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Hecht wins US junior cyclo-cross title

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Gage Hecht won the UCI 17-18 Juniors event for the second day in a row after a close competition with regular competitor Spencer Petrov, who crashed off the course mid-race

Gage Hecht won the UCI 17-18 Juniors event for the second day in a row after a close competition with regular competitor Spencer Petrov, who crashed off the course mid-race
(Image credit: Wil Matthews)
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Evan Clouse heads out from the bike barn

Evan Clouse heads out from the bike barn
(Image credit: Emory Ball)
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Spencer Petrov was in a good position early in the race

Spencer Petrov was in a good position early in the race
(Image credit: Emory Ball)
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Junior men struggle with the new run-up

Junior men struggle with the new run-up
(Image credit: Emory Ball)
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Caleb Swartz tests the traction

Caleb Swartz tests the traction
(Image credit: Emory Ball)
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Cade Bickmore slides down from heckle hill

Cade Bickmore slides down from heckle hill
(Image credit: Emory Ball)
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Jordan Lewis (Cycle-Smart)

Jordan Lewis (Cycle-Smart)
(Image credit: Emory Ball)
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Colton Brookshire

Colton Brookshire
(Image credit: Emory Ball)
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Drew Sotebeer

Drew Sotebeer
(Image credit: Emory Ball)

Gage Hecht (Alpha Bicycle Co) claimed his sixth national championship title in cyclo-cross and his second in the junior 17-18 category on Sunday at the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina. The Colorado rider overcame a bad start to take the lead by the end of the first lap and then soloed to a narrow victory over Denzel Stephenson and Eric Brunner (Boulder Junior Cycling).

Spencer Petrov, who was expected to challenge Hecht for the victory, faded from second position to fourth after a mid-race crash.

"It feels amazing. I love the feeling I get from winning. It's great," Hecht said. "I knew the course would be technical and it would separate out quickly, so I wanted to make sure I was at the front of that separation from the get go. I didn't want to get stuck behind stuff. I didn't have a great start but was able to get up front."

Overnight rain soaked the arduous, tricky course, turning the course into a slipper mud-fest. The off-camber sections were particularly treacherous, and even Hecht crashed. But it was the riders who would make the fewest mistakes and take the best lines who would prevail. While Hecht had a healthy lead with one lap to go, Brunner and Stephenson closed to within seconds before the line, making for a nervous last lap for Hecht.

"I was super shocked by that, I knew they were strong, but I should have expected it more," Hecht said of their chase back. "But It was cool to see a bunch of Colorado guys up there with me."

Hecht kept his head down and kept pushing forward, and Stephenson out-sprinted his teammate Brunner for the silver medal just three seconds after Hecht crossed the line. Petrov was 35 seconds behind in fourth, with Hecht's teammate Evan Clouse rounding out the top five.

Results

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Gage Hecht0:39:23
2Denzel Stephenson0:39:26
3Eric Brunner0:39:29
4Spencer Petrov0:39:58
5Evan Clouse0:41:05
6Cameron Beard0:42:05
7Caleb Swartz0:42:23
8Ross Ellwood0:42:37
9Michael Owens0:42:49
10Cade Bickmore0:43:30
11Jack Tanner0:43:43
12Scott Mcgill0:44:39
13Colton Brookshire0:44:49
14George Schulz0:45:08
15Brayden Buchanan0:45:12
16Drew Sotebeer0:45:14
17Joshua Anderson0:45:39
18Cassidy Bailey0:45:45
19Henry Coppolillo
20Tristan Greathouse0:46:22
21Clyde Logue0:46:40
22Kevin Goguen0:46:48
23Jordan Lewis0:46:50
24Jack Warner0:47:27
25Nicholas Beirne0:47:29
26Donovan Birky0:47:44
27Cameron Scott0:48:30
28Cole Davis0:48:53
29Ethan Storm0:49:29
30Ryan Aittaniemi0:49:34
31Tommy Steinebrunner0:49:55
32Donald Seib0:50:25
33Tate Knowles0:50:50
34Eli Gold0:51:10
35Eric Voigt0:51:49
36Henry Davis-1
37Garrett Smith
38Zachary Young
39Charlie Ormsby
40Ethan Dellamaestra
41Collin Sallee
42Johannes Stromski
43Carter Warren
44Cole Weidenbach
45Thomas Carey
46Tyler Curtis
47Zachary Ross
48Jeremy Norris
49Spencer Moavenzadeh
50Alexander Christian
51Aidan Pounder
52Simon Lewis
53Perry Andre
54Paul Hartner
55Eli House
56Jacob Banks
57Mark Myles
58Christian Norvold
59William Hardin-2
60Nicolas Padilla
61Jules Gilliam
62Sean Mcelroy
63Luke Thomas
64Jack White
DNFJack Crump

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