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Crusher in the Tushar - Beaver, Utah

Posted by: Shannon Boffeli |August 19, 2013 3:28 AM
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Crusher in the Tushar - Beaver, Utah

Levi Leipheimer Crushes a Stacked Field While Gretchen Reeves Defends Her 2012 Title

With great weather and a stacked field this yearís Crusher in the Tushar threatened to be one of the best ever. Rain in the days leading up to the race kept temperatures cool and traction prime for the half dirt, half pavement Crusher.

Despite the incredible weather the 10,000 feet of climbing on tap was certain to make riders uncomfortable. Although just 69 miles long, the Crusher is becoming known as one of the toughest bike races in the nation.

The brutal nature of the Crusher racecourse brings the nations toughest racers to Beaver, Utah, looking to take on the challenge. Crush or be Crushed.

 

Elite Menís Race

 

The menís race looked to be a showdown between some of the nations best mountain bike, cyclocross, and road racers. Leading the way for the roadies was none other than former Tour de France rider Levi Leipheimer (Clif Bar). Leipheimer would be joined by returning champion Tyler Wren (Jamis/Hagens Berman) and his teammate Jamey Driscoll. Youngster Robbie Squire (Amore Vita) was on hand for the roadies as was local speedster Jeff Louder.

On the dirt side was Alex Grant (Sho-Air/Cannondale), fresh off his podium finish at the marathon national championships. Kona strongman Barry Wicks, Jay Henry (Tokyo Joes), and Jason Sager (Jamis) rounded out the mountain bike contingent while Justin Lindine (Seattle Bike Supply), Ben Berden (Clemente), and national champion Jonathan Page (Fuji/Spy) represented the crossers.

Things got off to a fast start with an early three-man break pushing off the front. They were quickly absorbed by an elite group of chasers that included Wicks, Grant, Leipheimer, Squire, teammates Wren and Driscoll, and most of the other race favorites.

Once on the dirt, the real climbing started as well as the first real hostilities.  The course climbs consistently from mile 10 to mile 21 roughly and positions on the road shifted throughout these early miles. The group doing most the damage again included Lepiheimer, Squire, Wren, Driscoll, and the mountain bikers Alex Grant and Barry Wicks.

Leipheimer and Driscoll crested the summit with the lead but groups started to form up on the flatter sections of pavement between the tiny communities of Junction and Circleville.

Now at the base of the Col dí Crush, a five-mile long brooding monster of a climb thatís steeper and longer than anything you have ever ridden, it was time to get to work deciding who would win the 2013 Crusher.

From the early slopes of the Col it was apparent that Levi Leipheimer had the legs for a winning ride.

An accomplished champion of many elite road bike events, Leipheimer is most recently known for his role in the Postal Service doping scandal and subsequent suspension. The Crusher represented one of his first races since completion of his doping suspension.

Leipheimer made it clear he has not lost any fitness in the months since his last race. Without making any abrupt accelerations the Clif Bar rider slowly opened a gap over the chasers adding seconds with every mile climbed.

He captured the KOM with ease and left the chasers alone to hash out the final podium spots.

Once again the Col dí Crush performed itís duty admirably, pushing riders to their limits with only the strongest surviving at the summit.

In the end, Leipheimer would cross the line with a lead of just under 10 minutes.

Tyler Wren and Barry Wicks battled for second place with Wicks holding a slight margin entering the steep, mile-long grade to the mountain top finish. Itís a finishing stretch that Tyler Wren knows well and he used his experience to close down the gap and out sprint Wicks to the line.

Jamey Driscoll, whoíd ridden strong near the front all day finished fourth just 30 seconds behind Wicks.

The fifth and final podium spot would come down to another grueling sprint finish. This time between Rob Squire and Alex Grant, once again the roadies would prevail as Squire got the upper hand on mountain biker Grant.

 

Elite Womenís Race

 

2012 Crusher champion Gretchen Reeves (Tokyo Joes) straddled the start line as the favorite but she had some big name talent hoping to steal her title away. Most recognizable was crosser Nicole Duke (Spy/Alchemy) and third place finisher last year Anna Jo Dingman (Rockford/Clif). 

Reeves would have a tougher time taking her second title but it was the pesky locals that threatened her the most during this yearís event.

Like 2012 Reeves broke away early but unlike last year she couldnít quite shake Salt Lake City rider Joey Lythgoe (Kuhl). Lythgoe closed the gap on Reeves on the opening dirt climb about mile 18 but Reeves surged again opening a gap.

It took Lythgoe many miles to chase down the Tokyo Joes rider once again and this time Reeves was on the side of the road fixing a flat. Knowing this was her chance Lythgoe pushed the pace up the incredibly steep slopes of the Col dí Crush and crested the KOM out front with just 10 miles to the finish.

Reeves wasnít about to give up. Once on top of the mountain she motored through the final feed zone and attacked the rolling terrain toward the finish. With just miles to go she overtook Lythgoe and quickly dispatched the former leader.

By the finish Gretchen Reeves was all alone and pleased to claim a second title and one thousand dollar purse for winning the Crusher in the Tushar. 

Another local Meghan Sheridan (UtahMountainBiking.com) finished third.



Results

Pro Men

1,

Levi Leipheimer

Clif Bar

4.06.17

2,

Tyler Wren

Jamis/Hagens Berman

4.16.02

3,

Barry Wicks

Kona

4.16.06

4,

Jamey Driscoll

Jamis/Hagens Berman

4.16.37

5,

Rob Squire

Amore Vita

4.17.23

6,

Alex Grant

Sho-Air/Cannondale

4.17.36

7,

Jonathan Page

Fuji/Spy

4.26.13

8,

Justin Lindine

Seattle Bike Supply

4.32.30

9,

Jeff Louder

A Little Bit Louder Now

4.39.58

10,

Leroy Popowski

Juwi/Slipstream

4.42.00

11,

Ben Blaugrund

 

4.44.30

12,

Chris Mackay

 

4.50.39

13,

Erik Harrington

RMCC

4.52.13

14,

Adam Gaubert

 

4.53.41

15,

Nate Whitman

 

4.54.41

16,

Cody Haroldsen

 

4.58.19

17,

Hunter Keating

 

5.00.29

18,

Thomas Cooke

 

5.01.48

19,

Clayton Barrows

 

5.03.53

20,

Aaron Olsen

 

5.04.32

21,

Chris McGovern

 

5.11.31

22,

Reed Wycoff

 

5.15.29

23,

Jay Henry

 

5.15.29

24,

Ryan Barrett

 

5.15.46

25,

Roger Bartels

 

5.18.32

26,

David Reyes

 

5.20.37

27,

Joe Wiley

 

5.21.56

28,

Jared Nelson

 

5.24.01

29,

Jason Sager

 

5.26.17

30,

Jeff Higham

 

5.26.42

31,

Nate Page

 

5.32.12

32,

Matt Connors

 

5.32.51

33,

Richard Knutson

 

5.34.38

34,

Cameron Peterson

 

5.38.04

35,

Bryson Perry

 

5.40.08


Pro Women

1,

Gretchen Reeves

Tokyo Joeís

5.16.46

2,

Joey Lythgoe

Kuhl

5.22.42

3,

Meghan Sheridan

UtahMountainBiking.com

5.34.00

4,

Anna Jo Dingman

Rockford/Clif

5.48.19

5,

Kimberly Baldwin

Tough Girls

5.51.01


Click Here for full results from all categories
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