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Eric Brunner wins U23 men's US cyclo-cross championship

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USA Cycling Cyclo-cross nationals

(Image credit: Wil Matthews)

Eric Brunner (Blue Stages Racing) secured the under-23 men’s title at the USA Cycling Cyclo-cross Championships in Washington on Sunday. He soloed to victory ahead of Caleb Swartz (Linear Sport RT-Trek) and Scott Funston (The Hold Fast Project).

"I'm beyond words right now," Brunner said. "This is one of the best days of my life. I was going all-out on the last lap but I knew that I had a lead and just had to ride smooth into the finish line."

The race started with a group of front-runners that included Eric Brunner (Blue Stages Racing), Caleb Swartz (Linear Sport RT-Trek), Lane Maher (Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld), Scott Funston (The Hold Fast Project) and Alex Morton (Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld).

Brunner and Swartz pulled away from the rest of the field in the first two laps,15 minutes, of racing. It turned into a tactical race between the two leaders as Morton and Funston moved into third position on course at some 30 seconds back.

Brunner pulled ahead of Swartz on both of the run-up features on the circuit, but Swartz was able to power back up to him on the straightaways. Brunner started to distance Swartz after taking a clean bike on the third lap. 

Swartz's front wheel slid out on the tricky off-camber descent and he crashed, losing a valuable 10 seconds to Brunner heading into three (or six) laps to go.

In the race for third, Funston managed to distance Morton. Although he led Morton by some 20 second, he was too far behind to catch up to the higher-medal race between Brunner and Swartz.

The sun broke through the clouds for the first time this weekend during the closing laps, softening up the wet muddy sections.

With a 30-second lead, Brunner raced a flawless final two laps proving his technical skills on the challenging course features. He rode into the mechanic pit to take a clean bike in the closing lap and half to ensure a properly functioning machine on his way to victory.

Brunner also won the collegiate national championship title earlier this week. He will be heading to Europe for a block of racing before the World Championships.

Results
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Eric Brunner (Blue Stages Racing) 0:54:45
2Caleb Swartz (Linear Sport RT/Trek) 0:00:44
3Scott Funston (The Hold Fast Project) 0:01:17
4Alex Morton (Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld) 0:02:09
5Sam Noel (Competitive Edge Racing) 0:03:04
6Jack Tanner (Unattached) 0:03:10
7Keiran Eagen (Fort Lewis College) 0:03:20
8Cade Bickmore (Marian Univerity Cycling) 0:03:45
9Calder Wood (Cascadian Cycling Conquest p/b) 0:04:17
10Sam Brown (Fort Lewis College) 0:04:37
11Finnegan Oconnor (Competitive Edge Racing) 0:04:43
12Daxton Mock (Trek Cyclocross Collective) 0:05:10
13Ryan Currie (DNA Racing) 0:05:38
14Tayne Andrade (Team Rio Grande) 0:05:51
15Lane Maher (Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld) 0:05:57
16Harrison Buckley (Fort Lewis College) 0:05:59
17Nathan Knowles (ASU Devo) 0:06:17
18Benjamin Gomez Villafane (Squid x Eliel) 0:06:22
19Kobi Gyetvan (Inglis Factory p/b Enve Composi)
20Simon Lewis (Team United HealthCare / The 70) 0:07:04
21Tyler Miranda (Brevard College) 0:07:58
22Amai Rawls (Lindsey Wilson College) 0:08:12
23Mark Myles (Be Real Sports) 0:08:29
@1LapMalaki Caldwell (Oklahoma Flyers)
@1LapJohn Hughes (High Desert Hustle)
@1LapPatrick Frank (UVM Cycling)
@1LapSebastien Frimat (Donkey Label Racing)
@2LapKelton Williams (COLL CX)
@2LapHenry Mcalvanah (Trek Cyclocross Collective)
@2LapBrent Franze (Fullerton Bikes)
@3LapJack White (Velovit presented by Palmer Saf)
@3LapBrayden Buchanan (Unattached)
@3LapLuuk Mackenzie (Unattached)
@4LapLucian Spampinato (Deschutes Brewery Cyclocross Te)
@4LapJack Nagla (University of Iowa)
DNFSeamus Oconnor-walker (Donkey Label Racing)
DNFDylan Pollard (Honey Stinger)
DNFCarter Warren (ASU Devo)
DNSRoss Ellwood (Alpha Bicycle Co - Groove Suba)
DNSNolan Stephenson (Boulder Junior Cycling)
DNSConnor Lake (Bens Bikes)
DNSJoe Whalley (Storage Squad Racing)

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