The entire Cannondale p/b CyclocrossWorld.com team headed to Bend, Oregon this weekend for the final two rounds of the USGP of Cyclocross in the Deschutes Brewery Cup.
As is always the case in Bend, constantly changing weather led to last minute tire tread and tire pressure decisions. Rain in the area leading into the weekend promised for muddy conditions, but clearing skies and dropping temperatures left the courses dancing between muddy, greasy, and tacky.
In the weekend’s women’s events, Kaitlin Antonneau saw mixed results over both days. A more technical course played more to her favor on Saturday when she finished in fourth place behind Katerina Nash (Luna Chix), Georgia Gould (Luna Chix), and Caroline Mani (Raleigh/Clement). Sunday, however, was less technical and with less cooperative legs, Antonneau had to fight hard to muster a top-10 finish, ending up in 9th place on the day.
“I’ve been training a lot the last few weeks and on Saturday, my legs did what I have been expecting and hoping for,” said Antonneau. “On Sunday, though, the course was a little less technical and my legs weren’t there. I don’t know what happened, but I’ll just look keep building toward my races in Europe in a few weeks.”
In the men’s events, Cannondale p/b CyclocrossWorld.com teammates Ryan Trebon and Tim Johnson traded the top two spots on the podium both days while teammate Jamey Driscoll was a little off pace just missing the top-5 in each race.
On Saturday, Trebon traded the early pace setting with Garmin’s Danny Summerhill while Johnson sat behind. The high pace proved to be too much for most the pre-race favorites and before the race was even halfway through, the lead group was down to Trebon, Johnson, Summerhill and the U23 Cal Giant rider, Yannick Eckmann.
A bobble and bell-ringing crash from Summerhill shortly after the halfway point caught him out of the lead group and shortly after, Eckmann could no longer stay in contact.
“Ryan is so strong,” said Johnson of his teammate. “It’s takes a lot just to stay on his wheel.”
Trebon and Johnson worked together to establish their gap until two laps to go when they decided it was time to fight for the win, something they both wanted badly.
Trebon continued to keep the pace high, hoping he would be able to lose Johnson, but as they crossed the line to take the bell lap, Johnson took the lead in an effort to force a mistake from Trebon, but Johnson was unable to shake his teammate and with less than a half lap remaining, Trebon took the lead for the last time.
“Tim was pushing it really hard for most of the last lap. I think he was hoping I would make a mistake, but my legs were good and my bikes were good, so it didn’t happen.”
Driscoll rolled in with a group of five to finish in 7th place, a few seconds behind 3rd place finisher Adam Craig (Giant Rabobank Team).
In the men’s race on Sunday, Danny Summerhill took the hole shot and took control of the race early, but Trebon came around him after one lap and set an incredibly fast pace that put most of the riders in the lead group on their limit. Unfortunately, for Trebon, his legs weren’t feeling as good as he had hoped and it turned out he put himself on his limit as well.
Near the end of the 3rd lap, with Johnson leading his teammate, Trebon washed out his front wheel on a technical, downhill corner. This ended up being the small gap Johnson needed to escape from his competition for the rest of the day.
“My legs weren’t great and when I went hard it was too much for me and I started making little mistakes,” said Trebon of his bobble in the corner. “It didn’t matter, though. I wasn’t going to be able to stay with Tim today, anyways.”
Johnson’s early gap of 5 seconds at the start of the fourth lap grew steadily until it was more than 30 seconds just a few laps later.
“I pushed it in that section after Ryan had put everyone in a bit of trouble and when I looked back I saw I had a gap so I just kept going,” said Johnson. “I just kept ticking off the laps once I was alone.”
Behind Johnson, Trebon settled in with a sizable chase group that included Craig, Chris Jones (Rapha-Focus), Summerhill, Eckmann, and Ben Berden (Raleigh/Clement). Driscoll led a small group behind the Trebon group.
With two laps to go, Trebon felt he had regained his legs a bit and he hit the gas. Only Chris Jones and Adam Craig were able to match the pace. Jones played his hand at the start of the last lap in the flat, open sections of the course, but once they entered the more technical sections, Trebon came around him with Craig in tow and Jones lost contact for the last time.
Trebon continued to push all the way to the line eventually gaining a small, 5 second gap over 3rd place finisher Adam Craig.
Driscoll rolled in just as he had the day before, in 7th place, just a few seconds behind the chase group.
“I made some last minute choices that really helped me out today,” said Johnson. “I went with a Dugast Rhino front tire and the new Dugast Small Bird on the rear. This course changes so much every hour here that we had to make choices based on what we expected to happen over the course of our race. That’s the beauty of this team, we have the resources to do this and it paid off.”