The three Cannondale p/b CyclocrossWorld.com elite men flew to Los Angeles, California this weekend for Saturday’s final round of the Cross After Dark series and Sunday’s UCI event.
Uncharacteristically foul weather turned what most anticipated being a warm, dry weekend of into two days of racing on wet, sloppy mud.
Trebon entered Saturday’s race within striking distance of the Cross After Dark series leader, Ben Berden (Raliegh/Clement). A win was almost a certain requirement to take the overall and when the lead group of four was pared down to just the three Cannondale pb/CyclocrossWorld.com riders and a lonely Berden, the odds seemed to be in Trebon’s favor.
It was Trebon’s teammate Driscoll, however, who ended up being the rider capable of escaping from the group when he countered an attack from Johnson on one of the few long, straight, muddy drags on the course.
“I pushed it at the start of one of the two long straightaways with a little less than three laps to go. Ryan and Tim both looked at Ben to chase but he didn’t react quickly enough and I got a big enough gap to hold on for the win,” said Driscoll.
Trebon managed to take the 2nd spot on the podium, but Berden bested Johnson for the 3rd spot earning him enough points to hold of Trebon for the overall series title.
The rain stopped shortly after the men’s race on Saturday, and as the course tried to shed itself of the excess moisture, what had been a wet, soupy mud turned into thick, sticky mud that stuck to riders’ equipment like glue for Sunday’s event.
Disappointed with the previous day’s result, Johnson was determined to redeem himself on Sunday and chose to push the pace from the very start of the race.
Johnson got away early and looked poised to ride in for the win alone but with two laps remaining, Berden put in a huge effort to bridge to Johnson with Trebon in tow. As soon as Berden made contact, however, he blew up and Johnson and teammate Trebon left him behind.
Saturday’s winner, Driscoll, was clearly paying for the previous day’s efforts as he struggle to stay in the top five.
“I’ve been paying for my day one efforts in some of the day two races this year, but my goals this season are all one day events,” said Driscoll referring to the US National Championships and World Championships. “Either way, I am confident right now.”
Johnson and Trebon continued to push the pace at the front of the race and when Trebon had to put a foot down in one of the final corners leading to the finish stretch, Johnson was able to get a big enough gap to take the win, his third of the season.
“I went as fast as I could in those last, few corners,” said Johnson. “I heard Ryan take a foot out and I knew that was all I needed to ride in alone for the win.”
Trebon finished in 2nd place and Berden held on for the last step on the podium.
Next weekend, the team heads to Bend, Oregon for the final two races of the USGP of Cyclocross.
Photo Credit: Wil Matthews