SUN PRAIRIE, Wisc. (VN) — Ryan Trebon (LTS-Felt) rode former world champion Bart Wellens (Telenet-Fidea) off his wheel in the final lap to take the kickoff to the 2011 U.S. Gran Prix of Cyclocross series on Saturday.
Trebon, with a new one-man sponsorship deal after seven seasons with Kona, looked like his old self, matching all the technical prowess that Wellens and Jeremy Powers could throw at him, and then trumping them with an unmatchable attack in the last lap.
“It’s been a long year,” a satisfied Trebon said after the finish. “It’s been a lot of work with sponsors. This is very satisfying, it feels real good to win it for Dusty,” he said, referring to his mechanic and manager Dusty LaBarr.
Powers whacks ‘em
Defending USGP series champion Powers is also with a new squad (Rapha-Focus) and got off to a fast start. He led through the first turn, nabbed the Avid-sponsored $250 holeshot prize, then turned a six-minute first lap, stringing the field out in one long line, before Wellens’ teammate Rob Peeters bridged to him.
“When there is a former world champion here, I want to make sure they know this my turf,” Powers said, referring to Wellens’ appearance this year and former rainbow man Erwin Vervecken’s appearance in Sun Prairie in 2009.
Powers’ efforts in the opening three laps eventually caught up with him, as Wellens, Trebon and Peeters came up and the four battled over the next few laps.
Powers consistently tried riding the long ‘run-up’ ascent, which has three log steps at the bottom that had to be hopped. When he made it cleanly, which he did every lap save two, it opened a gap over his companions. When he failed (and when Trebon swerved into him after a missed shift on the climb with three laps to go), it cost him time.
“It was good for me,” Powers said of the hill. “I whacked (Trebon and the others) a couple of times there.”
Wellens, who finishes up his two-week, four-race U.S. tour Sunday, did not have great legs on day 1 in Wisconsin. Nevertheless, the savvy Belgian had the skills and tactical sense to stay in contact with the two powerful Americans, both looking to take an early lead in the USGP for their new sponsors.
“I had a bad feeling,” Wellens said afterward. “I had the wrong tires so I changed bikes after three laps and I lost lots of time and that made it harder.”
Wellens said the frequent flying to get to races in the U.S., and the lack of a posh team RV at events that he has grown accustomed to in Europe, has left him fatigued.
Trebon of old
Coming off a season that was not his best, and with his new sponsor package (which includes SRAM and Clement tires, as well as Felt and LTS), Trebon was determined to make his mark.
“I wanted to come into the season with all guns a-blazing,” Trebon said. “We can’t wait for January to go good.”
Trebon said he felt especially confident in the turns and had no trouble matching Powers and Wellens there.
“Ryan was the best I’ve seen him in a couple of years,” Powers said. “He put me on the rivet a few times, he was so strong on the straights and in the wind.”
Three-man shake out
It was a Trebon, Wellens and Powers battle for the last six laps, chased by Wellens’ teammate Peeters and the Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com duo of Jamey Driscoll and Tim Johnson. ‘Cross legend Jon Page broke his rear derailleur in the opening lap and was never in contention again.
With three to go Wellens lost contact after a Trebon acceleration, but when Trebon and Powers nearly collided near the top of the run-up, Wellens was able to reconnect.
On the next lap, Powers botched the logs, and Trebon ran the entire hill with Wellens right behind him. Going into the bell lap Powers had a big gap to close and not much time to do it.
Trebon was drilling it with Wellens on his wheel. Then the Belgian slipped past and gave it some throttle. Powers was just seconds back and closing.
Powers slipped out on a right hander before the run-up and lost contact with other two, and Trebon, hearing Powers’ slide (and the crowd’s reaction) put the hammer down for good, opening a gap that Wellens couldn’t close. Powers came in a dozen seconds back and out of the hunt.
“For 50 minutes were all super well-matched,” Trebon said. “On that last lap I heard what sounded like someone’s front tire slide out and when I looked back I had 10 feet so I hit the gas,” he said.
Trebon will wear the USGP series jersey for Sunday’s race.
When Vervecken raced in Wisconsin on 2009, Powers won on Saturday and Vervecken won on the second day.
Wellens said he’s hoping a good massage and a good night’s sleep will allow him to finish off his U.S. trip with a victory.
“I hope I can drop them tomorrow,” he said with a smile.
- 1. Ryan Trebon, (USA) LTS-Felt, in 58:59:00
- 2. Bart Wellens, (BEL) Telenet Fidea Cycling Team, at s.t.
- 3. Jeremy Powers, (USA) Rapha/focus, at 22
- 4. Rob Peeters, (BEL) Telenet Fidea Cycling Team, at 39
- 5. James Driscoll, (USA) Cannondale Pb Cyclocrossworld.c, at 40
National U-23 champion Katie Antonneau (Cannondale-cyclocrossworld.com, center) leads Teal Stetson-Lee (Cal Giant Berries-Specialized, left) and Emily Batty (Subaru-Trek) in the first trip up the Stanley Run-Up but ultimately ceded time to both racers and finished 11th. Photo: Wil Matthews
Duke and Nash
By the third lap, Nicole Duke (Cannondale-cyclocrossworld.com) let Katerina Nash past but still led the remainder of the Elite Women's field. Photo: Wil Matthews
Nicole Duke (Cannondale-cyclocrossworld.com) is the first to reach the first corner in the Elite Women's race, earning the Avid Shorty Ultimate Holeshot award for the Elite Women's race. Photo: Wil Matthews
Canadian mountain biker Emily Batty (Subaru-Trek) started on the third row but fought her way to a seventh-place finish in the first day of the USGP Planet Bike Cup. Photo: Wil Matthews
The Sun Praire USGP course made use of the natural topography within the venue, creating many short twists and climbs. Photo: Wil Matthews
Elite Men's podium of Ryan Trebon (LTS), Bart Wellens (Telenet-Fidea) and Jeremy Powers (Rapha-Focus.) Photo: Wil Matthews
Jeremy Powers (Rapha-Focus) claimed a 250.00 award for the Avid Shorty Ultimate Holeshot prize. Photo: Wil Matthews
Jonathan Page (Planet Bike-Blue Cycles) grimaces in pain and frustration immediately after the finish of the Elite Men's race, where he was involved in a last-lap tussle with Christian Heule (Cannondale-cyclocrossworld.com) and Zach McDonald (Rapha-Focus.) Photo: Wil Matthews
The 65-rider Elite Men's field is staged Saturday afternoon in Sun Prairie for their hour-long race. Photo: Wil Matthews
Powers and Johnson
Former teammates Jeremy Powers (Rapha-Focus) and Tim Johnson (Cannondale-cyclocrossworld.com) were staged next to one another on the front row. Photo: Wil Matthews
The first two rows of the Elite Men's field was stacked with talent and experience. Bart Wellens (Telenet-Fidea) is a two-time UCI World and three-time Belgian National Champion, Christian Heule (Cannondale-cyclocrossworld.com, right) is the reigning Swiss National Champion, and Todd Wells (Specialized) is the current US National Champon. Photo: Wil Matthews
Rob Peeters (left) and Bart Wellens wait for staging before the Elite Men's race. Photo: Wil Matthews
The Elite Women's podium of Katerina Nash (Luna, center) Georgia Gould (Luna) and Meredith Miller (Cal Giant Berries/Specialized). Photo: Wil Matthews
Nicole Duke (Cannondale-cyclocrossworld.com) with her prize for the Avid Shorty Ultimate Holeshot. Photo: Wil Matthews
Katerina Nash (Luna) dominated the women's field, finishing with a 17-second advantage over teammate Georgia Gould. Photo: Wil Matthews
Teal Stetson-Lee (Cal-Giant Berries-Specialized) had a strong first half during the Elite Women's race but slid to ninth by the end of the race. Photo: Wil Matthews
Forsman and Batty
Chloe Forsman (Crank Bros Race Club 11) passes Emily Batty (Subaru-Trek) at the top of the Stanley Run-Up. Forsman surged to a fourth-place finish despite a mid-pack start that saw her buried behind her competitors. Photo: Wil Matthews
Nicole Duke (Cannondale-cyclocrossworld.com) leads Katerina Nash (Luna) and the rest of the women's elite field on the second trip up the Stanley Run-Up. Photo: Wil Matthews
Trebon gets ready
Ryan Trebon and mechanic Dusty LaBarr in the LTS team tent shortly before staging of the Elite Men's race. Photo: Wil Matthews