“Kerry Werner continued a mid-season tear through the US cyclocross circuit this weekend, topping the podium in both days of racing at the North Carolina Grand Prix in Hendersonville, NC.
In both races, Werner battled furiously with Travis Livermon (Mock Orange Racing) over the closing laps. In the first day of racing in Hendersonville, the pair came to the line together, outdistancing the rest of the field by nearly a minute. Werner pulled away over the closing kilometer to take the win by a five second margin over Livermon.
“Travis and I were on similar levels of fitness this weekend, which resulted in two very close races,” said Werner. “Their first day, he got away with 6 laps to go and I was able to reel him in. I made contact halfway through the last lap and I knew he was gassed from being alone all day, so before the final climb I punched it. I put enough of a gap on to ride the last 300M smoothly to the line. Travis is a great competitor and it made for a very fun race.”
The duo battled again on Sunday, this time even more closely. When Werner once again hit out over the closing kilometer, Livermon stayed glued to the Orange & Black rider’s wheel to contest the heads-up sprint. Werner raised his hands again at the line, with the pair distancing the rest of the field by 30 seconds.
“Travis and I were able to shed the rest of the field and had a nice fight again for the two top spots,” said Werner. “It came down to the final 400 meters – He passed me on the second to last climb, and I tried to pass him back on the last climb but he held me off. I saw an opening in the next corner and took it, clean chop. He made a surge and passed me before the last corner and led into the last 100 meter paved stretch. I was right on his wheel and was able to take advantage of the draft, and with a final surge I came around him for a very close win.”
“Werner’s rapid rise in the domestic cyclocross scene began with the first UCI victory of his career in the discipline at last month’s Super Cross Cup in Stony, NY. In subsequent weekends, he claimed another win in Massachusetts at Baystate Cyclocross and two third place finishes at the NBX Gran Prix of Cyclocross in Warwick, RI prior to his sweep in North Carolina.
I have been racing a ton this season, the past seven weekends to be exact. With that comes a lot of fitness, but also having the support I have from the Optum family makes it so much easier to focus on racing and not stress about other things,” said Werner. “I am focusing on nationals very intensely. A good race there – top three – would be the cherry on top of my season.”
His penchant for the podium has helped propel Optum presented by Kelly Benefit Strategies to it’s most successful ‘cross season to date – Werner and teammate Crystal Anthony have accounted for nine wins, 14 podiums, and 39 top tens thus far.