Ellen Noble (Jam Fund) claimed an impressive solo victory in the inaugural national championship for youth women. Noble, won last year was the best U23 rider and who was junior national champion in 2013, topped Collegiate champion Sofia Gomez Villafane and Emma White (Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld). Hannah Arensman (Twenty 16) was the best of the junior women.
"It means a lot. This is a huge confirmation for me going into Worlds," Noble said to Cyclingnews. "Winning it last year felt really good, but to win it with our own race, and going into Worlds, it means so much more. It is an amazing feeling, and to do it on a muddy course is an extra bonus. It feels really great."
Being separated from the elites for the first time in the national championships made the race less predictable, she said. "I was a little nervous about it because in the past I've been able to use the elite women as pacers, but I knew that we would be in charge of the speed. It was a little intimidating, but I was able to keep my head cool. It was hard."
Noble bided her time on the first lap, as White hit out hard to take the early lead. The 45-rider field, which was the combined 17-22 year old age group, split up early on the hilly, technical Biltmore Estate course. Although White put in a strong effort in the first part of the lap, Noble played it a bit more conservatively and slowly worked her way forward.
"I wanted to ride my pace, and Emma came in really hot and I tried to keep up with her, but I wanted to ride with how I was comfortable. I knew if I tried to go with her I would make a mistake, and I didn't want to do that. I rode my own pace and ended up catching back up, and then tried to stay focused on the win."
Meanwhile, Gomez Villafane, who started on the back row because she lacked UCI points, had to fight her way up into third position throughout the first lap. "I was second to last call up," Gomez Villafane said. "I decided to have 10 feet between me and the pack, so as soon as the front leaders were clipped in, I could clip in too and then see the gaps to get through. By the end of the lap I was up in the top five. I saw my little brother yesterday go from 61st to first, so I thought if he could do it, I could at least get top five."
Once in the top five, Gomez Villafane still had to get past White, and she made her move on the trickiest part of the course - a slippery, muddy off-camber section that led to the first big climb in the lap.
"I caught Emma on the off-camber before 'heckle hill' and she was just riding a little slower. When I passed her we rubbed shoulders a little. She's such a strong runner, she was right behind me the whole time. I made my time on the technical descents for sure, because I'm more of a mountain bike rider."
After winning the collegiate division 1 race, Gomez Villafane felt confident she could be in the top 10 today, and once she moved into the top five, that was her goal. "But I didn't think I'd get second. I was really surprised, but I'm stoked. I'm so excited.
As White faded, and Gomez Villafane moved forward, Noble's experience shone through, and each lap she padded her lead. She crossed the line with 1:37 on Gomez Villafane, with White another 38 seconds behind.
"I think there were a lot of factors with how I raced today," White said. "One of the best and worst things about cyclo-cross is how unpredictable it is. We can't ask for our best race every day. Ellen had a fantastic race, I'm really happy for her. She's been working hard for this all season, as have I. There's always next year. I'm happy with it."
White was pleased to have a separate U23 category in her first year out of the juniors.
"I think we are so lucky to be able to race with the elites. You learn a lot. Then coming here you can use everything you learn from them. I think it's huge to have our own category. It's really good for the development of women's cycling and junior cycling.”
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Ellen Noble (USA) JAM Fund / NCC / Vittoria||0:44:09|
|2||Sofia Gomez Villafane (USA)||0:45:46|
|3||Emma White (USA) Cannondale Cyclocrossworld Devo||0:46:24|
|4||Laurel Rathbun (USA) Raleigh/Clement||0:46:50|
|5||Hannah Finchamp (USA) Luna Pro Team||0:47:07|
|6||Emma Swartz (USA) Trek Cyclocross Collective||0:47:18|
|7||Hannah Arensman (USA) TWENTY16 Pro Cycling||0:47:20|
|8||Allison Arensman (USA) TWENTY16 Ridebiker||0:48:06|
|9||Clara Honsinger (USA) Sellwood Cycle Repair||0:48:36|
|10||Shannon Mallory (USA) Jamis Pro Cyclocross||0:48:59|
|11||Tiziana Dehorney (USA) Laughing Dog Team||0:49:29|
|12||Fiona Dougherty (USA) Squadra Di Servitori||0:50:30|
|13||Anya Malarski (USA) Power Fix CX||0:50:42|
|14||Katherine Santos (USA) Boo Bicycles||0:50:48|
|15||Ashley Zoerner (USA) Alpha Bicycle Co.- Vista Subaru||0:51:28|
|16||Melissa Seib (USA) NEXT-BMB||0:51:45|
|17||Ksenia Lepikhina (USA) CROSS PROPZ RACING||0:52:54|
|18||Kennedy Adams (USA) Women's CX Project||0:53:06|
|19||Mackenzie Green (USA) Women's CX Project||0:54:04|
|20||Jessie Linder (USA) Get Out! New Mexico||0:54:26|
|21||Elizabeth White (USA) University of Vermont||0:54:47|
|22||Alijah Beatty (USA) NorthStar Development||0:55:22|
|23||Corrie Karas (USA) Women's CX Project||0:57:31|
|24||Alex Christofalos (USA) JETCycling||-2|
|25||Allison Moorhead (USA) Alpha Bicycle Co.- Vista Subaru|
|26||Kate Dietrich (USA) Red Zone Cycling|
|27||Svetlana Mack (USA) Rock Creek Velo|
|28||Ginny Jeppi (USA) C3-Twenty20cycling.com|
|29||Amelia Van Maldegiam (USA) Spin Doctor Cyclewerks CX Team|
|30||Hannah Mavis (USA) Bend Endurance Academy|
|31||Cameron Newcombe (USA) Rock Creek Velo|
|32||Mason Hopkins (USA) Live Cofactory|
|33||Paige Shook (USA)|
|34||Suzan Young (USA) Summit City Cyclocross Team|
|DNF||Anna Milton (USA) LadiesFirst Racing|
|DNF||McCauley Smith (USA) Fort Lewis College|
|DNF||Victoria Gates (USA) King University|
|DNF||Emma Hayes (USA) Lionhearts Junior Racing|
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Laura Weislo has been with Cyclingnews since 2006 after making a switch from a career in science. As Deputy Editor, she coordinates coverage for North American events and global news. As former elite-level road racer who dabbled in cyclo-cross and track, Laura has a passion for all three disciplines. When not working she likes to go camping and explore lesser traveled roads, paths and gravel tracks.
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