by Grant Berry
Jeremy Powers (Rapha-Focus) takes the holeshot! © VeloVivid Cycling Photography
Jeremy Powers (Rapha-Focus) used every weapon in his arsenal to come back from a mid-race spill, and overcome Ryan Trebon (LTS-Felt) to win Day 2 in Fort Collins. Geoff Kabush (Maxxis-Rocky Mountain) continued to impress with his consistency, and raced into third.
Racers and spectators were greeted with weather and course conditions that could not be much different for the second day of racing in Colorado. The deep slop and endless tufts of wet grass dried out overnight and then was pounded down by the early classes of the day to set up the racing line with “hero dirt” for both Pro fields taking the start line. The level of traction and speed was staggering, and made for a much different race on a course that was mildly modified from Saturday’s race.
One thing that did not change was the winner of the Avid Shorty Holeshot award; Jeremy Powers ripped up the start straight and led Geoff Kabush by a bike length into the first turn followed closely by Trebon. As the field hit the flyover for the first time, Kabush assumed the lead followed by a quick starting Chris Jones (Rapha-Focus), Trebon, Powers, Christian Heule (Cannondale –Cyclocrossworld.com), Jamey Driscoll (Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com), Barry Wicks (Kona) and Ben Berden (Ops Ale-Stoemper). That group did not last long together as Powers’ teammate Jones hit out and gapped the group immediately. Trebon gave chase with Powers on his wheel, and the selection was made.
Once Trebon closed the gap to Jones, Powers was poised for an attack, and made his move at the railroad-tie infested run up. While Trebon ran, Powers rode, and was able to put some daylight between himself and the big man. After the fast bumpy downhill that followed, Powers had stretched his gap to four seconds. As they hit the barriers, which Powers also rode, Trebon seemed to close up slightly but Powers would have none of it and hit out again to stretch his lead to ten seconds. That gap would hold for a couple laps until Powers hit the ground in his least favorite corner on course.
Powers in front with some storm clouds brewing behind him. © Grant Berry
“I go down in the same corner every year at this place. I crashed there yesterday too, and last year as well. I don’t know what it is about that corner,” said Powers.
Once Trebon saw the carnage and passed the scuffed up Powers, he hit the gas hard himself, and his ten second deficit suddenly became a ten second lead.
“I punched it hard once I got to the front. At that point I felt I just had to go for it,” explained Trebon.
With endless traction, Trebon was able to put down his massive power and stretched the gap to a maximum of 15 seconds. Powers had picked himself off the ground and could be seen adjusting his helmet and shoes as he tried to regain composure, and refocus on the race that seemed as if it was his to lose.
Behind the two leaders, Kabush continued to ride in third, followed by a highly motivated Tristan Schouten (Cyclocrossracing.com-Blue Bikes) and Tim Johnson (Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com).
With two laps to go, Trebon held on to an eight second lead, and seemed to be fading slightly as he looked over his shoulder and could see Powers making small gains as he continued to ride the run up and also hop the barriers.
Entering the bell lap, Trebon clung to a four second advantage, and as they hit the run up for the last time, Powers stuck to his game plan and rode as Trebon ran. At the top, Powers had erased the deficit and was now on Trebon’s wheel. With half a lap to go, Powers surged past Trebon and it looked like it was going to come down to a sprint up the 200 meter finish straight.
As the riders hit the barriers for the last time, Powers had forced a small gap and elected to run and not take any chances.
“I didn’t have any blood in my hands, and I had a gap. I have jumped the barriers in that position just because in the past, and it has turned out to not be the right decision. I played it safe,” explained Powers.
As he sprinted up the climb that followed the barriers he did not look back and put all of his energy and efforts into the pedals. By the time they passed through the pits for the last time, Trebon appeared to be running on empty as Powers poured it on and the gap grew ever so slightly. As Powers came on to the finish straight, he had to time to sit up and enjoy his first USGP win of year for his new team. Trebon trailed in for second, followed by Kabush. Schouten pipped Johnson at the line for fourth.
“If people came out to watch, we gave them a show. I am going to enjoy this one,” Powers said with a smile.
As the series heads to the Louisville next month, Trebon will continue to wear the leader’s jersey as he has a 42 point lead over Powers, with Kabush trailing a further 27 points in third.
The Exergy US Gran Prix of Cyclocross presented by Greenware® resumes on November 12th and 13th in Louisville as the racers descend on Louisville, Kentucky, for the Derby City Cup presented by Papa Johns.
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