gotten faster since then. To say that Nash is a deserving USGP winner is a gross understatement.
3 (3) Amy Dombroski (Schlamm p/b Clement & Primus Mootry
Dombroski was in the mix with real fervor on both Saturday and Sunday in Portland. Her second place on Saturday speaks volumes, and it’s a shame that Dombroski will not be heading to Europe to take a crack at the World Championships. She’d probably have a shot at a top ten if not better. Dombroski was close to defeating Katerina Nash on Saturday – something that no one had yet been able to get close to. Dombroski can win Nationals, and don’t be surprised if she can pounce on a bad day from Compton.
4 (4) Meredith Miller (Cal Giant Berry Farms / Specialized)
Miller has been the story of the season, and should definitely get a medal at Nationals if she keeps this type of riding up. Fourth place on Saturday in Portland was a solid result, but it was her second place, and near victory, on Sunday that has chalked Miller up as a genuine title threat. Miller knows how to bring her A game on the big stage – as she’s the Women’s Road National Champion – so she’s got the ability to win big races. Can she keep up with Katie Compton? That remains to be seen.
5 (6) Alison Dunlap (Luna)
Dunlap had a fantastic weekend in Portland, and she should definitely be in the top five mix when the focus switches to Bend. A pair of fifth places on a hard and fast course translate into bigger things when there’s mud in the mix. He should be able to beat Miller and possibly Dombroski, thanks to her superior technical ability, and Dunlap lives for ‘Cross Nationals. She does, after all, have five sets of stars and stripes to her name.
6 (10) Alison Sydor (Maxxis – Rocky Mountain)
Sydor went out with a bang in Portland, as she too has called time on a very successful cyclocross season which included some strong USGP results and a Canadian Cyclocross Championship. Sydor’s podium on Saturday in Portland was her best result of the season, and she beat some strong women en route to that third place finish. Unfortunately, she couldn’t repeat that feat on Sunday, but a sixth place finish was better than she’s been used to. Now it’s off for some rest and back at things on the Mountain Bike.
7 (7) Kelli Emmett (Giant Factory Team)
Emmett has quietly become a significant threat for a Nationals medal. She may even be underrated at number seven in this ranking system, but with no Nash and Sydor, and a set of miserable conditions, the Giant rider, who’s known for her mountain bike exploits, should have a shot at big things in Bend. Emmett had a sixth place and a fourth place in Portland, and with only Americans to contend with, it would be no surprise to see her striding onto the podium on Sunday.
8 (8) Mary McConneloug (Kenda – Seven – NoTubes)
McConneloug continued her strong run in the North East by taking home a pair of wins in Warwick. McConneloug was dominant on Saturday, but on Sunday had a bit of a scare from Andrea Smith (Minuteman Road Club) who gave her a run for her money. McConneloug triumphed in the end, but her stock may have taken a hit because of it. On a national scale, McConneloug could grab a top ten, but it will be a battle for it.
9 (-) Sue Butler (Monavie-Cannondale.com)
Butler has had her issues this year, but seems to have righted the ship with a couple of good performances in Portland. Butler was twice seventh, and seems to have put a pretty bad sickness behind her, and at a good time too. Butler may not be a good bet for any great result in Bend, but any top fifteen will be a good result for Butler.
10 (5) Georgia Gould (Luna)
Gould may not deserve to be tenth, but she’s been great this season despite not making cyclocross her number one goal. Gould ultimately called it a season after racing in Southampton, electing to not race in Portland, but had she, she’d have easily made the list. It may be controversial to keep her here, but hopefully she’ll be back in full force next next season.
Who fell off the list this week? Maureen Bruno Roy (8)
North American U23 Cyclocross Power Rankings
1 (1) Daniel Summerhill (Felt – Holowesko Partners – Garmin)
It’s official. The only one who will be able to beat Summerhill at U23 Nationals will be Danny Summerhill. Summerhill is far and away the best American Espoir, and that saying a lot. The U23 field this year may be deeper than ever, and Nationals will certainly be a joy to watch. Summerhill was seventh and ninth in Portland – a feat that would get you on the Elite top ten with ease. Summerhill should win Nationals going away, leaving everyone else to fight for the scraps.
2 (2) Valentin Scherz (Pro Cycles – Scott)
Scherz stayed on the east coast, winning the finals of the Mid Atlantic Cyclocross series, and winning the elite series title in the process. The 19 year old Swiss rider’s American season is over, and he’s been a revelation, routinely fighting with the heads of America’s cyclocross state. He’ll always remember dropping Ryan Trebon in Southampton and mixing it up in the top five in Granogue. It’s been fun to watch Scherz in action and we’ll miss him going forward.
3 (3) Zach McDonald (Classic Cycles)
McDonald gets it right, then disappears. McDonald was tenth on Saturday in Portland, and was only 36 seconds behind Summerhill when the dust settled. He followed that strong performance up with a DNF on Sunday, so his form going to bend will be a question mark. It’s really been exciting to see the reigning Junior National Champion transition almost seamlessly through the extra 15 minutes he has to race as an Espoir. He’s just got to finish and he could cause Summerhill problems.
4 (4) Jerome Townsend (Bikereg.com/Joe’s Garage/IF)
Townsend had been a big fish in the north east pond, until he went to Portland and grabbed a pair of fourteenth place finishes, good for third and second in the U23 competition. Townsend was a minute and a half behind McDonald and two minutes down on Summerhill on Saturday, but he still put in a strong performance. Sunday was a bit better, closing to within a minute of Summerhill. Everyone will be rested, however, and Summerhill has been a better Saturday racer, so Townsend has his work cut out for him.
5 (-) Chance Noble (Cal Giant Berry Farms / Specialized)
Chance Noble was good in the early season, but faded mid way through, having a couple very bad days at the USGP stop in New Jersey. Noble was back in good form in Portland, finishing up 23rd and 15th. There were a few U23’s who beat him on Saturday, where he finished up fifth, but his 15th on Sunday was good for third in the U23 competition. Outside of the top three, there will be a scrum for the U23 top five, and Noble will be a big player in that fight.
Who fell off the list this week? Luke Keough (5)