USGP – The New Belgium Cup (C1/C2)
The expected showdown between Tim Johnson and Jeremy Powers was a moot point this past weekend in Colorado. Instead, Ryan Trebon, who skipped last weekend’s New England World Championships in Gloucester, continued to show his great form picking up a win and a second place in Fort Collins. Powers was the early animator on day one, but would eventually fade to third throughout the race, which was blown apart as riders slogged through deep mud and atrocious conditions. On Sunday, after the Powers and Trebon traded blows (and the lead), Powers eventually cut a 15-second Trebon lead before catching, passing, and going on to capture his first USGP race of the year. Powers’ form really seems to be coming around – though he’s not riding away from everybody else early, the way he did several times last year, he’s clearly developing the oomph to go toe-to-toe with a very on-form Trebon. This could make things very interesting over the next few weeks.
Geoff Kabush provided the real surprise this weekend with a pair of podium finishes, rocketing him to thrid overall in the USGP. It must be a significant confidence boost to him, as he went into the weekend with the feeling that his performance would make or break his cyclocross season. However, if you read our weekend preview, you wouldn’t have been too suprised with Kabush’s performance, or Tristan Schouten’s fourth place on Sunday, for that matter. One surprise that caught even the die hard cross junkies off guard was Yannick Eckmann. The young German, who lives and races in the US, has shown signs of superstardom as a junior, but his fifth on Saturday was incredibly impressive. Keep your eye on Eckmann.
As far as the Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld juggernaut goes, this weekend was a bit of a disappointment for the trio. Driscoll, who was in a great position to move into third overall, came up with a fourth on Saturday and ninth on Sunday. Christian Heule failed far worse picking up a ninth on Saturday and dropped out on Sunday because of some sort of cartilage damage to his ribs. This big news though was Tim Johnson’s lackluster performance. Johnson has admitted he planned a slower start to the season, but with a 13th and fifth, this may be too slow of a start. When will alarm bells start ringing for their squad – and what will they do about it?
NEPCX – Providence CX (C1/C2)
The story of the wekeend was Justin Lindine’s pair of UCI victories in the heart of Providence, RI. More impressive then picking up his first ever UCI victories was the dominating fashion in which Lindine did it. Saturday, he launched a viscous attack with five to go and never looked back. On Sunday, he simply rode away from a massive lead group midway through the fifth lap. The New Englander was one of our riders to watch this season and is clearly living up to the hype. With his victories, Lindine becomes one of two American riders to win a UCI race East of the Mississippi this year.
A couple subplots made for a lively weekend in Providence. Saturday’s race saw cyclocross guru Adam Myerson tangle with Derek St John after St John reportedly bungled a pass attempt – a disappointing blow for all involved, who were racing for 2nd place late in a C1 race. The next day, temperatures climbed, and Sunday’s race started with nearly a kilometer of pavement before hitting the grass. Course designer Tom Stevens it hearkened back to cyclocross in the early 1980s, which had more pavement than courses these days do. It may have contributed to the large front group, which numbered nearly 20 riders for much of the race – before Lindine put his stamp of authority on the riders, the course, and the kilometer of pavement by riding away from them all.
While many of the top European riders headed back to their homeland over the past few weeks, the Phildaelphia-based Swiss contingent made their presence known in Providence picking up a pair of top-ten finishes on Saturday. Meanwhile, the Canadian contingent did their part by putting Evan McNeely on the podium on Saturday and Derrick St. John on the podium on Sunday. In fact, the Canadians occupied three of the top ten spots on Saturday.