Holeshot Heroes And Two Person Duels Defined U.S. CX Nationals

Create a free account to unlock this article!

Get Started

Already a subscriber?  Log In

Let’s catch our collective breaths, because we cheered loud and hustled hard at the 2018 Cyclocross National Championships in Reno, Nevada.

We ran from the ditch to the sandpit, past the barriers and across wide open fields to cover nail-biting battles in both the men’s and women’s elite races. We scrambled up rocky inclines to witness the dueling pairs of Hyde and Powers and Compton and Noble skidding down off camber turns.

Here’s what we saw at nationals.

Holeshot Heroes

Ellen Noble’s taken some notable holeshots this season, leading races at Hamme and Overijse in Belgium, so when she went to the front in Reno few fans were surprised. (Excited, yes. Surprised, no.) By the sandpit, just minutes into the race, she’d already gapped Kaitie Keough and isolated Katie Compton off the front, setting up a mano-a-mano battle.


In the men’s race, Tobin Ortenblad bunny-hopped the set of three concrete stairs and took the lead, quickly forcing a selection of six contenders. A half lap later, Jeremy Powers took the front of the race, and set a pace only reigning national champion Stephen Hyde could hang with.

Something Old, Something New

The formerly undisputed king of U.S. cross, Powers has struggled with a recurring heart condition this season. Though he’s factored in a number of races, he has failed to notch any UCI C1 wins. His return to form at nationals harkened back to the season opener in Rochester, New York, when master (Powers) and pupil (Stephen Hyde) sprinted to the finish.

In Reno, Hyde said he used every trick Powers taught him and more to gain a gap before the final run-up. Hyde said he watched the line Powers took into the wooden bridge every lap, and then took the opposing line on the final lap to make his race winning pass.


Following the awards ceremony for her 14th national title (think about that: 14 titles in a row), Katie Compton said she could feel the next generation of elite American women (Noble and Keough) breathing down her neck. But, she said, “They’re going to have to peel [the jersey] off my cold, dead body, I’m pretty sure. I’m going to fight for it, because I do enjoy wearing it.”

Compton led the race from midway through lap one, but she bobbled the final time down the off-camber descent with Noble hot on her wheels. In that fleeting moment, it looked as if the long reign of the American queen of cross might finally come to an end.

Keough, who currently sits second in the UCI World Cup ranking, broke into tears in her post-race interview. She felt this might have been the year she finally beat Compton.

Meanwhile, an exuberant Noble pumped her fist as she crossed the line in second, less than 10 seconds back. For the American women, making Compton look over her shoulder as she powered to the line at another national championship was a kind of victory in itself.


Off To Europe, Or Into Offseason

A handful of elite racers will head to Europe in the coming weeks for the final two rounds of the UCI World Cup, and then the World Championships. The rest will go home and begin resting.

Keough is off to Belgium on Tuesday to prepare for Nommay, while Noble will arrive in advance of Hoogerheide. Both could potentially challenge for a podium at the World Championships.

Meanwhile, after a recent run of disappointing worlds races, might this be the year Compton finally lands on the top step?

Hyde is the undisputed leader of the men’s elite team, and has undoubtedly made worlds the cornerstone of his season. However, Ortenblad and Werner will be looking for worlds selections (and breakout rides at the championship race) as well.

Powers didn’t make a trip to Europe this season, but given his recent return to form — if selected for the worlds team — we would expect him to make the journey overseas.


Images by David Calvert – USA Today

Quintana Hit By Car While Training In Colombia

Colombian Tour de France hopeful Nairo Quintana was knocked down by a car in central Colombia on Friday but said he was feeling "good."

Create a free account to unlock this article!

Get Started

Already a subscriber?  Log In

Zwift To Unveil New World For Virtual Tour de France

Virtual Tour de France Live This Weekend

Unlock this video, live events, and more with a subscription!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In

The Virtual Tour de France is a six-stage race held on the Zwift platform. The worlds top male and female cyclists will compete against each other throughout the first three weekends of July.

Create a free account to unlock this article!

Get Started

Already a subscriber?  Log In

A Tour De France Like No Other

Julian Alaphilippe Can Win The Tour de France

Unlock this video, live events, and more with a subscription!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In

Cycling's Tour de France should have embarked from the Mediterranean city of Nice this weekend, but the two-month coronavirus delay will heighten the drama on a "unique edition", race organizer Christian Prudhomme has told AFP.

Create a free account to unlock this article!

Get Started

Already a subscriber?  Log In

How to Watch The Virtual Tour de France United

Here's how to watch the 2020 Virtual Tour de France United.

What To Know Before Racing Bikes During The Pandemic

Should You Race Your Bike During COVID?

Unlock this video, live events, and more with a subscription!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In

As restrictions on social gatherings begin to ease amid the COVID-19 pandemic, local cycling events are among the businesses reopening. Given the possibility of returning to group rides and competitions, a critical question remains: Is it safe?

Unlock this article, live events, and more with a subscription!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In

Crash Sidelines Terpstra For 12 Weeks

Niki Terpstra will be out for up to 12 weeks following a training crash, the Dutch cyclist's team Total-Direct Energie announced on Wednesday.

Create a free account to unlock this article!

Get Started

Already a subscriber?  Log In

Terpstra Air Lifted To Hospital After Motorpacing Incident

Dutch cyclist Niki Terpstra suffered multiple injuries in a training crash in the Netherlands on Tuesday and was helicoptered to hospital, his wife said.

Create a free account to unlock this article!

Get Started

Already a subscriber?  Log In

Sagan To Race Giro, Skip Flanders And Roubaix

Sagan's Hypothetical 2020 Race Calendar

Unlock this video, live events, and more with a subscription!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In

Cycling superstar Peter Sagan will race the Tour de France and the Giro d'Italia, but will skip the majority of the one-day classics this season, he told a press conference on Tuesday.

Create a free account to unlock this article!

Get Started

Already a subscriber?  Log In

The Must-Watch Mountain Stages of the 2019 Tour de France

Mountains add an element of unknown into grand tours. The sheer volume of vertical meters riders must climb over the course of three weeks pushes the GC contenders to the very edge, if not beyond what their bodies are capable of. The weather in the high mountains can also play a big hand in shaping a race's outcome.

Unlock this article, live events, and more with a subscription!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In

The Most Surprising Rides Of The 2019 Tour de France

The Tour de France is not a proving ground for cyclists. A team’s Tour roster is the most important selection of riders each team will make each year. Riders arrive at the Tour de France as known quantities, generally on their peak form of the season. 

Unlock this article, live events, and more with a subscription!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In