COVINGTON, Kentucky (VN) — Ryan Trebon (Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com) and Katie Compton (Trek Cyclocross Collective) soloed early to take their wins at the Cyclo-Stampede across the Ohio River from downtown Cincinnati in Devou Park.
While it took Trebon five laps to break free, Compton turned the screws to pull away from Katerina Nash (Luna) in only three. The race of the day ended up being between Ben Berden (Raleigh-Clement) and Travis Livermon (Mock Orange), who hit the line in a photo finish behind Trebon’s teammate Jamey Driscoll.
Berden wound up taking that final step on the podium.
The start of the elite women’s race left some scratching their heads. Where was Caroline Mani (Raleigh-Clement)? After her win, Compton explained that though Mani took practice on course, she wasn’t feeling well after traveling from Europe to Denver to Cincinnati and retired to the team tents prior to the race. Compton thought Mani would return for Saturday’s and Sunday’s events.
With Mani out, it was teammate Nicole Duke who took the fast downhill holeshot from pavement to grass, followed by Nicole Thiemann (Team CF), Nash and then Compton. After a furiously fast first lap on the steep hills and zippy descents, Compton and Nash pulled clear, pursued by Amanda Carey (Volkswagen Boise) and Thiemann.
Duke faded from the front to the third group with Andrea Smith (LadiesFirstRacing) and OVCX Series frontrunner Katie Arnold (Bob’s Red Mill).
On the third lap, Compton broke away from Nash on the steep backside of the course near the pit. The move split the front four completely.
All rode solo through the fast but windy paved start/finish straightaway. With Compton gone and Nash and Carey solidly in second and third, respectively, the podium was decided 20 minutes into the race.
Behind, the battle was on for the remainder of the UCI points. With Thiemann solo in fourth, the trio of Arnold, Smith and Rebecca Gross (KCCX-Fuji) worked together to close the gap. On the fifth lap, they made contact as Thiemann began to fade.
Gross came around with Smith in tow, and Arnold couldn’t answer. Smith would muster the energy at the bell to take fourth. Thiemann held on for sixth behind Gross.
Trebon takes off
With Jeremy Powers (Rapha-Focus) taking the weekend off to recover from his efforts in Europe, Trebon stomped out of the start grid with authority. Behind, riders were three or four abreast through the soft downhill holeshot.
As in all the previous races, the riders stacked up on a short punchy climb as the course turned back toward the start/finish, and an early crash rearranged the middle of the field and sent Ray Smith (Bob’s Red Mill) running to the pit.
Trebon came out of the melee clean with Berden on his wheel. Behind it was a loose group of six containing Livermon, Driscoll, Chris Jones (Rapha-Focus), Chris Sheppard (Rocky Mountain), Ryan Knapp (Pony Shop) and Andrew Dillman (Bob’s Red Mill).
Livermon must have felt good, because he drove the chase behind Berden and Trebon for nearly two laps, cleanly hopping four big logs in a row at the bottom of the hill, to the roar of the crowd.
Late on the fourth lap, Trebon drilled it hard on the long climb from the bandshell up to the barriers, which sprung him off solo for good and left Berden alone in no-man’s-land. Driscoll was the first to smell Berden’s blood and attacked to bridge up on a steep off-camber climb after the logs.
But the move was short lived. While it sent Knapp packing, a new chase quickly gelled with Driscoll, Livermon, Jones, and a new face, Bradley White (Moms in Tow Cyclocross), who wasn’t on the radar screen the first four laps. Sheppard pulled off the course on lap five, saying he got to the venue late and wasn’t feeling it.
The battle for second
With six to go, Driscoll and Jones weren’t ready to let Berden take the second step so easy. Driscoll continued to turn the screws with Jones in tow and the duo of Livermon and White close behind. They caught Berden on the climb before the barriers, but Driscoll paid the price for the hard effort and was left dangling behind Jones and Berden through the hilly backside of the course. He eventually caught his breath.
With four to go, a five-man group — Livermon, Berden, Driscoll, White and Jones — rolled through the start/finish well behind Trebon. Livermon was the first to attack on the climb to the barriers, splitting the group. Behind Livermon, Berden was solo; Driscoll and White were together, while Jones went down on a slick off-camber. It wouldn’t last.
With three to go, Berden dug deep again, closing the gap to Livermon and bringing Driscoll with them. He kept the pressure on, again attacking and going clear on the climb. To the amazement of the announcers, Livermon brought it back together, and shed White and Jones for good. The last two steps of the podium would be sorted out on the bell lap.
Bam! Just before the bell rang, under a dark cover of trees, Driscoll charged out from behind Berden and Livermon through the windy start/finish. The move, so completely unexpected, left Berden and Livermon without an answer.
Berden tried in vain to put the pressure on through the logs, but Livermon answered on the last climb, bringing it down to the sprint. At the line it was a photo finish for third — which Berden took by a Belgian nose.
The Cincy3 Cyclocross Festival continues Saturday with the CX After Dark Series.