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US Cyclo-cross Championships - CN

Kansas City, Kansas, USA, December 13-16, 2007

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Race 14 - December 16: Elite Men

Complete live report

Live commentary by Laura Weislo and Mark Zalewski

19:40 EST   
Live coverage of the 2007 US Cyclo-cross National Championships will begin at 11:45am Central Time (US) on Sunday, December 16th. Full coverage of the Elite Men's race will immediately follow full coverage of the Elite Women's race.

12:43 EST   
Good day and welcome to Cyclingnews' live coverage of the USA Cycling Elite Cyclo-cross National Championships from Kansas City, Kansas. After a wintry week of ice storms and snow, the weather has cleared but hasn't warmed up much. It's still below freezing, making the course hard and rutted from the previous races this week.

14:08 EST   
The men, like the women, will line up by UCI rankings order. Reigning US champion Ryan Trebon will get the front row spot ahead of Jonathan Page and Tim Johnson. Barry Wicks, Todd Wells and Christopher Jones will round out the front row.

14:12 EST   
Our frozen man on the tundra, Mark Zalewski, spoke with Jonathan Page before the start. Page hasn't had the best season so far, and is hoping for a bit of redemption in today's race. He said he's re-starting his season here, and that if he can win today, it will give him a clean slate going into worlds and he's motivated to make that happen. Living in Belgium, he's used to racing in the cold and mud, so he's confident he can do well.

The course has gotten a bit softer with the bright sunshine pouring down on the ground.

14:13 EST   
And the riders are off! Todd Wells (GT) gets the hole shot - and it's a clean start. No problems for this race, all the favourites get through OK and they're galloping off into the sea of yellow tape.

14:14 EST   
Jonathan Page takes the lead early in the lap, he's followed by Trebon and Wells. Jeremy Powers is also up there...

14:16 EST   
We've got a little crash - Jonny Sundt (KBS) went down, and was passed by a couple riders. He's up and running now.

14:18 EST   
There's no time for falling down in today's race, it's going to be a short race and every little bobble is going to cost them.

Page took the lead early - and has a couple bike lengths on Trebon. It's not much, but it's a start.

Matthew White goes down now.

14:19 EST   
Page, Wells and Powers are still in the lead. Page comes off of the stairs with a few bike lengths ahead of Powers. Wells comes through in third.

14:20 EST   
Ryan Trebon is chasing the leading trio at the end of the first lap - he's closely followed by Tim Johnson, but the pace is extremely aggressive on this first lap. The crowds have been worked up into a frenzy and the cowbells are deafening!

14:22 EST   
Local hero Steve Tilford was spotted up near the front of the pack on that first lap - he simply crushed the masters 45-49 field, and is looking good.

14:23 EST   
Page is solo off the front, and it looks like Powers has had a mechanical. Wells is chasing in second ahead of Trebon and Johnson and Wicks. Powers comes out of the pits behind Wicks.

14:27 EST   
Page has opened up a ten second lead on Todd Wells, but Johnson is now closing fast on Wells. They're both starting to close in on Page, and Trebon is not on a good day. He's faded into fifth place behind his team-mate Wicks.

14:28 EST   
The course is getting quite muddy right now, and the riders are becoming somewhat indistinguishable! Wicks and Trebon are particularly hard to tell apart from each other.

Jeremy Powers is trying to come back from that mechanical, but it happened at just the wrong time, and he's suffering back in sixth.

14:29 EST   
With five laps to go, Page is not looking back - he's looking strong but only five seconds to Wells. Behind him, the chasers Wells and Johnson, who are bumping along the ruts.

14:32 EST   
Wells is starting to close in on Page, while Johnson is still trucking along in third. Behind them, the drama has begun to unfold as Trebon has vanished from the top ten, perhaps with a mechanical or crash.

14:33 EST   
Jeremy Powers has made a splendid recovery to take over fourth place ahead of Wicks, the pair are pretty much together. And now Wells makes a big surge and passes Page! Todd Wells takes over the lead!

14:36 EST   
Page and Wells are neck and neck - Page tries to re-pass, but then Wells attacks after the finish line heading out for the fourth lap.

14:38 EST   
And Wells has a little bobble, and Page takes the lead over, and puts the hammer down! Johnson passes Wells, too, and now Wells is having to struggle to get on Johnson's wheel.

Johnson is keeping Page at about five seconds, and now Wells is struggling.

14:40 EST   
It's now a battle between Page and Johnson - two of the best 'mudders' in the USA. Wells, who was looking quite good, has faded into third followed by Wicks about ten seconds back.

14:42 EST   
Page is holding his lead alone now, five or six seconds ahead of Johnson. Wells is another eight seconds or so behind - that bobble cost him time and some confidence, it seems.

14:44 EST   
We've reached the halfway point of this race, and it looks like the beating that Page has taken in the European 'cross scene this year has made him stronger than the others.

It looks like Trebon is out of the race - he hasn't come through at all, and now with three to go for Page.

14:45 EST   
With Trebon out of the race, we will have a new champion at the end of this race. Johnson? Page? Johnson has his head down and his sights on catching Page.

14:48 EST   
Wicks had a bit of a problem at the start of the lap with three to go - he got back on his machine, but lost a few seconds. He's now leading Andy Jacques-Maynes (California Giant Berry) and Troy Wells (Clif Bar).

14:50 EST   
While Powers faulters and fades to 8th, Johnson catches up to Page on the stairs section. When the leaders got to the top of the second set of stairs, the pair were side by side, and Johnson battling for the lead.

14:51 EST   
Johnson attacks! Coming into two to go, Johnson takes over the lead and now Page is on the defensive. Page is keeping him in sight... is this too early for Johnson to go?

14:51 EST   
Page catches Johnson and tries to pass, but he can't get by - there is only one fast line.

14:52 EST   
Wells is now 25 seconds in third, so this will be a two man battle for the win. The pair up front come nearly to a stop in each turn - picking through the mucky course to avoid any crashes.

14:53 EST   
Page seems to be waiting to make his move - this is turning into a tactical affair...

14:54 EST   
Page is keeping Johnson in front - biding his time, perhaps hoping Johnson will tire himself out... meanwhile, Johnson attacks!

Johnson opens up a small gap.

14:54 EST   
Johnson opened up a bit of a gap with that attack - it's about five seconds to Page at the moment. Johnson is just hammering! He's cracked Page with this one.

14:56 EST   
Johnson is just pounding on the pedals, floating across the rutted ground while Page tries to get out of the saddle to accelerate, but it doesn't work - he's forced to sit back down to maintain traction.

Page starts to make up ground when they hit the stairs - his run is a tad stronger than Johnson's.

14:57 EST   
Out of the stairs, Johnson has about eight seconds, and they're coming into one to go! The bell rings, the crowd goes insane! Johnson is absolutely flying across the asphault with Page screaming up behind him.

14:58 EST   
Johnson is on fire going into the last lap. He pushes his gap up to nine, ten seconds and is just pushing himself to the limit to get that stars and stripes jersey.

15:00 EST   
It's all going to come down to luck now - can Johnson hold this nine second gap? Can he stay upright? They're both very focused, careful to keep their tires underneath them. Johnson has his head down - eyes ahead - mud is flying everywhere.

Page is fighting with his bike to get it to let him accelerate, but with each time he tries to get out of the saddle, the rear wheel slides across the greasy mud.

15:01 EST   
Page is hammering up the hill - trying to come to terms. Wells isn't threatening his place, he's still 25 seconds behind.

15:03 EST   
Page is pulling back the gap a tiny bit - it's down to seven seconds and Page is pushing as hard as the course will let him... as Johnson hits the first stairs, he dismounts and begins his run. Page will make up a few seconds here, but will it be enough? Six seconds after the first stairs...

15:03 EST   
And they're rocketing into the second set, and it's five seconds at the top of the last steps - can he make it back?

Johnson is on the pavement and he's all alone!

15:04 EST   
Johnson is going to do this - he's sealed the deal and has plenty of real estate to put his arms up in a victory salute.

15:05 EST   
Page comes through a little bit defeated, while Wells has some trouble on the last little hill and has to run a bit before getting back on his bike on the pavement. But third place is secure for Wells.

15:06 EST   
Wicks comes through in fourth place, and we've got a little while for the rest.

15:09 EST   
Johnson is simply beside himself with excitement as he talks to the race announcer. It's been seven years since he last won a national championship, and he's quite happy to finally get another one.

15:10 EST   
Now it's time to head to a warm pace to thaw out the toes and get some hot chocolate! Thanks for tuning in to our live coverage of the 2007 USA Cycling National Cyclo-cross championships!

Provisional Results

1 Tim Johnson (Cannondale/Leer/Cyclocrossworl)    
2 Jonathan Page (Sunweb Projob)                   
3 Todd Wells (Gt Bicycles)                        
4 Barry Wicks (Kona/YourKey.com)                     
5 Troy Wells (Team Clif Bar)                      

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