Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld teammates Stephen Hyde and Curtis White share a lot of things: sponsors, coaches, mechanics, and often times they are roommates ahead of races, but the one thing they would not share was the stars-and-stripes jersey. The pair raced neck-and-neck in what was the most evenly matched race of the day, but, in the end, it was Hyde who won the elite men’s title at the USA Cycling Cyclo-cross Championships in Louisville on Sunday.
Hyde finally gained a small gap on White on the penultimate lap, over the steep hill at the end of the circuit. He rode up most of it, through the muddy sludge, only getting off near the top to run the rest of it. He raced through the start-finish line with a five-second lead and only one lap to go. A clean last lap was all Hyde needed to win his third consecutive title. It was a one-two podium for Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld as White finished second.
Gage Hecht, an under-23 rider who chose to race with the elite men, finished third.
"It feels like I left my back, and maybe some of my legs, out on course," said Hyde, who was married in Louisville earlier in the week. “This feels fantastic. It’s been a hell of a season for me this year.”
How it unfolded
The elite men’s race ended up being the most unpredictable of all the categories this weekend. Even before it started, injuries and illness swept through the field as defending champion Hyde suffered a broken sternum at the start of the season, and four-time national champion Jeremy Powers struggled with illness. Meanwhile, many other riders stepped up their game this year.
They all lined up with their sights set on the stars-and-stripes jersey.
Third-row starter Maxx Chance stormed to the front and wound up racing ahead of the pack as the race opened up on the first lap.
It wasn’t long before teammates Hyde and White worked their way forward. White opened an early gap on Hyde as they raced over the fly-over, and proved strongest of the pair through the first long running section.
Hyde caught back up, however, and passed his teammate on the steep descent and through the more technical off-camber sections.
The pair raced neck-to-neck through the mud, both riders taking advantage of the areas that best suited their own strengths.
Gage Hecht (Aevolo Cycling), who opted to race with the elite men even though he could have raced under-23, was the closest rival but he trailed Hyde and White by 10 seconds as they started the second lap.
A cluster or riders who also had their eye on third place included Kerry Werner, Andrew Dillman, Anthony Clarke, Eric Thompson and Jeremy Powers.
White took an untimely fall on the descent, as his front wheel caught the edge of a post and he fell into the course barriers. He got back up quickly but the fall cost him several seconds to Hyde.
White slowly gained back that time through the more sluggish sections of the course, running and riding smoothly through the thick mud until he caught back up to Hyde.
The pair edge one another out on the climbs, technical corners and barriers, but it was Hyde who finally gained the winning gap over the steepest climb on course at the end of the penultimate lap.
Hyde started the last lap with only five seconds on White, but both riders looked completely blown as they pushed on toward the finish line. Hyde even had a small bobble on the descent with a few hundred metres to go, but White wasn't able to capitalize on that mistake.
Hyde crossed the finish line as fans threw confetti onto the course in celebration of his third consecutive win at the national championships. He got off his bike and lifted it in the air, and waiting for his teammate, White, to cross the line in second.
Standing at the finish line, they gave each other congratulatory hugs and both seem genuinely happy for each other, and for their respective performances.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Stephen Hyde (USA) Cannondale Cyclocrossworld||1:07:09|
|2||Curtis White (USA) Cannondale||0:00:27|
|3||Gage Hecht (USA) Aevolo Cycling Inc.||0:01:20|
|4||Andrew Dillman (USA) Indiana/Kentucky Cycling Associ||0:02:05|
|5||Jeremy Powers (USA) Fuji / Pactimo / SRAM||0:02:48|
|6||Kerry Werner (USA)||0:03:05|
|7||Eric Thompson (USA) MSPEEDWAX.COM||0:03:53|
|8||Anthony Clark (USA)||0:04:25|
|9||Merwin Davis (USA) Cycle-Smart Inc.||0:04:44|
|10||Grant Ellwood (USA) 303 Project||0:05:26|
|11||Jack Kisseberth (USA) JAM Fund / NCC||0:06:10|
|12||Tristan Cowie (USA) Carolinas Cycling Association||0:06:40|
|13||Allen Krughoff (USA) Chocolove Specialized||0:07:45|
|14||Tyler Cloutier (USA) TCCX||0:08:07|
|15||Brian Matter (USA) Linear Sport Racing||0:08:42|
|16||Andrew Giniat (USA) The Pony Shop p/b KPMG||0:08:55|
|17||Samuel Okeefe (USA) RSCX - House Ind - DWR - HM||0:09:43|
|18||Alex Ryan (USA) Mock Orange Bikes Pro CX||0:10:23|
|19||Cody Kaiser (USA)||0:10:48|
|20||Terol Pursell (USA) Bicycle Racing Association of C||0:11:14|
|21||Dylan Postier (USA) Garneau-Easton p/b Transitions||0:11:51|
|22||Maxx Chance (USA) 303 Project||-2 Laps|
|23||Garrett Gerchar (USA)|
|24||Andrew Nicholas (USA)|
|25||Samuel Kieffer (USA) Texas Roadhouse Cycling Team|
|26||Bjorn Selander (USA) Donkey Label|
|27||Justin Lindine (USA) Hyperthreads/Apex Pro Cycling|
|28||Allan Schroeder (USA) High Desert Hustle|
|29||Jonathan Anderson (USA)|
|30||Andrew Wulfkuhle (USA) 717 Cycling club|
|31||Jacob Leblanc (USA) Competitive Edge Racing||-3 Laps|
|32||Walker Shaw (USA)|
|33||Max Judelson (USA)|
|34||Josh Direen (USA) Groove Subaru Excel Sports|
|35||Joseph Schmalz (USA) TradeWind Energy Cycling Team|
|36||Adam Myerson (USA) Cycle-Smart|
|37||Josh Bauer (USA) Donkey Label|
|38||Ian Gielar (USA) JAM Fund / NCC|
|39||Robert Cummings Iii (USA)|
|40||David Gunnerson (USA) Ascent Concept Team|
|41||Andrew Loaiza (USA)|
|42||Brendan Lehman (USA)||-4 Laps|
|43||Trent Blackburn (USA) JAM Fund / NCC|
|44||Kyle Johnson (USA) Team Yacht Club|
|DNF||Daniel Chabanov (USA) RSCX - House Ind - DWR - Herman|
|DNF||Scott Smith (USA) JAM Fund / NCC|
|DNS||Tobin Ortenblad (USA) Santa Cruz Factory Racing|
|DNS||Troy Wells (USA) TEAM CLIF BAR Cycling|
|DNS||Travis Livermon (USA) The Endurance Collective|