BOULDER, Colorado (VN) — Ryan Trebon (Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com) edged Danny Summerhill (Chipotle-First Solar) at the line on Sunday to win the Boulder Cup at Valmont Bike Park.
The race boiled down to a three-man battle on the final lap, with Summerhill up against teammates Trebon and Jamey Driscoll.
Driscoll fired the first shot on bell lap, driving up the long climb just past the start-finish. But Summerhill hung tough. Driscoll knew he was nearly cooked after an hour-long, seven-rider slugfest and played set-up man perfectly.
“Danny was super, super strong all day,” said Driscoll. “I was dangling the last lap or so and so I was able to get back to them, but I didn’t feel strong like I did yesterday. … It seemed Ryan was stronger and so I tried to light it up. … It was the last little bit of teamwork we could do.”
With his green-clad teammate fading, Trebon made his move.
“The two of them were just hitting me left and right all day, mostly on the hill, and I’m pretty amazed the last time around, when Jamey attacked, that I was able to stay with him,” said Summerhill. “They were just lighting it up.”
Driscoll couldn’t match his speed, but Summerhill clung to the big man’s wheel.
“I don’t really want Danny here with me, I was trying to get rid of him,” said Trebon.
As the two leaders raced around the rolling circuit Driscoll stayed within striking distance, just a few bike lengths behind.
Trebon stayed on the front, out of the saddle, with Summerhill content to wait for his opportunity.
But he waited too long — as the two hit the dirt road finishing straight, Driscoll was on them. Trebon led it out, and Summerhill nearly denied him the win, but the big Cannondale rider just barely took the victory at the line.
“We came around the corner and I didn’t realize the sprint was so short. I thought it was at least another 50 meters down the road,” said Trebon. “Luckily, I was able to get him.”
Summerhill was second by half a wheel, with Driscoll third.
“I underjudged the finish line. I should have started my jump earlier, but he took me wide into the final,” said Summerhill. “I would have done it to him; that’s racing.”
Berden blasts off
Ben Berden (Raleigh-Clement) got the holeshot to start the action, but then Summerhill came forward and took the lead on the backside of the rolling circuit in Valmont Park.
Summerhill remained out front going into lap two and up the first long hill, dogged by Berden and Tristan Schouten (Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies) and springing a group of seven riders loose from the rest of the field, including Schouten’s teammate Alex Candelario; Mitch Hoke (Clif Bar); and Trebon and Driscoll.
The start of lap three saw Summerhill still doing all the heavy lifting and getting tired of it. He looked around and gestured for assistance, and got it, from Trebon. Summerhill slotted into second with Berden third.
The leaders had a good gap and nobody was committing to a serious effort. Summerhill had the front coming into the finishing stretch and going into lap four. Schouten was next to take the lead; Summerhill followed in second wheel with Berden third.
“That was road tactics to the max,” said Summerhill. “I’m sure everyone knows that I don’t complain about pulling, that’s the road racer in me. Everyone else is just much smarter than me tactically in cyclocross. As the years go on I’m just more of a road racer.”
That trio briefly put a bit of daylight between themselves and the others, but Trebon closed the gap going into the second, shallow staircase.
Driscoll drills it
Schouten stayed on the front going through the start-finish, and nobody in the group seemed interested in making a race of it — and then Driscoll lit it up and powered up that first climb for lap five.
Hoke was distanced — Summerhill and Berden were hanging on, as were Trebon and Candelario, but Schouten was starting to look like he’d run out of legs.
Still, next time through the start-finish it remained a six-man lead group. Berden gave it some stick up the hill, but Summerhill stayed locked to his wheel with Driscoll third, Trebon fourth and the two Optums behind him.
Berden kept driving, and Summerhill hung tough; the two opened a slight gap on the others but Driscoll shut it down with Trebon in tow.
With two laps to go it was still a six-man race. Trebon took the front and led into the climb.
Trebon takes off
The big man floored it, taking Summerhill with him. Driscoll was chasing in third with Berden fourth, and the two Optums cracked.
Driscoll was perhaps three seconds back, and then suddenly Berden was going backward, past the Optums, whether through mechanical or physical.
Trebon kept the pressure on, with Summerhill in his slipstream.
The Chipotle rider took a quick glance over one shoulder, saw Driscoll closing in, and took the lead.
As the leaders approached bell lap Driscoll had regained contact, and Summerhill was looking at some bum odds, as in 2-to-1.
Driscoll launched first, charging up the hill with Summerhill in tow and Trebon third. Then Trebon punched it.
Summmerhill never surrendered, and neither did Driscoll. When the three hit the finishing straight it could’ve been anyone’s race, but Trebon had that little something extra at the end.
Editor’s note: Stay tuned for more from Boulder.