It took less then 30-seconds on Sunday for Jeremy Powers to lose his shot at a national title. His crash midway through the race left many scratching in disbelief. Meanwhile, Todd Wells collected himself, remounted his bike, and took-off in pursuit of a third National Championship.
The 2010 US Cyclocross National Championships were billed to provide one of the most exciting and interesting Elite Men’s races in the event’s history. Over 100 riders toed the start line in Bend, Oregon with hopes of winning the nation’s most prestigious race and title. But in the end, the muddy course would prove troublesome for many, including Trebon and ultimately, Powers.
From the gun, Trebon took the holeshot, but it was Powers who put in the first real move of the day less than a minute into the race. A five-man lead group quickly formed containing Powers, Trebon, Tim Johnson, Chris Jones, and Barry Wicks. Wells eventually made his way up to the lead group as well and then immediately went after Powers. By the end of the second lap, it was clear that Powers and Wells were in a class of their own as they extended their gap to a hard-chasing Trebon.
Then suddenly, everything changed as Powers went down in front of Wells. After untangling their bikes, Wells took-off while Powers dealt with the realization that his bike was un-ridable. As he struggled with his machine, Trebon blew by, desperately trying to chase down Wells. He came painstakingly close, but was never able to close the gap. Powers finally received a new bike, but had to settle for third. We’ll never know what could have been had Powers and Wells kept things upright for the entire race.
After four months of racing, the domestic season has effectively come to an end. With only a handful of races left on the calendar stateside, it’s time to present our final Domestic Power Ranking of the season.
Domestic Power Rankings – Final Week
1. Jeremy Powers (1) – Powers retains the #1. Despite not winning on Sunday, Powers showed he was one of the strongest riders all season. Overall, he won 10 races this year, the NACT and USGP overalls, and is the top-ranked US rider right now. More importantly, his worst result of the year was his seventh place finish in Vegas. Clearly, he’s the best rider in the US.
2. Tim Johnson (2) – The past few weeks have not been kind to the former National Champion. After a two-week trip to Europe, Johnson really hasn’t been able to get everything to click. While he refuses to make excuses, there are many available including extensive travel, illness and injuries. That said, Johnson was one of the top riders in the US this year and despite tailing-off lately, he remains in the #2 spot. I expect his next European foray to be very interesting.
3. Ryan Trebon (3) – If you thought Trebon looked oddly comfortable in second place on Sunday, you’re right—it’s a position he’s become accustomed to this year. Trebon only managed to win two races this season, but wound-up on the podium 10 times and never finished outside the top-10. Despite dealing with mechanicals and injuries all season, he was able to rebound every time. That’s good enough for #3.
4. Todd Wells (4) – Yes, despite winning the biggest race of the year, Wells doesn’t move up at all. These rankings are about the season as a whole, not just one race. Up until Sunday, Wells didn’t have a win this season—in fact, he’s only been on the podium four times. Still, he rode a near perfect race en route to his third National Championship. His victory in Bend capped-off a remarkable year in which he also won the XC and Short Track titles on his mountain bike.
5. Chris Jones (5) – Jones rocketed to the front of the lead group during the first lap of Sunday’s race. However, the treacherous course and full-throttle pace quickly thwarted his chances for a national title. In fact, his 15th-place finish marked his worst result of the year and only the second time he finished outside the top-10. Despite the setback, Jones made significant progress this season. While he failed to win a race, he finished on the podium nine times. Next year should be a big one for Jones.
6. Jamey Driscoll (6) – “The Studious One” finished fourth on Sunday, just ahead of his teammate Tim Johnson. Driscoll won one race this year and seems destined for more success in the coming years. Once he graduates, it will be interesting to see how good he can become once able to dedicate all of his time to the sport.
7. Davide Frattini (n/a) – Considering he only raced for two months, Frattini’s results were very impressive. He won four UCI races this year and only finished outside the top-10 once. However, his victories came against significantly smaller and weaker fields. That said, Frattini’s one of those guys you wish would race a full season—who knows what he could do.
8. Geoff Kabush (8) – Kabush remains in the eight spot and is the only non-US based rider in the ranking. Kabush won a round of the USGP this year and had one of his most consistent seasons in years. The Canadian’s another rider who only finished outside the top-10 once. He also managed nine top-5 finishes.
9. Luke Keough (n/a) – Some may question Keough’s inclusion on this list, especially since his only race outside of the East coast was a DNF in the U23 National Championship. However, when you look at his results and age, his season becomes more impressive. Keough picked-up three victories and his worst result of the season was ninth. Even though he rode a considerably smaller schedule than most, he accomplished this while competing in the toughest region in the US: New England.
10. Adam Craig (n/a) – After a strong mountain bike campaign, Craig finished seventh on Sunday, capping-off one of his most successful cross seasons in years that included a pair of victories and five top-5 finishes. In addition, Craig won the Single Speed category in Bend, making him the first US National Champion in that category.
Dropped this Week: Jesse Anthony (7), Adam Myerson (9) and Zach McDonald (10).
In my attempt to predict every US National Champion, I experienced a successful first day, but took it on the chin in Day 2. I rebounded nicely on Day 3 though, going 3 for 6 with two of my picks finishing second, thus raising my overall tally to 13 of 29 races picked correctly. Although I only had two predictions correct on Sunday, I had two riders finish second and one third. So, overall I went 15 for 35, putting me just below 50% for the 4-day event. Next year I plan on making some changes so all my second and third places finishers don’t hurt so bad.
What a season it has been! Virtually all of the riders in the rankings have experienced great highs and devastating lows. Next year will feature a variety of changes, including an expanded schedule as Nationals move to January. Best of luck to everyone as they head into the off-season. For those continuing on to Europe and Worlds, we will be watching and updating everyone with what’s going on. Now of course, it’s time to turn our heads to Europe—their season is just heating up.
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