PORTLAND, Oregon (December 5, 2010) - Winner took all. In what proved to be the most thrilling conclusion to any Greenware® USGP of Cyclocross to date, Jeremy Powers (Cannondale p/b CyclocrossWorld.com) defeated teammate Tim Johnson to claim back to back victories in Portland and claim the overall series title today in Portland.
The race had too many story lines to recall. The veteran vs. the rising star; the local hero against the juggernaut; and the emerging youth movement in American cyclocross.
The race started with Ryan Trebon (KONA), a northwest icon, pounding away at the front. Johnson struggled to hold on. Powers, meanwhile, barely survived the opening salvo. Firmly attached to Trebon rode Todd Wells (Specialized) and Geoff Kabush (Maxxis/ Rocky Mount). The elite five immediately established a gap on the rest of the field. Powers admitted the damage done to his legs in Saturday's victory nearly cost him the race today in the first lap.
After 2 laps with Trebon on the front, Johnson applied the gas and put everybody under pressure on the course's tough twists and turns. Only Powers could respond, leaving Trebon, Wells and Kabush behind. Johnson opened up a gap on Powers but simply could not widen the margin. Powers clawed back, counterattacked and left Johnson in arrears.
With 2 laps to go Powers seemed to be in full control of the race and the series. But Johnson, the ultimate competitor, never relented. In the final lap he pushed Powers into a mistake and drew even. The pair charged into the final barriers just before the l turn onto the pavement for the final sprint. To the surprise of all, Johnson, with a traditional dismount and run over the barriers, was faster than the bunny-hopping Powers. Although this equalized the race, Powers was commanding in the sprint and drove home a career victory to take the day and the series. Equally impressive, Trebon and Wells matched each other in a similar battle with Trebon beating Wells to claim the final spot on the podium and claim the SRAM Most Aggressive Rider Competition.
The U23 contest signaled to all the arrival the next generation of US cross stars with Danny Summerhill, the silver medalist from the 2007 World Championships, out sprinting Zach McDonald from a group of 5 riders. The emergence of a half dozen U23 superstars during the Greenware® USGP season, displayed not the height of US cyclocross but it's depth and hope for the future. Luke Keogh, in the U23 series leader's jersey, was pulled from the race after being lapped by Johnson and Powers, but retained the overall series jersey with Jeremy Ferguson and Cody Kaiser behind him on the overall podium. With one week to go before the National Championships it is evident that Summerhill and McDonald are on form for another epic battle.
In the Elite Women's race Katerina Nash (LUNA) pounded out another dominant victory, solidifying her reputation as a cyclocross super power. Her win was not enough to take the overall series jersey from the shoulders of her teammate Georgia Gould. LUNA teammate Amy Dombroski bounced back from a poor race on Saturday to stand on the third step of the day's podium behind her two teammates.
The race opened as expected with Nash and Gould at the front. But Dombroski surprised all with an equally good start. Meredith Miller (California Giant Berries/ Specialized), coming off a ridiculous first lap on Saturday, rode steadily near the front to retain her position at the front of the field to finish fourth on the day and second overall for the series with Canadian National Champions Wendy Simms riding a ripping strong race behind her for 5th. Simms powerful ride earned her the SRAM Most Aggressive Rider Award for the day.
The surprise of the weekend was Embrocation Cycling Journal writer Linnea Koons who started strong but faltered as the race wore on. In many ways the real story of this race was not at the front but in the second wave that included Wendy Simms, Sue Butler, and Kathy Sherwin as well as the emerging youth movement with Kaitlin Antonneau and Ashley James showing they've got the talent to race at the top of the sport too.