by Jake Sisson
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)
Since Johnson has gotten back from his shoulder injury, there has been no one in the country who can compete with him. He added two more wins to his resume this week in Colorado, bringing his season tally to seven. He won in his preferred conditions on Saturday, but proved he’s the overall man to beat by winning in the dry on Sunday. He’s also got the lead in the NACT overall, thanks to five victories in eight events. He’s also taken at least one win in five straight weeks. If that’s not hands-down number one material, I don’t know what is.
2 (4). Jeremy Powers (Cannondale/Cyclocrossworld.com)
Taking two strong finishes on a weekend is a good sign for Powers, who has been plagued with inconsistency this year. He’s got the fastest first lap in the business, and he’s starting to come around to closing out the deal. Except for a little bobble on Sunday, he may have gotten his first win since Ohio. He may end up being third fiddle on the Cannondale/Cyclocrossworld.com team if he doesn’t score some marquee wins, but there’s no shame in that. He’ll probably pick up a win in Northampton, MA over this weekend.
3 (2). Jamey Driscoll (Cannondale/Cyclocrossworld.com)
But wait, why does Driscoll fall down to number three, despite two third place finishes over the weekend? Well, for one, he was beaten on both days by numbers one and two. Driscoll doesn’t have that big win to his credit since the biggest win of the season, CrossVegas back in September. Still, he’s been at or near the front during every race he’s been in thus far and he’ll probably win on day two of Cycle-Smart International in Northampton, MA this weekend. It may not be against top competition, but it will give him confidence going forward.
4 (5). Geoff Kabush (Maxxis-Rocky Mountain)
Kabush was the best of the rest on Sunday in Boulder, Colorado, despite coming down with the flu and skipping Saturday’s action. Kabush has performed consistently at the top of big races, but the clock is ticking on him to get a win that will define his season. Sure, he’s got the Canadian National Championships under his belt, and he did win the Jim Horner GP in mid-October, but he’s yet to find top success on America’s top stage. He’s got the Portland Cup, Mercer Cup and Whitmoes Landscaping Supercross Cup left to prove him mettle.
5 (3) Ryan Trebon (Kona)
Trebon had a nasty crash in Louisville, and as such, chose to sit things out in Colorado. He wasn’t chasing the NACT overall, despite winning it last year, so he didn’t miss out on any season objectives by doing so, but American missed out on what could have been a good battle. Hopefully, Trebon will be able to shake off the effects of that crash in time for the Mercer Cup in two week’s time. If he can do that, we’ll see a great battle unfold between Trebon and Cannondale/Cyclocrossworld.com for the USGP overall title
6 (7). Chris Jones (Champion System)
Chris Jones scored major points over the last weekend for getting a custom Halloween themed skinsuit made up for Saturday’s racing. Unfortunately, his bike let him down, and he got a DNF to his credit. He came out swinging on Sunday, however and managed to slot into seventh on the day, behind a couple guys who were just starting their season. I wonder if Jones’ best finishes are behind him for the year, but hopefully not.
7 (9). Jesse Anthony (Jamis Bicycles)
Anthony looks to be back to his best. He was sick for a while, and his season started slowly, but he’s back at the front of the race. Despite suffering from some mechanicals and a crash or two, Anthony would have some better results to his credit. A sixth place on day one in Colorado shows that he’s got the speed back into his legs. He’s still a far cry from the Jesse Anthony that we say in the USGP leader’s jersey last year, but he could be peaking at just the right time.
8 (-). Troy Wells (Clif Bar)
Troy Wells, too, had a slow start to the season, with a couple DNF’s coming in early races. Still, Troy has been at the front of recent races, taking home a top five in Colorado with a fifth place finish in Longmont on Saturday. Wells’ form is coming around, and he should be a major player come the latter half of the season.
9 (6). Dan Timmerman (RGM Watches-Richard Sachs-Radix)
Timmerman falls a bit after taking a weekend off, and since he’s been near, but not at, the front of some major races this year, he falls more than others might since he hasn’t proved himself to be at the top of the field this year. He’ll have a chance to really prove himself this weekend against the likes of Jeremy Powers and Jamey Driscoll in Northampton, MA, where he’ll look to defend his New England Cyclocross Championship Series leader’s jersey and move his way back up the power rankings.
10 (-) Adam Craig (Giant Bicycles)
Adam Craig finally made a splash in the American cyclocross scene that we’ve been waiting for, grabbing some strong finishes in Colorado. If it weren’t for a mechanical and a deflating tire, he may have found his way onto the podium on Saturday. He was a bit farther off the pace on Sunday, but he also was not starting at the front of things when the starter’s pistol fired either, meaning he had to come from a long way back to even figure in the race. Results like that suggest the best is yet to come.
Who fell off the list this week? Barry Wicks (8) and Davide Frattini (10)
North American Women’s Cyclocross Power Rankings
1 (1). Katie Compton (Planet Bike)
There’s not a lot to be said about Katie Compton that hasn’t been said already. She hasn’t lost a race all year, and it doesn’t look like she will in the near future. She came back to the States this weekend and came away with another two wins, easily besting the field that turned out in Colorado. Compton’s talents will be tested once she gets back to Europe, with the reemergence of Marianne Vos and Hanka Kupfernagel and the continued success of Daphny Van den Brand, but Compton is still the woman to beat the world over.
2 (2) Katerina Nash (Luna)
Nash may not have been stateside last weekend, but coming in fourth place in Hoogstraten during the European Championships is probably a better indicator of where Nash ranks in the world than racing against Compton in Colorado was. Nash was leading the chase of Marianne Vos with regularity, and showed why she makes up part of one of the strongest cyclocross nations in the world. Nash may not be in the lead group of the world, but she’s certainly at the head of the chase group giving them a run for their money.
3 (3) Georgia Gould (Luna)
Gould was once again the best of the rest over the weekend, but she was still a full two minutes behind Compton in second place on Saturday. She wasn’t on the start list on Sunday, but another strong second place proved that she’s worthy of the number three spot on the rankings. She’s going to have to kick things into a higher gear in the final stretch of the season to give Compton a challenge at nationals or take a run at the USGP jersey, currently held by Gould’s teammate, Katerina Nash.
4 (4). Alison Dunlap (Luna)
If the season were a couple months longer, Dunlap would be far and away the fastest rider in America if her upward trend continued the way it has in past weeks. Dunlap keeps adding to the speed she’s already got, and the top results are starting to follow. She was third on both days in Colorado, and considering that she’s still probably shaking off the last bits of rust, it wont be long before we see her at the front of races. She’s not going to be able to drop Compton at nationals, as much as she’d probably like to, but she’ll at least come close.
5 (5). Amy Dombroski (RGM Watches-Richard Sachs-Radix)
Dombroski will be switching teams starting this week, but the story should remain the same. She’s been moving up the cyclocross ladder, culminating with a second place in Sunday’s racing in Boulder. She’s still not consistently at the second place level, but if she continues to ride like this, the podiums will come in droves. It will be tough to say what the new team setup will mean for her – the levels of support she’ll get from a pit team – may mean diminished success initially, but she’s too talented to let that last for long.
6 (8). Maureen Bruno Roy (MM Racing p/b Seven Cycles)
Maureen Bruno Roy grabbed a win in New Jersey against some admittedly watered down competition, quantity wise, but her win was a quality one nonetheless. Bruno Roy keeps snagging wins, and she’s building up a good season so far. She should probably grab a couple more wins in New England before turning her sights to another Masters National Championship in December. She’s a good runner, and as the weather worsens as the year goes on, she’ll just get faster and faster.
7 (-). Mary McConneloug (Kenda-Seven-NoTubes)
McConneloug snagged a win and a second place in New Jersey, so she’s right on Bruno Roy’s heels, as she did the same thing over the weekend. McConneloug is a bit below, since she hasn’t been racing nearly as much or to the same success as Bruno Roy has thus far this year. McConneloug is fast, but hasn’t been attacking cyclocross with the same determination as many on this list, so Beacon Cross may stand as her only win this year. If she keeps up her schedule, however, she should take a smaller win or two before the season is out.
8 (6). Alison Sydor (Maxxis-Rocky Mountain)
Sydor feel to number eight after taking the last weekend off, but she’s still fast enough to mix it up at the front of races, wherever she may go. Hopefully it was just a rest weekend rather than the end of her season, as there’s plenty of opportunity for her to break out this year against American fields, to add another win to her Canadian National Championship and her win at the Jim Horner GP.
9 (10). Sue Butler (Monavie-Cannondale.com)
Sue Butler stayed at home this weekend, and while lots of riders went lots of different places, Butler stayed at home and took a win in the Cross Crusade on Sunday. Butler garners some extra attention for getting her win wearing a costume, and also gets some extra points for the sole fact that a rider in the men’s race was dressed up as Butler. They do say imitation was the sincerest form of flattery. Butler will have to be content to pick up wins in the Cross Crusade, since it’s unlikely she’ll take home a UCI win this year.
10 (9). Laura Van Gilder (C3-Athletes Serving Athletes)
Laura Van Gilder hasn’t been having the same season that she did last year, but how can you blame her, as she’s in the middle of her fifth decade of life. Still, what she’s doing has been amazing. She’s racking up the podium appearances, and she doesn’t look to be stopping any time soon. If she sticks it out, she should grab at least one win this year. If she elects to head to Northampton this weekend, it could be a race she’d be in a good position to win. Lots of flat and lots of fast work to Van Gilder’s strengths.
Who fell off the list this week? Natasha Elliot (7)