As usual, we follow up yesterday’s round-up of cyclocross news and analysisÂ with North American Power Rankings, taking a look at the rise and fall of riders on the American racing circuit. The season is in full swing after the one-two punch of the U.S. Gran Prix of Cyclocross – so where do our pros stand?
1. Ryan Trebon gets top honors, namely due to two podiums (including one win) at the USGP. His Saturday is a fine feather in his career’s cap – beating two-time World Champ Bart Wellens and his teammate Rob Peeters is no mean feat. We’ve said that Trebon may be able to take advantage of the dissolution of Powers and Johnson’s team bond, but it seems that’s uncharitable to Trebon, whose recent success suggests he’s hit a stride that few can match. Â
2.Â Jamey DriscollÂ – the young Vermonter gets a boost in the rankings from a consistent weekend with 5th and 7th at the USGP. It’s a dramatic bump for him, but considering that most of his rivals were unable to sustain two days of racing in varied conditions, we think it’s deserved.
3. Jonathan PageÂ – while other North Americans were bogged down in Sunday’s USGP mud, it was Page who chased Wellens and Peeters. Page’s European experience proved valuable over his fellow Americans, but he leaves for a European season right as he finds form. Good timing. We’ll see if he can parlay it into an appearance on the European Power Rankings.
4. Christian HeuleÂ – for a while on Sunday, the Swiss Champion looked ready to hunt down the Telenet-Fidea’s charge through the mud. It didn’t pan out, but Heule’s been reeling in steady and strong results this season. Â
5. Jeremy PowersÂ – has J-Pow’s hunt for early season wins tired him out? Has he lost a step from last season? 9th place on Sunday is considerably further down on the results sheet than we’re used to seeing him.
6. Tim JohnsonÂ – we’re glad to find out that TJ’s injury, leading him to abandon Sunday’s race, is minor. TJ’s still waiting to hit his stride – last thing he’d need is an injury setting him back.
7. Ben Berden – this former U23 Belgian Champ continues to race strongly on the North American circuit.
8. Justin Lindine – The reigning East Coast bright spot is building his form and starting to keep up with the likes of Nicholas Bazin, Ian Field, and Tom Van den Bosch.
9. Geoff Kabush continues scratching out decent top ten results. Finishing 8th and 9th at the USGP, he was one of the few to perform consistently both days.Â
10. Troy Wells – On a weekend where National Champ Todd Wells struggled at the USGP, it was Troy Wells who reeled in a 16th and a 10th (in the mud) to sneak on to the end of this week’s Power Rankings.Â
I think J-pow should be a little higher up. He rode really well for 90% of USGP #1. I would even venture to say he was dominant , putting Wellens on the ropes. He had a few late mishaps that may have cost him the race. Maybe he burned his matches too soon but, once he finds his step I think he will have a hot mid season. Trebon was very patient. Powers looked faster than Huele and Driscoll, for sure.
Yup, I've taken some heat for my bold claim about Powers. (Lot of Powers fans in the house…)
My sense is that the Power Rankings aren't an objective measure of performance. If they were, we wouldn't need to publish them – we could just link to the top ten of the latest C1 race here in the states. Rather, they're an alchemy of ability and expectation; J-Pow's got a lot of expectation on his plate, as the best CX rider in the country, with Nats nicked from his back due to an unfortunate mechanical (or a lapse in concentration and its natural repercussions, depending on where you stand), and on a new team. And I don't think he's quite lived up to expectations this season. It raises eyebrows, even if his "below expectations" can still beat somebody else's "at expectations."
These are also intended to generate some conversation, so I'm glad you chimed in. I'm sure we could put ten cx nerds in a box and come up with twelve different Power Rankings even with the same pool of riders to choose from (and even without the process involving tubular glue fumes).