Yannick Eckmann (California Giant Berry Farms/Specialized) emerged victorious in his first US National Championships despite a second row starting position and increasingly technical conditions. With temperatures in Verona, Wisconsin dropping throughout the day, course conditions varied between soupy freezing puddles and deep thick mud clogging up many of the hills.
"I'm loving it. I loved it a lot," replied Eckmann when asked about the dirty conditions. "I haven't ridden this year in mud that deep. I just wanted to go in and have fun. I set my goal for the win, of course, and I love the mud, and everything slippery."
Emmanuel Goguen (C.F. Racing p/b Trek Portsmouth) nabbed the hole-shot, but was passed by Andrew Dillman (Bob's Red Mill Cyclocross) before the pack entered the first pits section. Eckmann worked his way into second behind Dillman and started applying pressure as riders headed up the climb on the front part of the course.
"I didn't want to be first anyway going into the mud," said Eckmann about his start. "I just wanted to stay loose, and hang back, but I didn't go hard enough, so I was between 5th and 10th position going into the mud. That was a little bit too far back I would say.
Eckmann faced an early challenge from Dillman and Skyler Trujillo (Boo/Enve) but had a 40 second lead as he entered the second lap. "Skylar and Drew totally surprised me," said Eckmann about his competitors. "Then after that the first lap I didn't look back anymore and just looked forward." Eckmann grew his lead to almost two minutes leaving the rest of the field to fight for second.
Dillman, who is hoping to race at worlds in his hometown of Louisville, fought off strong efforts from Kyler Trujillo, and Josh Johnson (Indianapolis Cycling Club.) "I've raced with Skyler a lot so knew that he was really strong in the beginning and then he starts to fade. So I wasn't too worried when he passed me," recounted Dillman about this fight for second place. "I knew Josh was really strong, and he's beaten me a lot this year. When I saw him easing up on my wheel I just kind of railed it, and when I looked back and he wasn't there."
Dillman completed a clean final lap to solidify his second place finish but behind him the fight for third place was just heating up. Tobin Ortenblad (California Giant Berry Farms/Specialized) spent the first two laps of the race working his way up through the top ten, and was able to pass Trujillo on the last lap to grab third place in his first U23 appearance. “We just got back from Belgium a week ago so it was good practice over there in the mud," said Ortenblad about his ability to ride in muddy conditions despite living in Santa Cruz, Ca. "We didn't have any ice but I felt like it really helped me get prepared for this."
Due to UCI eligibility rulings Eckmann, the new U23 Champion for the United States, is planning to ride for Germany at the World Cyclocross Championships in Louisville KY on February 2nd.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Yannick Eckmann (California Giant Berry Farms/Specialized/California Giant Cycling)||0:44:42|
|2||Andrew Dillman (Bob's Red Mill Cyclocross)||0:46:31|
|3||Tobin Ortenblad (California Giant Berry Farms/Specialized/California Giant Cycling)||0:46:53|
|4||Skyler Trujillo (Boo/Enve)||0:47:08|
|5||Joshua Johnson (Indianapolis Cycling Club)||0:47:31|
|6||Kerry Werner (BMC U23 development MTB team)||0:48:20|
|7||Cody Kaiser (California Giant Berry Farms/Specialized/California Giant Cycling)||0:48:28|
|8||Samuel O'Keefe (Charm City Cycling LLC)||0:50:38|
|9||Kolby Preble (Clif Bar Development Cross Team)||0:51:03|
|10||Kevin Fish (KCCX Fuji Elite Cyclocross Team p/b Challenge Tires)||0:51:34|
|11||Luke Haley (Bob's Red Mill Cyclocross)||0:52:12|
|12||Chase Dickens (American Classic)||0:52:45|
|13||Richard Cypress Gorry (Whole Athlete / Specialized/Whole Athlete)||0:54:12|
|14||Tyler Coplea (MTB PRO Team: ORBEA-TUFF SHED)||0:55:05|
|15||Brandon Feehery (Astellas Oncology Cycling Team/Astellas Cycling Club)||0:56:04|
|16||Morgan Ryan (The TEAM SoCalCross/The TEAM)||0:56:44|
|20||Casey Hildebrandt (Twin Six)||0:58:11|
|-2laps||Daniel Gerow (Wolverine Sports Club)|
|-2laps||Zachary Bender (Cycle-Smart Inc.)|
|-2laps||Brian Jorgensen (Lees-McRae College)|
|-2laps||Zachary Semian (Pure Energy Cycling-ProAirHFA)|
|-2laps||Samuel Dries (Brazen Dropouts Cycling Team/Brazen Dropouts)|
|-2laps||Johnathan Freter (Don Walker Cycles Racing)|
|-2laps||Ben Bertiger (The TEAM)|
|-2laps||Davis Bentley (Lees-McRae College)|
|-2laps||Kevin Burgess (Carolina Break- U23/Carolina Break)|
|-2laps||Samuel Bramel (Gopher Wheelmen)|
|-2laps||Will Massey (u-neak | DESIGNS/Central Velo Racing & Development)|
|-2laps||Mitch Nordahl (Team Plan C)|
|-2laps||Justin Evans (Appalachian State University)|
|-2laps||Caleb Welborn (Earthfare/i9 pb Cyclesport Concepts/ABRC/Asheville Bicycle Racing Club)|
|-2laps||Oliver Donkervoet (u-neak | DESIGNS/Central Velo Racing & Development)|
|DNS||Zane Godby (Clif Bar Development Cross Team)|
|DNS||Innokenty Zavyalov (Basso pb Tonka Cycle/Minnesota Cycling Team)|
|DNF||Emmanuel Goguen (C.F. Racing)|
|DNF||Jesse Keough (Champion System p/b Keough Cyclocross /Corner Cycle Cycling Club)|
|DNF||Jason Midkiff (Appalachian State University)|
|DNF||Matthew Zimmer (Velosport Iowa /American Equity)|