Jeffrey Bahnson (Van Dessel Factory Team) captured a hard-fought victory at the UCI Junior 17-18 men’s USA Cycling Cyclo-cross National Championships held on Saturday in Bend, Oregon. He entered the race as the odds-on favorite to win but it did not come without a battle from Bjorn Fox (Clif Bar Development Cross) who finished in second place. Andrew Dillman (Prochain Cycling) round out the podium in third place.
“It’s a much more competitive field than the 15-16,” said Bahnson who won two previous titles in the younger category. “Fox was killing it today and was really strong. It feels good [to win] now because I was really nervous this morning. It was great to win again because it was definitely a much more competitive field.”
The UCI Junior 17-18 men lined up under soggy and cold weather conditions. The early morning rain turned to snow and then back to rain making for a slick circuit with deep puddles and thick muddy sections. According to Bahnson, they were the perfect ‘cross conditions for him.
“It was muddy and wet and slick conditions,” Bahnson said. “I had a lot of trouble in some of the muddy part with clipping in because it was so cold and hard to tell where the pedals were. Other than that, all the slick and muddy stuff was fun to run through. The grass was hard to ride through.”
Gunnar Bergey nabbed the hole shot from the pavement into the slightly uphill muddy first corner. He was followed by Zane Godby (Clif Bar Development Cross), Sam O’Keefe, Ben Bertiger (Major Motion Cycling), Tobin Ortenblad, Alex Howard (Above Category Racing), Cypress Gorry (Brothers Glen) and Kolby Preble (Clif Bar Development Cross). The eventual top three riders Bahnson, Fox and Dillman were caught up in a slower than usual start and forced to play catch up during the opening
“I felt like I had a really shitty start,” Bahnson said. “I got sprayed with all the mud and water and I was pretty far back. I think I was in the top 15.”
A group of three riders blasted through the pits half a lap into the race that included Godby, O’Keefe and Bahnson. By the start of the second lap Bahnson had moved into the lead with an eager chase group behind that included Godby and two of the events strongest contenders Dillman and Fox.
Fox was arguably the most aggressive rider on circuit, attacking the lead group where opportunities presented themselves. He took the over the lead of the bike race on the steep stairs forcing Dillman and Bahnson to chase. The faster push caused Godby to fall off pace in fourth place.
With two laps to go Dillman also fell off pace and it became apparent that the battle for the national title was between two riders, Bahnson and Fox. Bahnson drove the pace into the last lap creating a significant solo lead that he maintained all the way to the finish line, adding a third national title to his collection.
“I was going back and forth a little bit with Bjorn,” Bahnson said. “I made an attack on the finishing straight and kept the power down through the next section and got a little gap on him. When I got about 10 seconds I felt like I had it pretty much in the bag then.”
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Jeffrey Bahnson (Van Dessel Factory Team)||0:42:32|
|2||Bjorn Fox (Clif Bar Development Cross Team)||0:00:29|
|3||Andrew Dillman (Prochain Cycling)||0:01:18|
|4||Richard Cypress Gorry||0:01:43|
|5||Gunnar Bergey (C3-Athletes Serving Athletes)||0:01:53|
|6||Samuel O'Keefe (Charm City Cycling Llc)||0:02:35|
|7||Alex Howard (Above Category Racing)||0:02:42|
|9||Zane Godby (Clif Bar Development Cross Team)||0:02:51|
|10||Kolby Preble (Clif Bar Development Cross Team)||0:03:19|
|11||Luke Haley (Red Zone Cycling)||0:03:25|
|12||Jack MacClarence (Capital Bicycle Racing Club)||0:03:42|
|13||Brandon Dillard (Owens Healthcare)||0:05:05|
|14||Zachary Semian (Chester County Cycling Foundation)||0:05:20|
|16||Evan Renwick (Northwest Velo/First Rate Mortgage)||0:05:47|
|18||Samuel Dobrozsi (Queen City Wheels)||0:06:24|
|19||Zachary Bender (Cycle-Smart Inc.)||0:06:32|
|20||Alex Darville (Echelon Santa Barbara)||0:06:51|
|22||Callum Read (Active Knowledge/Cottonwood)||0:08:41|
|23||Johnny Mullane (Bike Station Aptos)||0:08:53|
|-1lap||Joshua Keener (Active Knowledge/Aims)|
|-1lap||Kaleb Anderson (Byrds (Boise Young Rider Dev))|
|-1lap||Ayden Hibner-Hereford (Active Knowledge)|
|-1lap||David Yamamoto (Asc Junior Development)|
|DNF||J Fette (Lake Washington Velo)|
|DNF||Ben Bertiger (Major Motion Cycling Club)|