McDonald rides away with under 23 title

Zach McDonald (Rapha Focus) dominated the U23 men's championship, winning by 2:21 over silver medalist Cody Kaiser (California Giant-Specialized) and 3:07 ahead of bronze medalist Jeffrey Bahnson (Van Dessel Factory Team), new to the U23 ranks after winning the 17-18 junior men's title at the previous 'cross nationals.

McDonald erased the bitter memory of the 2010 U23 championship race in which he collided with a spectator while leading by a comfortable margin. He was ultimately passed by Danny Summerhill and finished with the silver medal.

This time around there would be no doubt, however, as he rode away from the 36-man field the initial time up the circuit's first and decisive climb and never looked back. At the conclusion of six laps of racing, McDonald punctuated his triumphant ride with a wheelie across the finish line.

"I just wanted to keep it hard the whole race because of the luck I've had in the past. I wanted to have a little bit of room for error so I got the gap and settled in. That was the goal and it worked out.

"It (the initial gap) started on the hill and I was able to grind it from there. After the first [hill] came I was able to keep it going on the second one and that's where I tried to really drive it in.

"I just wanted to keep the pressure, I definitely went harder on the first lap to try to open it up. There was some wind out there and I didn't want Cody to stay on my wheel and draft."

"I got the hole shot and gave it a good punch," said Kaiser. "We rolled together for the first half lap and then he (McDonald) definitely showed his cards."

The six-lap race went like clockwork for McDonald, and he was quick to credit his support crew for the victory.

"We got the pressure dialed and both of my bikes were running great. It was definitely a team effort, I was in the pit every lap. I made sure I got the clean bike and the clean wheels.

"It seemed to even dry out from the first lap, or maybe it was just because I had to take different lines on the first lap, but my bike was definitely alot dirtier on the first lap.

McDonald will also contest the elite men's championship on Sunday, but the Rapha Focus rider's main priority this weekend was winning the U23 title.

"We'll see what's left in the legs. This was the big goal. Just because of the luck I've had I wanted to drive it and not save too much for tomorrow.

"I didn't want to back down because when you back down you start to take different lines. You start hitting ruts you didn't normally see. I wanted to make sure I was still going hard through the corners and back off maybe a little on the straightaways."

Full Results

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U23 men
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Zach Mcdonald (Team Rapha-Focus)0:52:44
2Cody Kaiser (California Giant Cycling/California Giant Berry Farms/Specialized)0:02:21
3Jeffrey Bahnson (Van Dessel Factory Team)0:03:07
4Jesse Keough (Corner Cycle Cycling Club/Champion System p/b Keough Cyclocross)0:04:52
5Joseph Welsh (Raleigh Allstars Cycling Club)0:05:21
6Skyler Trujillo0:06:08
7Kevin Fish (KCCX Fuji Elite Cyclocross Team p/b Challenge Tires)0:07:40
8Daniel Gerow (Wolverine Sports Club)0:07:48
9Gunnar BergeyRow 8 - Cell 2
10Patrick Bradley (Philadelphia Cyclocross School/Philadelphia Cyclocross School)0:08:43
11Ben Bertiger (The TEAM)0:09:35
12Zachary Semian (Van Dessel Factory Team)Row 11 - Cell 2
13Joseph Maloney (Team Wisconsin/KS Energy Services / Team Wisconsin)0:09:57
14Andrew Templeton (Team Cross (TCNM))0:10:09
15Eric Emsky (Cyclocrossracing.com)0:10:37
-1lapAdam MillerRow 15 - Cell 2
-2lapsKolby PrebleRow 16 - Cell 2
-2lapsThomas Mackay (Charm City Cycling LLC)Row 17 - Cell 2
-2lapsZeb King (Mock Orange Bikes/SmartStop / Mock Orange Bikes p/b Ridley)Row 18 - Cell 2
-2lapsAustin Jones (Wake Forest University)Row 19 - Cell 2
-3lapsJoshua Johnson (BikeReg.com Cycling Club)Row 20 - Cell 2
-3lapsBrian Jorgensen (Central Oregon Community College)Row 21 - Cell 2
-3lapsDavis Bentley (Above Category Racing)Row 22 - Cell 2
-3lapsAlex Dayton (Mock Orange Bikes/SmartStop / Mock Orange Bikes p/b Ridley)Row 23 - Cell 2
-3lapsMitch Nordahl (Minnesota Junior Cycling Inc.)Row 24 - Cell 2
-3lapsCole Cutright (Northwest Velo/JL Velo Racing Team)Row 25 - Cell 2
-3lapsAlexander Vaughan-Ruiz (The TEAM /The TEAM - SoCalCross)Row 26 - Cell 2
-3lapsBrandon FeeheryRow 27 - Cell 2
-3lapsAshton WischmeierRow 28 - Cell 2
-3lapsBuckley BirkholzRow 29 - Cell 2
-3lapsSamuel Bramel (Gopher Wheelmen/County Cycles)Row 30 - Cell 2
-3lapsJames Mccabe (Hearts Racing Club)Row 31 - Cell 2
-3lapsJohnathan Freter (Don Walker Cycles Racing)Row 32 - Cell 2
-4lapsMichael Dutczak (South Chicago Wheelmen)Row 33 - Cell 2
DNFMatthew Kuhn (HPC)Row 34 - Cell 2
DNFCole SpragueRow 35 - Cell 2

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