CrossVegas bills itself as the USA’s biggest cyclocross race. Held before throngs of Interbike attendees, it has a festive atmosphere, aided in part by the fact that it’s the first time the country’s top pros race against each other. How did North Americans fare against visiting Europeans? They acquitted themselves well against a field that included two-time World Champion Bart Wellens, and strong teams from Rabobank and Telenet-Fidea – albeit following a podium consisting of Rabobank’s Lars Van der Haar, Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com’s Christian Huele, and Telenet-Fidea’s Rob Peeters (who provided what is probably the best post-race interview possible). And so, following CrossVegas, a run down of the North American Power Rankings:
1. Jeremy Powers once again takes the honors, finishing 4th (as the top American) at Cross Vegas.
2. Christian Huele isn’t American – he’s the Swiss Champion – but he’s racing for an American team on the North American circuit, and he rode himself into 2nd place at Cross Vegas. Surely a strong start to the season.
3. Ryan Trebon might be the best American rider most likely to get shut down in any given race. His 5th place at Cross Vegas belies the fact that he spent the hour chasing with a bunch of Euros.
4. Jamey Driscoll put time in off the front this week. Any week you get chased down by Bart Wellens has to be a good week.
5. Tim Johnson claims “early season form” and was caught up behind a crash
6. Todd Wells put in a quiet Cross Vegas. It’s to be expected. If he’ll race a full season to defend his Stars and Stripes he’ll need to start slowly.
7. Zach MacDonald – Powers’ teammate on Rapha-Focus finished just outside the top ten. A good sign from the consistent youngster.
8. Jonathan Page - With a season that will include some North American and much European racing, Page – like others – will likely be starting slow. Fourteenth place at Cross Vegas isn’t much, but it’s hard to write off a guy who’s finished 2nd at the World Championships.
9. Ben Berden – like Huele, Berden is a European racing a North American season. Pulling in 12th at Cross Vegas is an early indicator that the former U23 Belgian Champ might be fighting his way back up to the front of the group.
10. Geoff Kabush – Not much to report from the Canadian, but with the USGP starting soon, I’m confident we can expect big things.
Dropped this week: Chris Jones, Adam Myerson.
This weekend’s racing features a thorough schedule of C2 racing – the last weekend of racing before U.S. Gran Prix of Cyclocross – North America’s major cyclocross series – gets underway. With racing from Washington to Baltimore, the pros will be is likely to be focusing on building their form while local elites dominate the action.