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Cross Vegas - C1
Las Vegas, USA, September 24, 2008
Trebon repeats, Compton upgrades at Cross Vegas
By Mark Zalewski, North American Editor in Las Vegas
The second year event Cross Vegas attracted huge crowds to a soccer complex west of the Vegas strip, easily surpassing last year's numbers. And the thousands were not disappointed in their trek into the real Las Vegas, with fast racing from an intense field of men and women. In the men's race, it was Ryan Trebon (Kona) going solo with 2.5 laps to go, notching his first win of the season, following two seconds last weekend, and repeating as winner of the event. In the women's race it was US champion Katie Compton (Spike) able to upgrade her second place from last year thanks to strong riding and a little bit of lady luck.
"Some people are just going to try to be opportunistic and so I wanted to make the race," Trebon told Cyclingnews about his decision to attack alone. "I saw every time we went hard it was just me, Tim [Johnson] and [Jonathan] Page with nobody else wanting to work, so I had to try something."
On the previous lap, Geoff Kabush (Maxxis) launched his own attack, lasting an entire lap – however, it seemed to be too early and the leading group of 12 chased him back. "It's what you have to do, you have to try your move," said Trebon about Kabush. "Nobody was doing anything out there. I think Page and Johnson did some work, then Geoff went and people were willing to sit-up. I was more frustrated, and then getting more power because of all the negative racing!"
"When Kabush went it was great because it gave us a rabbit to speed up to," said US champion Tim Johnson (Cyclocrossworld-Cannondale). "He was giving it all he could to nail a spot on the podium because I don't think he though he had the legs at the end if it was going to be a sprint. But it definitely made the race hard and it definitely wasn't going to be twelve guys coming to the line."
"I had a good lap of recovery [then] so I just punched it on the bumpy section," said Trebon about Kabush's lap off the front. "I figured as long as I could keep it hard I could go faster for like ten minutes – try to bring a couple of people with me and then set-up for the sprint."
The only rider to actually give serious chase of Trebon was Johnson, but too much hesitation created too much of a gap for him to close down by himself, giving him second place.
"Holy s#!t!" is how Johnson characterized Trebon's attack. And the speed of Trebon on the not-overly technical course, combined with a hesitation by Johnson, cost him the chance to ride alone with Trebon into the final lap.
"He attacked from that back side and I tried to get to him as quick as I could, but Jonathan [Page] was on my inside and I wanted to let him [chase,] but he didn't. I don't think Jonathan had such great legs, he didn't really kill it at the end like I thought he would. I tried to save as much as I could because I knew it was going to be full throttle. Then I had to go and that was hit – I just wish I hadn't hesitated, but I chased as hard as I could and I was cross-eyed!
The race was quite different than last year, with thirteen riders in the lead group deep into the racing at less than four laps to go. This could have been due to the riders in the field or a slightly more technical course with a few corners added to the mix – particularly in the final kilometre.
But one aspect of the race was identical to last year. With grass covering most of the course the speeds were high, and so was the power to maintain those speeds. "I tried to stay as far forward as I could because as soon as you come out of a sharp corner and hit the gas it gets too tough to keep up and the elastic would snap!" said Johnson.
Besides Johnson and Trebon in the lead group, other notable names included world champion mountain biker Christoph Sauser (Specialized), Geoff Kabush (Maxxis), Jeremy Powers (Cyclocrossworld-Cannondale), Todd Wells (GT), Thomas Frischknecht (Swiss Power), Matt Shriver (Jittery Joe's) and mountain biker Adam Craig (Giant).
Craig was the show-off rider in the group, choosing to bunny-hop the barriers for much of the race – and only crashing once! "Hazardous!" is what he called his barriers tactic. "I'm not that good at it, but it was my attack – come around the corners and then bunny-hop! I didn't think I would fall down but I did – but people like crashing!"
"I haven't been running much at all and if I can stay on my bike then it's better for me," said Craig. "I knew that I could ride the corners pretty fast – so I rallied them and got a gap." Unfortunately that rally came with both Trebon and Johnson already away, leaving him with third place.
Of course one of the other attractions of the night was the presence of a certain 7-time Tour de France winner on the start grid. Number 38, Lance Armstrong (Livestrong), was given the first starting spot not taken up by UCI point earners. And despite a crash near him in the scramble for the hole shot, he was off and racing with the field. A few riders in front of him were gapped on the second lap and he spent the rest of the race working in the chase group, taking hard pulls with former teammate Tony Cruz (BMC).
"It was a long day and I was a little shocked by the start," he said. "These guys ride fast, there is not doubt about that. They are obviously well-trained for this. It looks so easy on the bike... It's not so easy, and hats off to these guys!"
"I didn't have any grand ambition or big dreams that I would ride away. They are strong and clearly it is their time of year. But it feels good. I come as a cyclist first and foremost, and as a bicycle shop owner as well. It's great to see the support out there, especially from the young kids who thought we would just go across [the gap] on the last lap and win the race!
When asked about the rest of his cyclo-cross plans, he joked, "They just got reevaluated! But really it's hard, being up at 2:30 a.m. Vegas time on the east coast and then flying here all day – I would need more and better preparation to jump into an hour race and go for it.
Compton duels with Nash for win
The women's race came down to a battle between two – US champion Katie Compton (Spike) and Luna Chix rider Katrina Nash. Each seemed equally matched to the other, down to the mistakes in the final kilometre – but the last mistake was by Nash and Compton capitalized on it for the win.
"I unclipped and slid out in one of the corners, so she had a gap and I was chasing, chasing, chasing!" said Compton about the final kilometre. "Then she did the same thing and I thought, 'Now is the time!' I sprinted hard after that but she closed it and so I attacked hard out of the last corner and it was close to the finish."
The two had traded strong attacks during the final lap, with Nash putting in a dig that almost got Compton on the ropes – on the longest uphill of the course. But Compton expected the attack and was prepared. "She was definitely stronger there and I was hurting, so I knew she was going to go there every time and I was expecting it. We attacked each other a couple of times because I wanted to see what her sprint was like."
"We took turns attacking and couldn't get away from each other," said Nash. "I took that corner a little too sharp, had to unclip and Katie got away."
Compton also had some good karma flowing her way earlier in the race. Nash's teammate Georgia Gould was with the other two, setting-up a like 2-on-1 attack-fest for the final laps. But Gould crashed over the barrier section half-way through the race and was dropped from the leaders.
"I clipped my... something, and tripped on the second barrier so I did a full-on swan dive into the soft grass!" said Gould. "I tried to scramble because I knew I couldn't lose the wheel. I caught back on the downhill but I had dropped my chain so when I tried to pedal I just stopped."
Though Gould managed to get up and going again, Compton kept the pace high to keep her from rejoining Nash on the front, resulting in a third-place finish. "She was working super hard and I thought she was going to be able to come back," said Nash. "But Katie kept looking back and stayed on the gas so she wouldn't have two of us to deal with!"
McCormack tops industry race
A new category started the evening's racing, with the 'wheelers and dealers' category showcasing racers from within the bike industry. While a ringer rule was in effect, not allowing anyone with a UCI license, former US cyclo-cross champion Mark McCormack is retired from racing and working for Fuji bicycles – in a real job too! So it was no surprise when he made it to the leaders and then rode away solo for the win.
"I didn't know it was going to be three laps, but then I saw two to go on the first lap!" he said regarding the short but fast race. "I was already in the lead group because it was a really long lap and we had an additional opening circuit. I started about five rows back and the pace was fast so it was hard to move up. But the gaps started to form and I was able to pass guys."
"I got to the front and there were four guys figuring out what was going on – until I got there and it made it much easier!"
McCormack raced in the inaugural race last year, but as a professional, finishing fifteenth. Still he thought the additions to the course did make a difference.
"It was harder than last year with more tight turns. And the grass is slicker. People say it isn't that fast but it is fast – the pro guys will make it look fast but it takes a lot of power going to the pedals!"
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Michael Robertson/www.velodramatic.com
Images by Mitch Clinton/www.clintonphoto.com
Images by Dave McElwaine/www.trailwatch.net
Elite Men 1 Ryan Trebon (USA) Kona 2 Tim Johnson (USA) Cannondale/Cyclocrossworld.com 3 Adam Craig (USA) Giant Mountain Bike Team 4 Jonathan Page (USA) Planet Bike 5 Thomas Frischknecht (Swi) Scott-Swisspower Team 6 Geoff Kabush (Can) Team Maxxis 7 Christoph Sauser (Swi) Specialized 8 Florian Vogel (Swi) Scott Swiss Power Team 9 Jeremy Powers (USA) Cyclocrossworld.com 10 Jonathan Baker (USA) Vitamin Cottage P/B Xp Companies 11 Matt Shriver (USA) Jittery Joe’S 12 Todd Wells (USA) Team GT 13 Michael Mueller (Swi) Planet Bike 14 Andy Jacques-Maynes (USA) Specialized/Kmc Pb Cal Giant 15 Joachim Parbo (Den) CCV Leopard Cycles 16 Jamey Driscoll (USA) Cyclocrossworld.com 17 Barry Wicks (USA) Kona 18 Troy Wells (USA) Team Clif Bar 19 Adam Myerson (USA) Cycle-Smart 20 Derrick St John (Can) Stevens Cross 21 Antonio Cruz (USA) BMC Bikes 22 Lance Armstrong (USA) 23 Tim Heemskerk (Ned) United Cycle Racing 24 Jake Wells (USA) Mafia Racing 25 Carl Decker (USA) Giant 26 Erik Tonkin (USA) Kona 27 Brent Prenzlow (USA) Celo Pacific/Alan 28 JR Grabinger (USA) Vitamin Cottage P/B Xp Companies 29 Paul Brooks (USA) Newton/Sierra Nevada 30 Sam Krieg (USA) Krieg Cycling 31 Shadd Smith (USA) Trek 32 Bradley White (USA) Vitamin Cottage P/B Xp Companies 33 Matt Ankney (USA) Kccx/Verge 34 Frederick Bottger (USA) Sixtufit/Vitamix 35 Brady Kappius (USA) Team Clif Bar 36 Nicholas Stevens (GBr) Waltworks/Fuentesdesign/Americanclassic/Panaracer 37 John Mckeen (USA) Team Bearclaw 38 Stuart Bowers (GBr) Scott Uk 39 John Behrens (USA) Bailey Bikes 40 Aaron Bouplon (USA) Rocky Mounts / Izze 41 Justin Robinson (USA) California Giant / Specialized 42 Robert Foshag (USA) Saturn Of Toledo 43 Benjamin Popper (USA) Hrs /Rock Lobster 1 lap 44 Jason Siegle (USA) Bear Valley Bikes 45 Scott Keller (USA) Schampa 46 Justin England (USA) Toyota-United Pct 47 Brandon Akers (USA) Bode 48 Mike Hall (USA) Spike Shooter 49 Charlie Pendry (USA) Inland Construction 50 Cody Kaiser (USA) California Giant Strawberries/Specialized 51 John Bailey (USA) Bailey Bikes 52 Derek Hermon (USA) Bear Valley Bikes 53 Christopher Consorto (USA) Henry’S Bikes 54 Rich Maile (USA) Specialized Bicycles 55 Russell Stevenson (USA) Benaroya Research Institute 56 Robert Marion (USA) Kenda/Titus/Hayes 57 Greg Wittwer (USA) Alan North America Cycling Team 2 laps 58 Ben Raby (USA) KCCX/Verge 59 Yuki Saito (USA) Waltworks/Fuentesdesign 60 Jimmy Archer (USA) BMC Bikes 61 Russell Stevenson (USA) Benaroya Research Institute 62 Cody Peterson (USA) Scott Bicycles 63 Jon Gallagher (USA) Cole Sport 64 William Marshall (USA) Kccx/Verge 65 Chance Noble (USA) California Giant / Specialized 66 Chad Cheeney (USA) Durango Devo 67 Brendan Shafer (USA) Wooly Mammoth 68 Andrew Messer (USA) Drt Racing 69 Ali Goulet (USA) Ridley Factory Team Elite Women 1 Katerine Compton (USA) Spike Shooter 41.58 2 Katerina Nash (Cze) Luna Chix Racing Team 0.03 3 Georgia Gould (USA) Luna Chix Racing Team 0.07 4 Kelli Emmett (USA) Giant Bicycles 0.18 5 Rachel Lloyd (USA) California Giant Berry Farms/Specialized 0.19 6 Susan Butler (USA) Monaviecannondale.co 1.26 7 Wendy Simms (Can) Kona 2.12 8 Deidre Winfield (USA) Velo Bella - Kona 2.25 9 Meredith Miller (USA) Aaron’s Pro Cycling Team 2.26 10 Kari Studley (USA) Velo Bella - Kona 3.31 11 Laura Van Gilder (USA) C-3 Sollay (Cross Team) Cheerwine 3.52 12 Kathy Sherwin (USA) Velo Bella - Kona 4.09 13 Shannon Gibson (USA) Velobella 4.16 14 Barbara Howe (USA) Velo Bella 4.26 15 Natasha Elliott (Can) Emd Serono/Stevens 4.29 16 Sarah Maile (USA) Ventana Mountain Bikes 4.36 17 Josie Jacques-Maynes (USA) Specialized/KMC Pb Cal Giant 5.00 18 Tiffany Pezzulo (USA) Park City Iron Man 5.18 19 Eszter Horanyi (USA) Waltworks/Fuentes Design 5.25 20 Melodie Metzger (USA) California Giant / Specialized 5.48 21 Kate Scheider (USA) Bikes Belong-Mafia Racing 5.55 22 Kendall Ryan (USA) Team Cicle Presented By Voler 6.10 23 Kelli Jones (Can) Sugoi 6.22 24 Jennifer Tilley (USA) Velo Bella 6.39 25 Kris Walker (USA) Krieg Cycling 6.47 26 Lana Atchley (USA) Bailey Bikes 7.52 27 Marian Jamison (USA) Velo Bella 8.47 28 Dorothy Wong (USA) Team Cicle Presented By Voler 1 lap 29 Deb Sweeney Whitmore (USA) BMW-Bianchi 30 Heidi Kanayan (USA) Team Cicle 31 Christy Blakely (USA) BMW-Bianchi