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Ortenblad wins US men's U23 championship

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Tobin Ortenblad celebrates his 2016 US cyclo-cross U23 title

Tobin Ortenblad celebrates his 2016 US cyclo-cross U23 title
(Image credit: Jonathan Devich/epicimages.us)
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Curtis White (Cannondale) tries to make up time on the descent

Curtis White (Cannondale) tries to make up time on the descent
(Image credit: Jonathan Devich/epicimages.us)
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Curtis White (Cannondale) chases Tobin Ortenblad (Cal Giant) up the steep Heckle Hill climb

Curtis White (Cannondale) chases Tobin Ortenblad (Cal Giant) up the steep Heckle Hill climb
(Image credit: Jonathan Devich/epicimages.us)
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Maxx Chance (Pros Closet) pushes his way up the muddy climb in the U23 race

Maxx Chance (Pros Closet) pushes his way up the muddy climb in the U23 race
(Image credit: Jonathan Devich/epicimages.us)
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Tobin Ortenblad (Cal Giant) takes the lead in the U23 race

Tobin Ortenblad (Cal Giant) takes the lead in the U23 race
(Image credit: Jonathan Devich/epicimages.us)
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Riders go through and under the Antler Hill barn along the course

Riders go through and under the Antler Hill barn along the course
(Image credit: Jonathan Devich/epicimages.us)
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Curtis White (Cannondale) leads the first lap in the mens U23 race

Curtis White (Cannondale) leads the first lap in the mens U23 race
(Image credit: Jonathan Devich/epicimages.us)
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Tobin Ortenblad (Cal Giant) can’t believe his win in the U23 race

Tobin Ortenblad (Cal Giant) can’t believe his win in the U23 race
(Image credit: Jonathan Devich/epicimages.us)
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Curtis White (Cannondale) fought hard throughout todays race

Curtis White (Cannondale) fought hard throughout todays race
(Image credit: Jonathan Devich/epicimages.us)
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Tobin Ortenblad (Cal Giant) heads out for his final lap

Tobin Ortenblad (Cal Giant) heads out for his final lap
(Image credit: Jonathan Devich/epicimages.us)
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Crowds begin to build for the U23 mens race

Crowds begin to build for the U23 mens race
(Image credit: Jonathan Devich/epicimages.us)
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The U23 men head out onto the first lap

The U23 men head out onto the first lap
(Image credit: Jonathan Devich/epicimages.us)
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The U23 men are off

The U23 men are off
(Image credit: Jonathan Devich/epicimages.us)
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Tobin Ortenblad (Cal Giant) gets surrounded by press after his win

Tobin Ortenblad (Cal Giant) gets surrounded by press after his win
(Image credit: Jonathan Devich/epicimages.us)

Tobin Ortenblad had one last chance to win a national championship before being thrust into the elite category, and the California Giant-Specialized rider was determined to finally capture the elusive stars and stripes. Seizing control of the race from the first lap, Ortenblad stayed at the front each lap and, fending off a concerted effort from Curtis White (Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld), Ortenblad maintained his composure to grab his first gold. Grant Ellwood (Boulder Cycle Sport/Yogaglo) was third.

"It's unreal. It's literally a dream come true for sure," an elated Ortenblad said after his victory. "I kept hearing people telling guys behind me 'race smart, you're right where you want to be'. I knew I wanted to be in front, but that threw me off a little."

Ortenblad's first victim was Lance Haidet, who was right behind him with Ellwood on the first lap. On lap two, Drew Dillman (Cyclocross Network) had bridged across, and was then joined by White and Ellwood for a lead group of four. But then Dillman broke his rear derailleur off and had to run half a lap to the pits, and Ellwood could no longer hold the pace. It would be White against Ortenblad for the win.

"Curtis came around me at one point, and I came right back by. I just stayed up there. There was not a lot of strategy today," Ortenblad said. "There was one off-camber turn and he went wide and I went inside. It was kind of a line I'd never seen before, but it turned out to be really fast. I had a gap with one and a half laps to go, and just held it."

Ortenblad has been one of the top junior and then U23 riders in the US, but has never had much luck when it came to the national championships. He was second in his last year as a junior to Logan Owen, then third in his first U23 year, but fifth the last two seasons.

This year, White had put in a string of impressive results and was most pundits' rider to watch. "I felt like there were three of us who would have a good battle, but I did feel like Curtis was probably the favourite," Ortenblad said. "I knew to win I'd have to be on it, and I'm glad it worked out. It needed to happen. It's a good thing for me going forward."

White was devastated after the finish, and had to take several minutes to compose himself before breaking down his race. "It was tough. I started well, but I chose a higher pressure which wasn't a good decision. I was sliding around a bit too much. I changed bikes and the tread started hooking up, but I had to make up that deficit. I made it back to the lead group and was careful not to punch it too early. When I did I hit hard, but Tobin came back. I tried to punch it again, but he had it in the last lap. He was able to edge out a few seconds."

At the line, 12 seconds separated White from Ortenblad's enthusiastic victory salute. But next year, he hopes he can get revenge in his final U23 year.

Ellwood rode a steady final two laps to hold onto third, and though he was almost 30 seconds behind White, he was pleased with the result. "I had some tough races before this - I crashed pretty hard and didn't finish the collegiate race, so I'm pretty happy with this. Honestly, [White and Ortenblad] are just both so strong. They kind of went and all I could do was try to hold on. They got the best of me, but it was fun racing.” 

Full Results

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Tobin Ortenblad (USA) California Giant Cycling0:53:18
2Curtis White (USA) Cannondale Cyclocrossworld0:53:28
3Grant Ellwood (USA) Boulder Cycle Sport/ YogaGlo0:54:20
4Scott Smith (USA) JAM / NCC / Vittoria0:54:55
5Ian Mcpherson (USA) The Pro's Closet0:55:37
6Cooper Willsey (USA) Cannondale Cyclocrossworld0:55:46
7Gavin Haley (USA) Giant Factory0:56:04
8Brannan Fix (USA) Alpha Bicycle Co.- Vista Subaru0:56:08
9Garrett Gerchar (USA)0:56:10
10Casey Hildebrandt (USA) The Underground Project0:56:21
11Lance Haidet (USA)0:56:25
12Byron Rice (USA) Clemmons Bicycle Racing
13Andrew Dillman (USA) Cyclocross Network Racing0:56:52
14Maxx Chance (USA) The Pro's Closet0:56:55
15Nathaniel Morse (USA) RACE CF0:57:01
16Skyler Mackey (USA) KCCX Elite Cyclocross pb Clemen0:57:09
17Cody Cupp (USA) Set Coaching0:58:14
18Peter Goguen (USA) RACE CF0:58:39
19Liam Dunn (USA) TEAM CLIF BAR Cycling0:59:21
20Ian Mcshane (USA)0:59:23
21Taylor Squillaci (USA) Nero Veloce p/b Michael Thomas0:59:42
22Cormac Mcgeough (USA) Fort Lewis College0:59:48
23Spencer Downing (USA)0:59:51
24Jonathan Anderson (USA) Fort Lewis College0:59:52
25Andrew Bailey (USA) Provision PEAK Performance Team1:00:23
26Trent Blackburn (USA) Independent Fabrication1:00:24
27Cormac Dunn (USA) TEAM CLIF BAR Cycling1:00:26
28Rob Sandusky (USA) Matrix/RBM1:00:57
29Alex Meucci (USA)1:01:35
30David Greif (USA) Sabino Cycles Racing1:01:50
31John Francisco (USA) University of Louisville1:01:55
32Peter Botts (USA) Walt's Bike Shop/Logboat Brewin1:02:00
33Charlie Hough (USA) UCI CT: Holowesko | Citadel Rac1:02:24
34Andrew Borden (USA) Squadra Flying Tigers1:02:26
35Anders Nystrom (USA) Marian University Cycling Team1:03:04
36Andrew Lints (USA) Bicycle Express Racing1:04:28
37Cory Small (USA) NEXT-BMB-2
38Andrew Dietz (USA) Trek Cyclocross Collective
39Nicholas Lando (USA) University of Vermont
40Peter Striegel (USA) University of Vermont
41Roger Young (USA) Team NYCROSS.com
42Clayton Travis (USA) WAS Labs Cycling-3
43Ben Rothschild (USA) Georgia Tech Cycling
44Andrew Nicholas (USA) Rensselaer Polytechnic Institut
45Dillen Maurer (USA) Kona Bikes
46Lane Johnson (USA) Move Up Development-Trek
47Zach Bender (USA) Cycle-Smart Inc.
48Zachary Nehr (USA) LAPT CC
49Nick Thomas (USA) Trek Cyclocross Collective
50Chris Goguen (USA) RACE CF
51Andrew Luettgen (USA) East Point Track Club
52Sam Winters (USA) Marian University Cycling Team
53Andrew Hall (USA) Asheville Cyclocross
54John Hoffman Jr. (USA) Marian University Cycling Team
55Devin Reavis (USA) High Country Development Team-4
56Garrett Clark (USA) Appalachian State University
57Caleb Smith (USA) High Country Development Team
58Andrew Hodges (USA) Prima Tappa Cycling p/b Mansfie
59Tyler Roberts (USA) ChristianCycling St Louis

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