Stephen Hyde (Cannondale-Cyclocrossoworld.com) rode to his first elite men's title at the USA Cyclo-cross National Championships Sunday in Hartford, Connecticut, breaking the three-year grip of defending champ Jeremy Powers on the stars-and-stripes jersey.
Hyde, runner-up in 2016, overcame a difficult opening lap to open up a clear lead by the midway point of the event, ultimately jogging across the finish line after breaking a derailleur in the final corners.
Jamey Driscoll (Clement) put up a race-long chase but was unable to catch Hyde, holding on for second place ahead of Kerry Werner (Kona Endurance Team) in third. Powers finished well back in the strung-out field.
"I'm elated," Hyde said at the finish. "I'm so excited. This is such a hard course, and these guys were so good today. I knew I was strong coming into it, but a course like this really limits how much you can pedal. It really brought out the best in all these guys, and they are some of the best bike handlers I've ever seen. I'm just glad I stayed away from them."
Hyde was the fastest rider off the line, leading the field through the first corner, but he got tangled trying to remount after running up the first major climb of the race. He then found himself caught up in a traffic jam that left Powers and others making up ground as well.
"My big goal, I think everyone's goal, was to be first up that hill, and I was, but man did I botch it," Hyde said. "I tripped and then I couldn't get on my bike. Everything was going wrong. But I kept it cool, and, like I said, there was a big speed limit here, so I had to take a couple of risks and was with some really good bike drivers like [Jonathan] Page for awhile. It paid off, because I got to watch his lines."
Yannick Eckmann (Boulder Cycle Sport-YogaGlo) was the first rider to cross the start/finish line after lap one with Werner just behind. By the second lap, Hyde was back at the front with Werner, Tobin Ortenblad (Santa Cruz Factory Racing) and Jack Kisseberth (Jam Fund), and Hyde began to distance the field just before the start of lap three.
From there, no one was able to bring the 29-year-old-back, with Hyde delivering one strong lap after another en route to his ninth and final trip around the course. A strong second-half performance by Driscoll saw the Clement rider surge past Werner into second. Powers, meanwhile, never managed to work his way back to the head of the race.
"The start was fine and everything felt good," Powers told Cyclingnews. "I felt good on the bike and I felt good in the lead-up. But it just ended up that basically the first time up that hill we just kind of got a little sideways, and then shortly after that, next lap, I had a pretty good crash in the woods and hit my knee real good.
"Truly, the other guys were better today. That's the fact."
Asked about the absence of the defending champion in the front group, Hyde said it didn't affect the way he approached the race.
"I wasn't thinking about anyone in particular, to be honest," Hyde said. "I knew that it was who could ride this course the fastest, not who could out-pedal each other. It's just not that kind of course. There was a decent group in the first couple of laps, but it's really about who could stay up the longest. I even had a crash on the last lap and had to scoot across the line."
Indeed, Driscoll came tantalizingly close to Hyde at the finish line. Hyde hit the deck making his way up and over the last climb of the race and came away from the crash with a broken derailleur, forcing him to coast part of the way down the finishing straight before picking up his bike to cross the line on foot.
"It was so close, and Jamey is really good in these conditions," Hyde said. "The guy lives in Utah and he rides in the snow a lot. He's a skier, he's an incredible snow rider. I actually had a front flat tubular for the last half lap, too. So it was sketchy. I was scared."
Ultimately finishing two seconds ahead of Driscoll, Hyde secured the red, white and blue jersey for the first time in his career just a short trip away from his Massachusetts home.
"This is my adopted home now," he said. "I live 40 minutes from here in Easthampton and I consider the people here my family. My mom and my dad flew up here from Florida and some of my best friends came out from across the country. It means everything to me."
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Stephen Hyde (Cannondale Cyclocrossworld)||1:05:03|
|2||James Driscoll (Clement)||0:00:02|
|3||Kerry Werner (Kona Endurance Team)||0:00:31|
|4||Jack Kisseberth (Jam Fund / NCC)||0:00:56|
|5||Tobin Ortenblad (San Cruz Factory Racing)||0:01:04|
|6||Yannick Eckmann (Boulder Cycle Sport/ Yogaglo)||0:01:33|
|7||Jonathan Page (Fuji)||0:01:40|
|8||Todd Wells (Sram-Troy Lee Designs Racing Team)||0:02:49|
|9||Cody Kaiser (Lange Twins/Specialized)||0:03:57|
|10||Allen Krughoff (Boulder Cycle Sport/ Yogaglo)||0:04:27|
|11||Jeremy Durrin (Neon Velo Cycling Team)||0:04:31|
|12||Justin Lindine (Apex/NBX/Trek)||0:04:32|
|13||Scott Smith (Jam Fund / NCC)||0:05:32|
|14||Merwin Davis (Cyclus Sports)||0:05:35|
|15||Bjorn Selander (Borah Teamwear)||2 Laps|
|16||Kevin Bradford-Parish (Set Coaching)|
|18||Andrew Juiliano (Rock Lobster)|
|19||Daniel Chabanov (House Industries - Withings)||3 Laps|
|20||Casey Hildebrandt (The Underground Project)|
|21||Robert Marion (American Classic Cyclocross Tea)|
|22||Eric Thompson (Hed P/B Molten Speed Wax)|
|23||Skyler Trujillo (Fort Lewis College)|
|24||Jeremy Powers (Aspire Racing)|
|25||Anthony Clark (Squid Bikes)|
|26||Dylan Postier (Renewed Cyclocross)|
|27||jordan Snyder (C3-2020)|
|28||Brendan Mccormack (CCB Racing)|
|30||Samuel O'keefe (House Industries - Withings)|
|31||Michael Mihalik (J Mac Cycling Llc)||4 Laps|
|32||Tyler Cloutier (Renewed Cyclocross)|
|33||Dan Timmerman (Stan's Notubes Elite Cx)|
|34||Mike Festa (Philadelphia Ciclismo)|
|35||Alex Ryan (Mob Pro Cycling Team)|
|36||Jake Wells (Stan's Notubes Elite Cx)|
|37||Ryan Woodall (Team TGB)||5 Laps|
|38||Andy Scott (Riverside Racing)|
|39||Jules Goguely (Apex/NBX/Trek)|
|40||Daniel Summerhill (UnitedHealthcare)|
|41||Jesse Stauffer (Lateral Stress Velo Inc.)|
|42||Tim Willis (King Kog)|