Photo by Jeremy Dunn
Here in the United States, cyclocross season is over. Sure, there may be a few races scattered here and there around the country after that muddy binge in Bend. But for us here at Pave, there’s only one thing to do before hanging up those ‘cross wheels, pulling out our rollers, and starting to train for spring road races
2010 United Stated Domestic Cyclocross Awards.
Men’s Rider of the Year: Jeremy Powers.
Was there any doubt? His overall victory in the US Grand Prix series showed consistent dominance and proved that he was the rider to beat at Nationals. The only thing that kept him out of the stars and stripes this year was coming out on the losing end of a brief tangle with eventual winner Todd Wells. Let’s look for him to target Nationals – and win it – in 2011.
Women’s Rider of the Year: Katie Compton.
Katie Fn Compton is a one-woman wrecking ball. She’ll wear the National Champion’s jersey for the seventh consecutive year, and she’s won three World Cup races and is ranked #1 in the world.
Runner up / Honorable Mention: Georgia Gould. She finished second to Compton at Nationals for the third time in five years and is a perpetual force to be reckoned with in domestic cyclocross.
Men’s Young Rider of the Year: Luke Keough.
This kid won two UCI races – including back to back wins at the Cycle-Smart International in Northampton, Mass – and raced very well throughout New England.
Women’s Young Rider of the Year: Katie Antonneau
The newest addition to the Cannondale/Cyclocrossworld team did not disappoint, picking up top honors in the U23 women’s race (and tenth in the elite) at nationals only a few hours after coming second in the Collegiate D1 field. The U23 women’s title was her first national championship in five years of trying and the first time she’d beaten Coryn Rivera at a championship event.
Race of the Year / Best Dramatic Victory: Jeremy Powers, USGP, day two, Portland Oregon.
In the final race of the USGP series, Powers and teammate Tim Johnson were tied for the series lead. With Nationals a week away, all eyes were on them. The two rode a terrific race, neck and neck until the final meters. Those viewing at home may have left fingernail marks in their desks from the tension. I know I did.
Most Improved Rider: Justin Lindine.
Lindine held the lead in the VERGE-NECCS series for most of the season until getting nipped by cyclocross stalwart Adam Myerson on the final day of the series. Better yet, though, he improved on his 39th at 2009 Nationals, riding to 11th place in Bend in 2010.
Biggest Surprise: Todd Wells winning Nationals.
Everybody picked Jeremy Powers to win, qualifying it with, “…but in those conditions, who knows what kind of a ride Todd Wells can pull out?” How often does the dark horse actually win? He rode a perfect race, clawing up to the lead group, tailing Powers, and then capitalizing on their tangle and holding off a hard-charging Trebon.
Jeremy Powers’ mechanical at Nationals. Cyclocross is an unpredictable combination of luck and skill. Powers crashed when he was riding at the edge of control, but the crash wouldn’t have removed him from contention had he not the misfortune of tangling with Todd Wells, who stepped on his brake and jammed up his wheel. It would have been good to see the Wells:Powers duel play out until the finish line, but the race got truncated by Luck reaching over the course tape.
Honorable Mention: Francis Mourey nipping Jamey Driscoll at CrossVegas. Driscoll is still a college student, and you get the sense that he can’t quite race at his potential until he can focus on cyclocross in the autumn. CrossVegas doubtless would have been a nice win for this quiet New England kid, but French National Champion Mourey overpowered Driscoll with a late sprint. Driscoll did, however, ride to another impressive Nationals result, this time taking fourth.
Regional Throw-Down Honorable Mention: New England’s net loss at Nationals. It came away with only two titles (thanks to Emma White and Julie Lockhardt), but lost those of Paul Curley, Kevin Hines, Johnny Bold, and Tim Johnson, and was shut out of the women’s elite podium despite high hopes in that field.
Best Performance by an Unknown: Matt Pacocha
A longtime mountain biker, Pacocha of Hudz-Subaru was the surprise winner of the Men’s 30-34 National Championship.
Comeback of the Year: Todd Wells
It’s hard to argue with coming back to cyclocross to win the National Championship. Kudos, Todd.
Best Technological Innovation: Avid Ultimate brakes
No longer will cyclocross nerds have to weigh the trade-offs between low-profile and wide-profile cantilever brakes. Avid made one that can do double-duty. Though, with disc brakes now UCI-authorized and bikes like the Specialized Carbon Crux disc on the horizon, is Avid a bit too late on the draw?
There you have it, Pave’s 2010 Domestic Cyclocross Awards. Did we leave anybody out? Did we slight your local hero? Let us know in the comments below.