HIGHLAND PARK, NJ -With a second place finish at the Highland Park
Cyclocross Race on Sunday, Kona's Ryan Trebon claimed the inaugural Crank
Brothers U.S. Gran Prix of Cyclocross and a ticket to the 2005 world
championships in St. Wendel, Germany.
Trebon used a mid-race sledge hammer of an attack to shake Canadian Geoff
Kabush (Maxxis-Giant) - who has held the Crank Brothers leader's jersey
since the third leg of the six-race series - and set up his overall
victory. The only racer able to cover Trebon's move was GT-Hyundia's Todd
Wells, who then repeatedly gapped Trebon through the course's three mud
baths and ultimately jumped away for a well-deserved victory.
"This is great," said Wells, the 2001 U.S. national champion. "It feels
like I have done 50 of these races and I've finally broken through for a
Wells and Trebon were at the front for the entire race. The two were part
of a 14-man lead bunch established on the first lap - a group that
included all the favorites, including Kabush and Adam Craig (Maxxis
Giant), Barry Wicks (Kona), Ben Jacques-Maynes (Sierra Nevada) and Mark
McCormack (Clif Bar - Colavita).
Thanks to a torrential rainstorm overnight, much of Sunday's course was
raced through ankle-deep mud. After two laps, the 14-man group split in
two, and Kabush, Trebon and Wells found themselves with a small but
"Geoff was riding pretty well the first three laps," said Trebon, who,
after five races in the Crank Brothers series, was the only remaining
challenger who could pose a challenge to Kabush's lead. "I thought then
that it was going to be a pretty tough day."
But in the fourth lap, Kabush inexplicably lost contact with his rival,
and fans started counting series points. If Trebon finished second and
Kabush third, the Canadian could salvage his series lead. But Kona
teammate Wicks came out of nowhere to overtake Kabush and give Trebon the
cushion he needed to claim the overall victory. A clearly defeated Kabush
could only manage a disappointing eighth on the day.
"I could see what was happening behind me," Trebon said after the race. "I
felt a whole lot better once I saw Barry between Geoff and me."
That's because Trebon realized that Sunday was going to belong to his
friend Wells. The Durango, Colorado resident was flying through the mud
pits and all the transitions on the course and paid close attention to
Trebon's reactions. "I could see Ryan was not coming back to me as fast as
I expected him to, so I tried to pour it on," Wells said.
There was one unscripted moment when Wells' handlebars got caught up in
the tape that lined the course. Wells went down and Trebon essentially ran
over him. But both jumped up quickly, remounted and their lead was never
Unlike nearly everyone else on the course, Wells never changed his bike.
By the race's end, it was caked in mud three inches thick in places.
As for Trebon, he said his trip to World's is by no means certain. "It's
been a long season and there's still a couple of months - I really need to
think about it," he said. "You know, winning the (Crank Brothers) series
is a pretty nice reward in itself."
Finishing ninth in the race was U-23 champion Jesse Anthony, which gave
him the Espoirs victory. It also meant that Anthony would claim the series
championship over NCC-BikeReg.com's Matt White. Like Kabush, White held
the advantage over his fellow Massachusetts resident going into the
Highland Park race, but Anthony's great day, combined with White's poor
showing (5th among espoirs), led to the change in leaders.
Second place went to Wells - Troy Wells, brother of Todd Wells.
NCC-BikeReg.com's John Hanson finished third.
Among the women, Ann Knapp (Kona) put an exclamation point on her
dominating performance in the Crank Brothers U.S. Gran Prix of Cyclocross
series, taking her fifth victories in six races. As she had each time
before, Knapp worked hard on the first lap to create a decisive break, and
as before, only Missing Link's Gina Hall and Seven Cycle's Mary
McConneloug could respond.
Each time through, Knapp seemed to float through the mud, while Hall and
McConneloug struggled through the goop that sucked at their ankles. With
three laps to go, Hall's chain picked up some debris from the course that
allowed Knapp a small gap, and that was all the diminutive Kona rider
needed. "I didn't even know it was a 'move' at the time," she said. "But
people were telling me I had a gap so I just drove it."
Knapp would add about five seconds to her lead on each of the remaining
laps to enjoy a solo victory. Hall attacked hard to shake McConneloug on
the very last lap, but McConneloug summoned up an Olympian effort to pull
the Missing Link rider back. At the end, it was McConneloug taking second.
'I would have liked to have pulled Ann back, but that wasn't going to
happen today," McConneloug said.
Unlike Trebon, Grand has already planned her trip to World's, which she's
guaranteed by virture of her overall title in the Crank Brothers U.S. Gran
Prix of Cyclocross.
"This series has been great," she said. "It's so much better than having
to travel everywhere to chase down points. With the series, you knew where
the races were and who you were going to race against."
In the junior race, Corner Cycle's Toby Marzot rode with the cool
demeanor of a seasoned pro to claim the overall lead in the Crank Brothers
U.S. Gran Prix of Cyclocross and a trip to St. Wendel. Marzot joined a
breakaway group of Bjorn Selander (ALAN), Adam McGrath (Excel Sports) and
Peter Stetina (TIAA-CREF/Clif Bar). Although Selander has been the cream
of the crop over the last three races in the series, Marzot was more
worried about McGrath, who poised the main challenge to the youngester's
slim lead. "When Bjorn went, I let him go," Marzot explained. "Stetina was
working for a teammate and wasn't going to help chase, and I didn't want
to blow up and have McGrath attack me."
Selander rode away with 16 second victory over Stetina, while Marzot
dropped the hammer on McGrath at the finish for third, enough to secure
the berth on the US world's cyclocrosss team.
"I'm really psyched to go to world's," Marzot said, who ended up 14 points
ahead of McGrath. "This series has been great. Last year, there were only
two or three guys capable of winning a race. This year, the best racers
from across the country are racing against each other, and there are five
or six guys going head to head."
"It's like racing nationals every weekend," agreed Luke Brechwald, who
finished seventh over all. "It's been a great experience."