With the bulk of the elite US cross scene taking a break—minus the World Cup-bound Cyclocrossworld.com team—Delaware’s two-day UCI race at Granogue provided ample opportunities for lesser-known riders to shine. The odds-on favorite was current MAC leader Valentin Scherz, who stormed onto the scene last year at Granogue. However, this year the U23 star was outdone by 7-time National Champion, Jesse Anthony. Also throwing their hats in the ring were New England standout Justine Lindine, and young Adam McGrath.
Anthony arrived in Delaware fresh from a bit of rest as he transitioned from a lengthy road season to what he hopes will be a successful cross season. If Saturday was any indication, he has much to look forward to as the New Englander took off from a small group on the second lap and never looked back. Behind, McGrath and Lindine worked well together, fending off Scherz and the rest of a talented Mid-Atlantic field. McGrath won the sprint for second and Scherz came in a bit later, finishing fourth.
Day Two at Granogue provided riders with a less windy, but more technical course. With the technical nature of the course, most expected Scherz to grab the win and his first UCI victory. However, Sunday’s course was about 300 meters too long for the young Swiss rider. Jesse Anthony tried to take-off much like the previous day’s race, but was quickly reeled back in by Scherz and Lindine. Scherz was the next rider to make a move and with about 3 laps to go, he appeared to have the race wrapped-up. However, Anthony slowly crawled his way across the gap and caught Scherz with less than half a lap to go. The duo went toe-to-toe to the line, with Anthony pulling away within the last 300 meters. Lindine held-on for third.
While Anthony stole the show in Granogue, another US standout took on Canada’s top CX’ers in Toronto as Davide Frattini picked-up a pair of UCI wins—bringing his total this year to four. With Canadian National Champion Geoff Kabush noticeably absent, the rest of the country did their best to stop the Italian. Behind, Derrick St. John settled for second both days while Aaron Schooler and Andrew Watson finished third on Saturday and Sunday respectively.
Meanwhile, Cyclocrossworld.com’s trio of Jeremy Powers, Jamey Driscoll, and Tim Johnson travelled to Aigle, Switzerland for Round One of the UCI World Cup. Each member of the trio finished inside the top-30 with Powers coming across the line in 20th, Driscoll 24th, and Johnson 26th. All in all, it was a successful trip. Look for more coverage and a complete breakdown of the race in the International Power Rankings Thursday.
With many of the top riders taking breaks, it was an interesting weekend in the Power Rankings. Nobody new has made it onto the list, despite solid rides from Justin Lindine and Derrick St. John. Even Jesse Anthony’s two wins weren’t enough for him to crack the top-ten—at least not yet. In fact, the top four riders remain in the same places for the second week in a row. Let’s see where everyone lines-up before this weekend’s Kentucky showdown.
Domestic Power Rankings – Week #5
1. Tim Johnson (1) – Although Johnson’s World Cup showing was a bit of a disappointment, he still put in a solid race. He finished around 20-seconds behind Powers, but admitted he had horrible legs. Regardless, Johnson is still the best racer in the US and should prove it at this weekend’s rounds of the USGP in Kentucky.
2. Jeremy Powers (2) – In Switzerland, Powers came-in as the second-best US finisher, picking-up a top-20 result in the process. Believe it or not, Powers has accumulated more UCI points this season than anyone else in Kentucky.
3. Ryan Trebon (3) – Trebon decided to take the weekend off and head back to the West Coast before this weekend’s round of the USGP. However, while rest and relaxation are important, he missed-out on valuable UCI points in Delaware. Needless to say, we will soon find out how that plan works out.
4. Jamey Driscoll (4) – The third member of the Cyclocrossworld.com team managed a solid 24th place in Aigle—and his devotion to his education should be noted. After skipping a race last weekend to take care of his studies, he flew to Europe late in the week after a few exams. He left almost as soon as the race was over to return to Vermont for more classwork. Imagine if he were a full-time professional!
5. Davide Frattini (9) – Frattini has put any questions about consistency or his ability to win races behind him with another pair of UCI wins in Toronto. While the field was decidedly weaker than what he will face this weekend, that kind of success is a huge confidence booster. Perhaps he can land on the podium in Kentucky.
6. Valentin Scherz (6) – Scherz looked poised to win on Sunday after some mishaps and missteps left him settling for fourth on Saturday—unfortunately it wasn’t meant to be. Still, Scherz continues to get closer to the top step of the podium each week. It will be interesting to see how his progression—and disappointment—translates into results this weekend.
7. Todd Wells (10) – After yet another week of rest, Wells will be back in action with the rest of the best in Kentucky. Last year he took some time off before embarking on an extremely successful end to the season. Despite the time away, Wells has the ability to win this weekend—as long as his legs aren’t stale from the lack of racing.
8. Luca Damiani (5) – Damiani was one of the many US cross racers who used this weekend as a break before the next rounds of the USGP. Like Scherz, he continues to get closer to the top step of the podium, but will have to face the cream of the crop in Kentucky. I think a top-5 on either day would be a sign of continued success.
9. Tristan Schouten (7) – The USGP series is far from over and Schouten is one of a few riders with an outside chance of winning the overall. I don’t think that he will, but his consistent results leave him positioned for a breakthrough should other men falter.
10. Geoff Kabush (8) – Instead of wearing his national colors in Toronto, Kabush took the weekend off before making a run at a USGP overall. He’s another rider whose results have continually improved over the past few weeks. I think a win might be out of the question, but a strong ride could put him on the podium.
Obviously all the stars will be at Rounds Three and Four of the USGP in Louisville, Kentucky competing on an early version of the 2013 World Championship course. That said, the New England crowd might be a little thin in Louisville due to a pair of UCI races in New Gloucester, ME. Anybody looking for some “easy” UCI points—and those in contention for the NECCS title will most likely head there. It should be a fun weekend.
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