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