German Yannick Eckmann continued his dominance of the domestic junior men's field, winning the USGP in Fort Collins by a strong margin over Jeff Bahnson, while Zane Godby claimed third.
The victory was the Colorado resident's fifth straight USGP victory this season, having won both races in Wisconsin and Louisville. It was also his third UCI win of the year after claiming both days in Granogue in October.
After taking the hole shot, Eckmann led the race from start to finish, tackling the greasy, sinuous course with relative ease.
"That was my goal - to go hard from the beginning and just try to go harder the whole time and have fun," Eckmann said. "It's the first muddy race this year. The key was to have fun and keep the bike loose - just let the bike do the talking so to speak."
He and Bahnson were clearly the best in the field at letting the bike lead the way through the grass-thickened muck that made up half of the course. Bahnson stayed close to Eckmann for the first few laps, but gradually had to let go as the altitude began to sap his strength.
"At the start I felt good, and then I started sliding out in places and dabbing, and Yannick got a lead on me," Banhson, a native of Kentucky, said. "I thought I was coming back a bit, but then with two laps to go I felt like I didn't have any air left.
"It was a whole lot of fun in the mud - it's been so dry, it's nice to have some real 'cross weather. I enjoyed it."
For Eckmann, the win was an important step toward a good starting position and good practice for next week's Superprestige race in Gavere, Belgium. "It's great to get UCI points - the first UCI race I did this year I won both days and was leading the UCI rankings, but after the European championships I went down to 5th."
Eckmann will stay in Europe for the Koksijde World Cup before returning for the final USGP round in Portland.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Yannick Eckmann (Ger)||0:39:07|
|2||Jeffrey Bahnson (USA)||0:00:35|
|3||Zane Godby (USA)||0:02:16|
|4||Andrew Dillman (USA)||0:02:37|
|5||Bjorn Fox (USA)||0:02:58|
|6||Cypress Gorry (USA)||0:04:14|
|7||Gunnar Bergey (USA)||0:04:34|
|8||Kolby Preble (USA)||0:05:58|
|9||Jeremiah Dyer (USA)||0:07:31|
|10||Tyler Coplea (USA)||0:08:02|
|11||Luke Haley (USA)||0:08:16|
|12||Jeffrey Perrin (USA)||0:09:03|
|-1lap||Zachary Semian (USA)|