Stephenson wins US junior 'cross championship

Colorado rider overcomes mechanical to win stars-and-stripes jersey

Denzel Stephenson (Boulder Junior Cycling) overcame a mid-race mechanical to take the victory Sunday at the USA Cycling Cyclo-cross National Championships Junior race, suffering a broken crank on the third lap but eventually making his way past Lane Maher (Hands On Cycling) for the win. Stephenson's Boulder Junior teammate, Ross Ellwood, was third.

Runner-up in 2016, Stephenson took the hole shot on the snow-covered course in Hartford, Connecticut.

"I didn't want to be behind anyone, especially at the start, because of the conditions. I just wanted to ride my own race and not look back," Stephenson said.

He began soloing away in the second lap with Maher trying to keep the gap manageable, before a seat problem and then a broken crank in the third lap suddenly put Stephenson's title bid in doubt. Maher closed the distance and took the lead as Stephenson swapped bikes, but he was unable to hold on in the front, hit by a mechanical of his own.

"I had to run from the top of the Bonk Breaker Hill," Stephenson told Cyclingnews. "I was able to coast down the hill, but then I had to run to the second pit. That cost me a lot of time.

"I was pretty bummed at first," Stephenson said. "I was like, 'Oh, there goes the race,' because I was leading. But I just pitted back onto my other bike and rode my best from there. And then Lane ended up having a mistake too, so it came back together."

By the fourth lap, Stephenson was back in control, and he maintained his advantage all the way to the finish. He crossed the line 20 seconds ahead of Maher, with Ellwood besting Caleb Swartz (Trek Cyclocross Collective) in a tight battle for third.

Despite the mechanicals, Stephenson pointed to the difficult, iced-over course and the frigid conditions – morning temperatures hovered under 20 degrees fahrenheit – as contributing factors to his success.

"I like technical stuff," Stephenson said. "Today was pretty technical. In Colorado it gets like this a lot, so I've had some experience racing in snow and ice like this. I think it worked to my advantage today."


#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Denzel Stephenson (Boulder Junior Cycling)0:39:45 
2Lane Maher (Hands On Cycling)0:00:20 
3Ross Ellwood (Boulder Junior Cycling)0:01:02 
4Caleb Swartz (Trek Cyclocross Collective)0:01:04 
5Calder Wood (Rad Racing NW)0:01:28 
6Sam Noel (Cannondale Cyclocrossworld)0:01:42 
7Scott Funston (Rad Racing NW)0:01:49 
8Gregory Gunsalus (AP Junior Development)0:02:00 
9Drew Sotebeer (Alpha Bicycle Co.- Vista Subaru)0:02:06 
10Henry Jones (Bend Endurance Academy)0:02:21 
11Camden Brooks (AP Junior Development)0:02:55 
12Clyde Logue (Killington Mountain School)0:03:04 
13Benjamin Gomezvillafane (Cycle Sport - Specialized p/b M)0:03:10 
14Evan Clouse (Hot Tubes Development Cycling T)0:03:12 
15Alex Mccormack (Hot Tubes Development Cycling T)0:04:05 
16Kendrick Boots (Alpha Bicycle Co.- Vista Subaru)0:04:30 
17Donovan Birky (Hutches/Bend Dental)0:04:36 
18George Schulz (Van Dessel Factory Team)0:04:41 
19Kevin Goguen (RACE CF)0:05:34 
20Brayden Buchanan (Rad Racing NW)0:06:00 
21Mark Myles (Be Real Sports)0:06:04 
22Nolan Brunner (Boulder Junior Cycling)0:06:05 
23Ben Powers (Riverside Racing)0:06:14 
24Daniel Vaughn (Northampton Cycling Club)0:06:18 
25Donald Seib (BMB Racing)0:06:42 
26Campbell Watson (Boulder Junior Cycling)0:06:59 
27Joseph Lukens (Bend Endurance Academy)0:07:01 
28Gentry Jefferson (Monticello Velo Club)0:07:32 
29Alex Campbell (TEAM CLIF BAR Cycling)0:07:42 
30Ryan Aittaniemi (AP Junior Development)0:09:04 
31Finnegan O'connor0:11:39 
32Ethan Dellamaestra (Storm Racing Team)1 lap 
33Amai Rawls (Team Louisville)  
34Spencer Johnston (Mock Orange Bikes)2 Laps 
35Eli Woodard  
36Zachary Young (BoltzStrong)  
37Benjamin Harris (Rock Creek Velo)  
38Ryan Zwick (CT Cycling Advancement Program)  
39Evan Goldberg (Rock Creek Velo)  
40Jackson Heath (Riverside Racing)  
41Austin Banks (Young Medalists)  
42Laraib Laubach (Rock Creek Velo)  
43Garrett Smith (Tri Cities Road Club)  
44Wiley Melton (Melton Design Build / GS CIAO J)  
45Matthew Shea (Somerset Wheelman)  
46Tyler Smith (Van Dessel Factory Team)3 Laps 
47Kyle Mullaly  
48Bo Rider (Rock Creek Velo)  
49Nathaniel Ryan (New England Devo)  
50Aidan Dixon (Rock Creek Velo)  
51Brent Franze (Giant Co-Factory Off-Road Team)4 Laps 
DNFChristian Norvold (New England Devo)  


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