November 10th and 11th
The entire Cannondale p/b CyclocrossWorld.com team traveled to Louisville, Kentucky this weekend for rounds five and six of the USGP. This weekend's races not only offered some of the best quality racing in the country, they also offered the riders a sneak peak at what is to come in February when the 2013 World Cyclocross Championships will descend upon Eva Bandman Park.
In Saturday's Elite Women's event, Cannondale p/b CyclocrossWorld.com rider Kaitie Antonneau started more aggressively than usual against a stacked, international field. "I knew the sand pit was going to be a problem for a lot of riders, so I wanted to get there as close to the front as possible," said Antonneau.
Antonneau was right, as there was carnage behind her on the first pass through the sand. After making it through the safely, she settled into her own pace, eventually losing contact with the lead group of Katie Compton, Katerina Nash, Georgia Gould, and Helen Wyman.
"I just settled in and dropped back to a group for a little while. After a few laps, I broke out of that group and rode to the finish alone," said Antonneau, who eventually ended the day in 6th place, just 5 seconds behind 5th place Julie Krasniak.
In Saturday's Men's race, the Cannondale p/b CyclocrossWorld.com riders all suffered different fates.
After coming off a strong UCI C1 win in Cincinnati last weekend, Jamey Driscoll struggled on Saturday to find the legs that led him to that win. "I had a lot of confidence coming in to this weekend after Cincinnati, but my body just forgot there was a bike race today," said Driscoll of his disappointing 13th place finish.
Coming off a tough, two-week European campaign, Tim Johnson managed to fight back from a slow start on Saturday that saw him as far back as 12th place. Johnson managed to claw his way back up to 6th place by the finish, saying, "I made up as much as I could after that slow start. I burned some matches getting back to the lead group and when Powers hit the gas I just couldn't respond. It felt good to actually race, though, instead of just suffering out there."
The best result for the team on Saturday came from the 6' 5" man from Oregon who fought to the bitter end with the eventual winner, Jeremy Powers. "I don't think either Jeremy or I felt especially spry out there today," said Trebon. "I think it was more a matter of who felt less bad today rather than who felt better. I guess he felt less bad because I couldn't close a little gap he opened up on me in the end."
In Sunday's Women's event, Antonneau had hopes of cracking the top five, but it was not meant to be as she struggled to find her legs in the middle portion of the race. "My middle of my race was horrible," said Antonneau, "I don't know what happened. I'm not going to make any excuses because I don't have any."
In Sunday's Men's event, all three Cannondale p/b CyclocrossWorld.com men contended for the win, but they all fell just short with Johnson finishing 3rd, Trebon finishing 4th, and Driscoll finishing 5th.
Johnson corrected Saturday's start mistake and took the lead of the race early. After a few laps on the front, Trebon attacked hard with only Berden being able to match his pace. Powers was eventually able to bridge to the two leaders while Johnson stayed back in a small group with Driscoll, Danny Summerhill, and a few others.
Driscoll's legs appeared to have rebounded from Saturday's disappointing performance, but they still weren't good enough to go with Johnson when he decided to leave the group, a few laps later, in pursuit of the leaders.
"I had to chase pretty hard for the first three laps and when I got to the group I was smoked. That's when Trebon attacked and I just had to stay where I was. A few laps after Tim got away, I was able to get a gap in the long sand pit and I was lucky enough to hold everyone off until the finish."
While Johnson chased the lead three alone, Trebon bobbled in a difficult, off-camber, downhill section that forced him to run while Berden and Powers rode away. Trebon continued to chase and eventually caught Berden, who had been spit out by Powers.
"I caught Ben and continued to try to catch Powers while Ben sat in my draft," said Trebon. "After four laps, I was toast. I saw Tim was chasing and sat up for him to catch us, but when he did and the pace picked up, I just couldn't hang on for the finish."
Once he caught Trebon and Berden, Johnson proceeded to lead most of the last lap, but Berden made a pass on him heading into the sand pit and opened a small gap. The extra effort to get back to Berden by the final, paved finish stretch left Johnson with nothing left in the tank to sprint against Berden and he finished 3rd.
All four team members agree on one thing after this weekend: The Louisville venue is ready for the 2013 World Championships. "It's a great venue," said Johnson. "Louisville will be the place to be for all cyclists of every discipline. It's going to be a party and I hope everyone can come."