Jeremy Powers (Rapha-Focus) laid down a bell-lap beating to win round one of the Providence Cyclocross Festival on Saturday.
The Rapha rider had been part of a four-man break — Ben Berden (Raleigh-Clement), Tim Johnson (Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com) and Raphael Gagne (Rocky Mountain Factory Team) — battling for the win on the final lap.
Berden laid down a huge effort going into bell lap, but it was Powers who had the most left in the tank. He took the win ahead of Berden with Johnson third.
“Today was so fast and twisty … it was really exciting, for sure. To win this close to home with so many family and friends here means a lot to me,” said Powers.
Zach McDonald (Rapha-Focus) took the hole shot, chased by Berden and Yannick Eckmann (California Giant-Specialized).
McDonald was still on front of a big group, perhaps a dozen strong, going into into lap two.
Jeremy Driscoll (Raleigh-Clement) moved to the front next, with Johnson on his wheel.
Going into lap three Trebon was on point of the 12-man group, with a chase of a half-dozen just a handful of seconds behind at the Smith Optics 180. Eckmann, Powers, Stephen Hyde (JAM-Fund-NCC) and Driscoll were among the leaders; McDonald’s quick start had cost him, and he had lost contact with the front-runners.
The pace took its toll on others as well, and the lead group was down to four — Berden leading Powers, Johnson and Trebon — as it hit the pavement for the start of lap four. Raphael Gagne (Rocky Mountain Factory Team) got on, Powers took the front at the big flyover, and the Rapha rider led into the next lap.
Powers eased off the front in lap five and first Berden, then Trebon set the pace. Powers briefly lost contact as Trebon drilled it, stringing the lead group out in a long line past the Temple of Music. But he soon got back on, and it was still a five-man group going into five laps to go.
Johnson was next to take point as Lukas Winterberg (Muller Landscape-BH), Hyde and Eckmann formed a three-man chase a dozen seconds in arrears.
Gagne attacked coming off the staircase run-up, but didn’t get much leash, though Berden seemed to be having trouble matching the pace.
With four to go, it was still five men out front and anybody’s race. Johnson led through the 180, then Trebon took over, with Powers on his wheel.
A lap later Johnson surged coming through the start-finish with Powers and Trebon right behind. Then Powers punched it, and Johnson marked him. Nobody seemed able to gain an advantage. Ride the barriers, run the barriers, it made no difference.
Powers surged again, and again Johnson followed. The lead group spread out a bit, but not significantly. Powers surged again. Again Johnson followed. And with two laps to go the lead group was down to Powers ahead of Johnson, with Berden fighting to bridge.
Berden had nearly dragged the other two up to Powers and Johnson by the big flyover. But Powers kept cranking out the watts, and the chase dangled just a few seconds behind.
Powers finally eased off the throttle past the Temple of Music, and as the lap wound down it was a resurgent Gagne leading the foursome of Johnson, Powers, Berden and Trebon.
Then Berden laid down a huge effort going through the start-finish, briefly shattering the group. Johnson accelerated next, and Berden stuck with him. Powers caught back on and took the lead through the flyover, then actually dismounted to hurdle a barrier — a rare move for the Rapha rider — with Gagne on his wheel.
Powers surged again, and Trebon finally cracked. Johnson, Berden and Gagne did not, and it was a four-man group fighting it out toward the finish.
Powers finally took a slight gap going past the temple, with Johnson in hot pursuit. The Rapha rider was first onto the pavement and had time to coast across the line. Berden pipped Johnson for second.