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Photo ©: Bettini

US Cyclo-cross Championships - CN

Kansas City, Missouri, USA, December 11-14, 2008

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Race 15 - December 14: Elite Men,  

Complete live report

Live commentary by Steve Medcroft with reporting from Laura Weislo in Kansas City, Missouri

13:31 CST

The men are lining up for the final Championship race of the day.

The temperature is still dropping - low twenties now but the course remains dry.

The favorites are all smiles today: Jonathan Page, Ryan Trebon, Tim Johnson are on the front row.

13:35 CST
To the roar of the crowd, the 135-rider strong men's field are away!

Andy Jaques-Maynes takes the hole shot with Jonathan Page on his wheel.

Unbelievably, the semi-naked fans that were runing alongside the women in short-shorts and boots (but nothing else) are still out there.

13:36 CST
Todd Wells, Ryan Trebon and Jeremiah Bishop are right behind. Johnson is right there as well. Jamey Driscoll and Jeremy Powers are together right behind.

13:38 CST
It's a long string of riders on the straightaway heading for the hill but Ryan Trebon is breaking off the front by four bike length with Jonathan Page the next rider on course behind him.

But all the favorites are right in the ten-man group behind and we'll see how this very early move by Trebon works out.

13:39 CST
Trebon rode the s-curves on the side of the hill. Page follows but on foot. Which adds another bike length to his lead over Page.

13:40 CST
Tim Johnson is in the mix, about the sixth rider on course.

13:42 CST
The seven riders at the front of the race come together - Trebon, Page, Jaques-Maynes, Johnson...

13:43 CST
Now the next chasing group catches on as the leaders look around at each other and into the second lap we have a bunch of more than ten riders including all the favorites.

13:49 CST
The lead group is now eight strong as a couple of riders succumb to the effort. Todd Wells has attached the group and has about five seconds gap but the elastic is not stretching far enough. Trebon, Page and Johnson are all still in the lead group.

13:55 CST
Todd Wells fall back into the lead group again. The leaders are now five-strong with Trebon, Jonathan Page, Tim Johnson, Jamey Driscoll and Jesse Anthony up front. Todd Wells fell back after his attack but is close behind and will likely stick with the leaders.

Trebon led through the hills again. Page is directly behind. Trebon rode again and Page ran so Trebon has a small gap.

13:55 CST
Jesse Anthony attacks!!

13:55 CST
Driscoll attacks the rest of the group as Trebon puts his hands up and looks around at Page and Johnson.

13:58 CST
Driscoll is working to get up to multi-time junior and U23 national champion Anthony's wheel.

Back in the chase group with all the favorites, Todd Wells has worked his way to the front and is leading the effort to keep the two wild-card riders close. It would seem that Trebon is frustrated that his biggest rivals (Page and Johnson) want to play possum in the group and he is careful not to take all the responsibility for setting the pace.

13:59 CST
Anthony are together. Trebon is now closing the gap down (rapidly). Page and Johnson are right on his wheel.

14:01 CST
Coming up on five laps to go, Jesse Anthony is still leading. Jamey Driscoll is a few seconds behind with Ryan Trebon, Jonathan Page, Tim Johnson and Todd Wells chasing just a few second back.

14:04 CST
Trebon attacks his group!! He's seconds behind Driscoll.

14:09 CST
Trebon is still attacking. He's past Driscoll now and still has Anthony to chase down.

Behind, Tim Johnson is falling off the group containing Jonathan Page and Todd Wells.

We've seen Ryan Trebon fire his big diesel engine like this a number of times. Sometimes it works and he opens and maintains a gap that he holds to a finish line. Sometimes, he uses up all his fuel too soon and gets picked on the last lap. So nothing is assured but Trebon has decided to lay his cards on the table right now and win gloriously or die trying. Truly impressive racing.

14:11 CST
The men now have four laps to go. Trebon has overtaken Anthony now. Anthony is five seconds behind. Driscoll is maintaining his podium position on the course at five seconds off Anthony. Page and Wells are chasing about five seconds behind Driscoll.

To add the colorful fan imagery we've been seeing in Kansas City, imagine this: some fans have set up a couch and a hibachi grill on the side of the course and are relaxing in style and grilling up a snack as the race unfolds in front of them.

14:18 CST
With three laps to go, Trebon has extended his lead to ten seconds. Driscoll is second on the course. Anthony and Page are together behind him. Todd Wells is off the back of the Page group and Tim Johnson is fighting to make contact with Wells.

The temperatures and wind are cutting through everything here. The cabin of the blimp - even with a small heater - does not provide much insulation for us so you can imagine that the riders are dealing with numb extremities (which can cause shifting and braking problems). At the pace being held on this fast course, all it would take is one slip to ruin a rider's chance at a podium finish in one of the most important race of the 2008/2009 cyclo-cross season.

14:22 CST
Andy Jaques-Maynes is running his bike around the course - a victim of some unseen mechanical.

Trebon is now working his was through the mixed blessing that is lapped traffic (lapped traffic is an obstacle that can affect a solo breakaway rider's momentum but it can equally cause problems for the chasers).

14:29 CST
Trebon has opened up what seems like a safe lead of twenty seconds with just over one lap to go. But Trebon more than anyone knows nothing is assured until the race is over. If you remember last year, Trebon collided with another rider while he was in contention and was knocked out (literally) of the race.

Page has worked his was out of the chase group and is hunting for Driscoll at the moment.

14:31 CST
As Ryan Trebon makes it onto the final lap and retains his lead over Jamey Driscoll then Jonathan Page, Jesse Anthony is on his own behind Page. Todd Wells and Tim Johnson have come together and may have to fight each other for the final (of five) possible podium spots.

14:32 CST
Trebon is on the back side of the course on his last lap.

Jonathan Page is surging but Jamey Driscoll looks solid and should hold on to his second place on the podium.

14:35 CST
Ryan Trebon has done it!! What an effort.

14:35 CST
With a fist pump, Jamey Driscoll holds on for second. Jonathan Page brings it home for third.

14:35 CST
Jesse Anthony sprints for fourth.

14:36 CST
Tim Johnson rides in alone to grab the fifth spot.

14:39 CST
And with that, it's time to get the blimp on the ground and out of the wind and cold. Thank you so much for tuning in. We apologize to the readers who wrote in for updates on Steve Tilford and Matt Shriver - we tried but there was so much going on at the front of the race it was impossible to spot their positions.

Elite Men Results

1. Ryan Trebon (Kona FSA)
2. Jamey Driscoll (Cannondale/Cyclocrossworld.com)
3. Jonathan Page (Planet Bike)
4. Jesse Anthony (Jamis)
5. Tim Johnson (Cannondale/Cyclocrossworld.com)

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