American Curtis White (Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com) won a two-up sprint from Canadian Michael van den Ham (Garneau-Easton) to take the Pan-American Cyclo-Cross Championships title Sunday in Midland, Ontario. The two riders survived a battle of attrition to set up the duel on the final lap, with Kerry Werner (Kona-Maxxis) taking third.
Sunday's dry weather after a day of rain on Saturday created some sticky conditions on the course in Canada, where Cody Kaiser (LangeTwins-Specialized) took the hole shot across the fast, paved opening stretch and then set the pace in the early part of the first lap.
When the riders came through after the first loop, Van den Ham and White led a small front group. Defending champion Stephen Hyde (Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com) lingered just behind the leaders at four seconds back.
White tested the group with a move on lap 2 that gained a small gap over a group of 10 riders closely spaced out behind. Van den Ham took the bait and made his move on lap 3, leading throughout the loop as White chased and Hyde moved up through the group. Jack Kisseberth (Garneau-Easton) went to the front near the halfway point and led as Hyde swooped past White and challenged for the lead.
Hyde won the battle for the front, and was soon leading the race he won last year in Louisville, Kentucky. Hyde's lead was brief, however, as Van den Ham quickly took the lead back on the next lap, powering over the course and dispatching Kisseberth out of the lead group with three laps to go.
Disaster struck for Hyde on the next lap as he retook the lead but then crashed heavily into the stairs, remaining on the ground for several moments before finally regrouping and getting back into the race but eventually abandoning. Hyde later said he was OK.
Hyde's teammate White grabbed the lead from there, followed quickly by Van den Ham and Werner. White wasn't happy with the company, however, and he dropped Werner and Van den Ham in short order. Behind the lead trio, Anthony Clark (Squid Squad) chased ahead of Kisseberth and Kaiser as Hyde faded from contention and abandoned.
Van den Ham made contact with White with one lap to go, and he quickly tried to dispatch the American, hoping to take control rather than wait on White's wheel. White fought stubbornly and was able to maintain contact with the Canadian, setting up the two-up sprint for the title.
Elbows flew down the finishing straight as both riders jockeyed for position, but White got the advantage at the line and posted one arm to celebrate.
"Mike and I were duelling it out on the last lap. At about three to go, my teammate Stephen Hyde put in a good dig and stretched the group out, but unfortunately, he went down on the stairs," White explained.
"I was in third wheel and could capitalise on that. I got a good gap and Mike van den Ham was the only guy that could come with me. On the last lap he was kind of dictating the pace, but I was pretty confident in my sprint. it was a close one, but I was able to edge him out in the end."
Van den Ham called it "one of the closest races I've ever been in".
"Curtis was riding really strongly, and we came down to the finish stretch," said Van den Ham. "It's one of those finish stretches where you might be able to win from the front, so I decided to lead it out. It just came down to an all-out sprint and he's a quick guy, just had that little extra jump on me today.
"It's a little disappointing now, but it was amazing to race in front of the home crowd."
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Curtis White (United States Of America)||1:01:13|
|2||Michael Van Den Ham (Canada)|
|3||Kerry Werner (United States Of America)||0:00:36|
|4||Jack Kisseberth (United States Of America)||0:00:56|
|5||Anthony Clark (United States Of America)||0:01:03|
|6||Cody Kaiser (United States Of America)||0:01:21|
|7||Marc Andre Fortier (Canada)||0:01:29|
|8||Andrew Dillman (United States Of America)||0:02:10|
|9||Tobin Ortenblad (United States Of America)||0:02:38|
|10||Maxx Chance (United States Of America)||0:03:30|
|11||Dylan Postier (United States Of America)||0:03:47|
|12||Peter Disera (Canada)||0:04:38|
|13||Derrick St John (Canada)||0:05:01|
|14||Trevor O'donnell (Canada)||0:05:32|
|15||Cameron Jette (Canada)||0:07:02|
|-1 Lap||Christian Ricci (Canada)|
|-1 Lap||Christopher Mitchell (Canada)|
|-2 Laps||Gregg Griffo (United States Of America)|
|-2 Laps||Brendan Matheson (Canada)|
|-2 Laps||Edward Walsh (Canada)|
|-2 Laps||James Fedosov (Canada)|
|-2 Laps||Terry Mckall (Canada)|
|-3 Laps||Robert Meneguzzi (Canada)|
|-3 Laps||Mark Lancia (Canada)|
|-3 Laps||Chris Barson (Canada)|
|-3 Laps||Ben Andrew (Canada)|
|-4 Laps||Alex Lefebvre (Canada)|
|-4 Laps||Justin Minicola (Canada)|
|-5 Laps||Andrew Lambert (Canada)|
|-3 Laps||Stephen Hyde (United States Of America)|
|-6 Laps||Connor Gregory (Canada)|