In a heavyweight slugfest for the ages, Jeremy Powers (Rapha Focus) withstood a barrage of blows from rivals accounting for eight of the last 11 national titles before ultimately delivering his own knockout punch and his first national championship win.
Amid raucous applause, a visibly moved Powers crossed the finish line first in the final event of the five-day USA Cycling Cyclo-cross National Championships held at Badger Prairie Park near Madison, Wisconsin with a hard-fought and masterfully measured performance.
Ryan Trebon (LTS-Felt), who returned to racing last weekend (where he beat Powers twice) after nearly seven weeks out of competition from a knee injury, earned the silver medal, 17 seconds down on Powers, while Jonathan Page (Planet Bike-Blue), who flew into Madison on Friday night from his home base in Belgium, secured bronze 26 seconds behind Powers.
Jeremy Powers on a climb during the second lap
For much of the eight-lap elite men's championship the four heavily favored pre-race contenders, Powers, Trebon, Page and Tim Johnson (Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com), rode together at the head of the race. They were joined early on by Chris Jones (Rapha Focus) and Jamey Driscoll (Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com), and later by newly crowned U23 champion Zach McDonald (Rapha Focus), who ultimately finished fourth in perhaps the ride of the day.
Powers patiently played the waiting game, keeping a close eye on his rivals, before unleashing a devastating attack early on the penultimate lap which blew the leading group apart.
To read the full report and results of the men's race, visit Cyclingnews.com, or watch episode one of Behind THE Barriers below, the series which follows Powers on the US domestic race circuit.
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In the women's race, Katie Compton (Rabobank-Giant Off-road Team) put on a world-class 'cross racing clinic, taking command of the championship not long after the gun went off and riding away to her eighth straight national title.
A second Katie, 20-year-old Kaitlin Antonneau (Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com), who's coached and mentored by Compton, uncorked another remarkable ride in a breakthrough season to win the silver medal in the elite championship as well as successfully defend her U23 title, run concurrently. Just shy of two minutes after Compton soloed to victory, Antonneau rolled across the finish line and shared a warm embrace with her coach.
Katie Compton (Rabobank-Giant) wins in Madison, Wisconsin, by a large margin
Moments later Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com earned a second medal as Nicole Duke captured bronze 18 seconds after Antonneau, the best elite championship result ever for the 37-year-old Boulder, Colorado resident, in a spirited finale against Teal Stetson-Lee (California Giant-Specialized). Another young talent, 19-year-old Coryn Rivera (Exergy-Twenty12), rounded out the top five and claimed second in the U23 ranks.
To read the full report and results of the women's race, visit Cyclingnews.com.