North American Cyclocross Power Rankings – November 24, 2009
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)
There’s not a ton to be said that hasn’t been said already. Johnson took two wins and the NACT title with a weekend in Southampton, New York that went like gangbusters. It’s hard to debate that the National Title is his to lose at this point. Johnson has ten wins already this season, and rarely have those wins come due to anything but Johnson’s overwhelming form and skill. Johnson will take a weekend off before coming back in Portland with a full tank of gas. Come December, it’s time to rumble.
2 (5) Jeremy Powers (Cannondale/Cyclocrossworld.com)
Powers missed the USGP weekend in New Jersey due to the flu, but you could hardly tell after watching him race in Southampton. Powers was the second strongest man on both days, taking home second place twice. Powers also managed to break his podium jinx by finally getting on to a major series podium with his second place in the NACT competition. Powers will tune up in Sterling, M.A. next weekend, and it looks like things may finally be shaping up for Powers come Nationals.
3 (3) Jamey Driscoll (Cannondale/Cyclocrossworld.com)
Another weekend, another rock steady performance for Driscoll. Johnson got hurt and Powers got sick, but Driscoll has been riding at the podium level week in and week out since mid-September. Unfortunately, he’s only managed to win two races this year, but he’s been nothing if not amazing otherwise. Driscoll was the weakest of the leading four on Saturday in Southampton, but worked his way to third place anyway, and followed it up with another third place. He’ll be a dark horse for nationals again this year.
4 (2) Ryan Trebon (Kona)
Trebon didn’t really have to make the trip to Southampton, but he came out swinging none the less. By all accounts, Trebon was the man to beat on Saturday, throwing punches left and right until a bobble cost him a shot at the win. Trebon treated Sunday like a training race, and still managed a sixth place finish. If you didn’t know better, you may say Trebon is off his game at this point in the season. Those in the know may sense that he’s playing possum.
5 (4) Geoff Kabush (Maxxis – Rocky Mountain)
Kabush has two more weekends left to his season. Portland will draw the curtain on a pretty successful season, but you have to think he’s been disappointed with his results thus far. He may be the most motivated man in the field at the USGP as he searches for that elusive win. Kabush took the weekend off, and he may not find top level racing next weekend, so his form may be a question in Portland. He could benefit from the Kona – Cannondale/Cyclocrossworld.com feud, as they watch each other and not him.
6 (6) Chris Jones (Champion System)
Jones had a great ride in Southampton on Saturday, and may have featured much more if he had not missed the exit to the pits on Sunday, costing him all shot at a victory. Jones has had a great season, and few would have expected him to still be a danger man this late in the season. That he is speaks volumes to his ability as a racer. Portland and Bend may not work well to his talents, so his shot at a win may be over for the season. It’s been a fantastic season nonetheless.
7 (8) Adam Craig (Giant Factory Racing)
Craig never quite puts in the performances you expect out of an Olympian, but he’s getting to be more of a factor as the season wears on. He grabbed sixth on Saturday and fourth on Sunday, and both involved him moving his way through the field after missing the initial selection. Craig needs to get that front group earlier if he wants to be a podium factor, and other keep showing that they can move to the front from outside of the front row.
8 (7) Todd Wells (Specialized)
Portland will prove whether Wells will be a major or minor factor in Bend in three weeks’ time. Wells looks like he’ll be the man to beat in Iowa at the three Jingle Cross Rock events. Tuning up there will dictate whether Wells will have it in him to bounce back from his injury plagued early season. Mercer was a good showing, but he was then forced to go home with a bad cold. Get well soon, Todd, we need you at Nationals in tip top shape.
9 (9) Davide Frattini (Team Fuji)
Frattini picked up a UCI win over the weekend, poaching some valuable Nationals call-up point in North Carolina. While it may not have been against the biggest names in the land, a win is a win is a win. He may have wanted to do better on day one in North Carolina, but conditions were not the best, and he may have suffered a bit for it. Regardless, Frattini is riding strong in the final stretches of the season, and should be in the top five if he makes the trip to Portland.
10 (10) Barry Wicks (Kona)
Wicks followed up a pretty strong run in New Jersey by vanishing the following weekend. Wicks was not in New York or North Carolina, and may have missed out on some important UCI points that could have helped his Nationals start position. Wicks may be taking time off so he can hit Portland and Bend with everything he’s got in him, but you need to race to make sure that form is there to start with.
North American Women’s Cyclocross Power Rankings
1 (1) Katie Compton (Planet Bike)
It looks like the only way to beat Compton this season is to make sure she’s got nowhere to race. A week off does nothing to Compton’s standing at the top of these rankings, and it would take a lot for anyone in the world to work their way up to Compton’s plateau. Compton will win Nationals, and the only question that remains is by how much.
2 (2) Katerina Nash (Luna Pro Team)
Nash is the only woman in America who is in the same state as Compton. Like the American Champion, Nash took the weekend off from racing, and it may not be until Portland that we see the current US Gran Prix of Cyclocross leader in action. Compton won’t be back in the states to square off with Nash, so we won’t get to see one versus two until the two head back to Europe after Nationals.
3 (4) Amy Dombroski (Schlamm p/b Clement & Primus Mootry)
Dombroski grabbed that breakout win that she was seeking this season in Southampton, and followed up with a repeat 24 hours later. Dombroski toyed with Kelli Emmett on Saturday, and slammed the door shut on Georgia Gould on Sunday with panache beyond her years. The course conditions were tailor made for Dombroski, and when things turn south, she may be out of the mix, but she’ll definitely be a threat in Bend.
4 (3) Georgia Gould (Luna Pro Team)
Gould’s no pressure attitude is beginning to show through more and more as the weeks pass. Gould could only muster third on Saturday, and was never in the frame for the win; not what you’d expect from the American vice champion. Sunday was better for Gould, but she could not dispatch Dombroski, and there may be a changing of the guard when the stars of cyclocross hit Bend, Oregon.
5 (5) Meredith Miller (Cal Giant Berry Farms/Specialized)
Miller took a weekend off from racing, skipping things on the East Coast to put some rest in her legs. The American Road Champion will return to action in Iowa before the final stretch run to Portland and Bend. Iowa will tell how committed Miller is to her cyclocross endeavor, and she could turn some heads at Nationals. Portland will give the best indication as to Miller’s chances at Nationals, where her bike handling will be on full display.
6 (6) Alison Dunlap (Luna Pro Team)
Dunlap was another woman electing to take the weekend off, as the cyclocross season has been a long one for a rider coming out of retirement after a few years off the bike. Dunlap’s form had been lagging a bit in the last few weekends, so the week off will definitely have done her good. She’s no stranger to the West Coast, and she’ll be in the mix as she begins to smell a shot at another National Title. It certainly would be a storybook ending to her season if she could take a win this late in the season.
7 (-) Kelli Emmett (Giant Factory Racing)
Emmett had been off the cyclocross wagon for a while, but came back in force when she rolled into Southampton over the weekend. Emmett was the closest to Dombroski’s wheel on Saturday, and almost managed to close in on the U23 National Champion before she ran out of space. Emmett again impressed in riding to third place on Sunday, despite not having wheels to follow for much of the race. It looks like any question marks around Emmett’s abilities are gone.
8 (10) Laura Van Gilder (C3 – Athletes Serving Athletes)
Finally, Van Gilder had a race where she could really portray her skills, and she didn’t disappoint. She’s a notch below the top end of her cyclocross class, but at her age, can you blame her? She continues to defy all expectations as she rakes in the top five finishes. Van Gilder broke the mold of hanging on people’s wheels on Sunday when she struck off on her own in pursuit of Emmett. She closed her down pretty well before settling for fourth, the same place she finished a day earlier.
9 (7) Mary McConneloug (Kenda – Seven – NoTubes)
A little below what was expected of McConneloug was the tune of Saturday and Sunday’s rides in Southampton. McConneloug looked chipper on both days, before her legs left her languishing on the fringe of the top five. A sprint on Saturday saved her fifth place finish, while on Sunday, she was left to hang on for fifth again when her chase group splintered under the pressure of stronger riders. McConneloug probably doesn’t have huge Nationals aspirations and will be content to do well on the East Coast.
10 (-) Natasha Elliott (Garneau – Club Chausseurs – Ogilvy)
Elliott sewed up her NACT crown with a pair of underwhelming sixth place finishes in Southampton, and while she took the initiative early in both races, she was bested by riders who were a bit stronger than she was. Elliott rode consistently enough to secure the overall finish, despite electing not to travel to Colorado in early November. Tenth place may be a bit above performances recently, but winning the NACT is no small feat.
Who fell off the list this week? Maureen Bruno Roy (8), Alison Sydor (9)
North American U23 Cyclocross Power Rankings
1 (1) Danny Summerhill (Felt – Holewesko Partners – Garmin)
Scherz gave him a run at the top spot, but Summerhill is still probably the best Espoir out there. Summerhill has to be the odds on favorite for the U23 National Championship in December, since the closest challenger is from Switzerland! It’s hard to say whether Summerhill will be able to beat Scherz if they ever meet up again, but Summerhill has been improving, while Scherz’s form has been leveling off. Time, and possibly Portland, will tell.
2 (2) Valentin Scherz (Pro Cycles – Scott)
Scherz had a great race on Sunday that had him sniffing around the top spot on the Power Rankings. Scherz was able to shed Ryan Trebon, and while Trebon had put it in cruise control at that point, it’s still no small feat. Scherz has been riding well, and if he heads back to Europe, he may make some serious waves at Swiss Nationals, among other races. The only question mark is, of course, will he continue to race once the American schedule goes into the off-season.
3 (3) Zach McDonald (Classic Cycles/Stevens)
A week off for McDonald, who may be a legitimate title threat in his first year as a U23 rider. The junior National Champion will have some rest in his legs, which will help his cause going forward. He’ll be heading back to his home region for the Portland USGP and for Nationals, so he’ll have plenty of support in his first shot at that Espoir National Title.
4 (5) Luke Keough (Champion Systems)
Keough jumps up a slot thanks to his win in Boston, albeit in a minor race against some dilute competition. Still, he’s got that winning streak in him, and he’ll be another man to watch in the U23 National Championships, despite it being his first year in the category. The top end of the U23 category may not shine through this year or next, but give them two years to ferment, and they’ll be world beaters for sure.
5 (4) Gavin Mannion (Hot Tubes Junior Development)
Mannion started hot on Sunday in Southampton but faded significantly. Mannion has been a relative question mark this season, showing his head inconsistently. Mannion was forced to run a long way on Saturday and got lapped because of it. That’s an undeserved result for the young man, and he’ll be unhappy with that, and he may have gotten a little ahead of himself on Sunday, but to really be a threat in December, he’ll have to right the ship quickly.
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