Category: Cyclocross

Compton sees promise in young American rivals

After winning her 14th consecutive national cyclocross championships in Reno, Katie Compton warned the world about her young American rivals: “They’re only going to get faster.”

One week later, Kaitie Keough ( was second to Compton in the seventh round of the UCI’s Cyclocross World Cup in Nommay, France. Keough finished a healthy 25 seconds ahead of former world champion Pauline Ferrand-Prevot (Canyon-SRAM) who was third.

“They’re getting faster and faster and technically they’re good. They’ve got the support; they’re racing a lot. It’s awesome to see the progression,” Compton (Trek-Knight Composites) said of riders like Keough and Noble at USA Cycling’s nationals. “That bodes well for American ‘cross in general.”

Compton won her first Stars and Stripes jersey in 2004. For some context, that’s the year that Facebook launched. So, she’s got a clear perspective on the ebb and flow of talent in American cyclocross.

In years past, more mountain bikers would come out and challenge her in the fall, riders like Georgia Gould (Boo Bikes), Ann Knapp, and Alison Dunlap. Compton says the new generation is quick, but perhaps doesn’t yet have the same strength to close out a race in the final two laps like Gould did.

“That’s just age and maturity,” Compton said. “The older they get, the more they’re just going to be able to drill it pretty much start to finish.”

In some instances this season, Compton’s young rivals have proven they can go the distance.

Compton said Ellen Noble (Aspire Racing) kept the pressure on “the whole time” at nationals — only one bobble would have cost her the lead. Noble started fast at the championships January 14, and though she lost touch with Compton, managed to keep her within reach, about 10 seconds behind all race.

However, Noble, who ended up second in Reno, has had trouble in European World Cups this season.

In Zeven, Germany, the 22-year-old had a great start, trailing Helen Wyman (Xypex-Verge Sport) and world champion Sanne Cant (Beobank-Corendon) for the first lap. On the second lap, Noble dropped her chain, setting her back to a chase group that included Compton. But she couldn’t keep the pace — while Compton finished third, Noble ended the day a distant 18th place.

Keough had a similar performance at the Koksijde World Cup, October 22. She rode in third place for the first two laps. When a chase group caught her on the next lap, Keough couldn’t follow Cant’s acceleration. She eventually finished eighth on the sandy course in Belgium.

She also had a strong start in Namur, Belgium at World Cup #6, following Italian champion Eva Lechner (Luna) into the course’s treacherous ruts. Keough then faded to sixth while another youngster, Evie Richards, 20, came on strong in the end to win her first World Cup.

At the World Cup’s penultimate race Sunday in France, it seemed Keough, 26, had the stamina to last through the end of the muddy race. Riding alone in second place for much of the day, she paced herself well and avoided any major mistakes.

She’ll hope for a similar performance at world championships in Valkenburg, Netherlands, on February 3. Compton believes that consistent riding, rather than tactical maneuvering will win the day, given how challenging the worlds course is expected to be.

“Valkenburg, it’s more of a mountain bike course; it’s going to be someone who’s a proficient climber as well as good technically,” Compton said. She has frequently credited Keough for being a much stronger climber. Noble, famous for hopping barriers this season, is arguably the best American for technical, steep courses.

Regardless of a given rider’s talents or predispositions, Compton expects Valkenburg will simply come down to who is the strongest rider, on the best form.

“I think it’s going to be less tactical, and more just who’s the best rider that day,” Compton added.

“You’ve just got to give ‘er, hope for the best.”

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Video: CX Nats rewind with Crosshairs TV

Take a look back at the elite men’s and women’s races from 2018 USA Cycling National Cyclocross Championships with Crosshairs TV.

Elite women’s race

Elite men’s race

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Nommay: Van der Poel still unbeatable

Mathieu van der Poel (Corendon-Circus) won his sixth Telenet UCI Cyclocross World Cup race of the season on Sunday in Nommay, France. The Dutchman was locked in a battle with Wout van Aert (Crelan-Charles) in the opening laps but capitalized on a mistake by the World Champion to ride away. Van der Poel has finished on the podium at every World Cup this year and will be greatly motivated next week at the final stop in Hoogerheide, as the race is organized and named after his father Adri van der Poel.

As has been the case for much of the season, van Aert finished second way back of Van der Poel. The Belgian has been challenging van der Poel more and more as the weeks have gone on, but with the World Championships only two weeks away, it looks doubtful he will be able to win a third consecutive title.

Toon Aerts (Telenet Fidea) finished third with van Aert’s teammate, Tim Merlier, finishing fourth.

Top 10

  • 1. Mathieu Van Der Poel (NED), CORENDON-CIRCUS, 1:06:56
  • 2. Wout Van Aert, (BEL), CRELAN-CHARLES, 1:07:29
  • 3. Toon Aerts (BEL), TEELNET FIDEA, 1:09:05
  • 4. Tim Merlier (BEL), CRELAN-CHARLES, 1:09:27
  • 5. Michael Vanthourenhout, (BEL), MARLUX-BINGOAL, 1:09:43
  • 6. Laurens Sweeck (BEL), ERA-CIRCUS 1:10:02
  • 8. David Van Der Poel (NED), CORENDON-CIRCUS 1:10:44
  • 9. Steve Chainel (FRA), TEAM CHAZAL CANYON, 1:10:46
  • 10. Kevin Pauwels (BEL), MARLUX-BINGOAL, 1:10:50

Course conditions were horendous for the elite men in Nommay, France. While much of the course was rideable due to the mud not being extremely thick, the multiple hills on the course were treacherous and required many to get off and run. Van der Poel and van Aert showed immense strength by riding a few of the hills. The set of barriers in Nommay were even dangerous, as noted by the fact that only van der Poel and Michael Vanthourenhout (Marlux-Bingoal) were seen bunny hopping them throughout the race.

Van Aert led the large men’s field onto the opening set of stairs with van der Poel tucked onto his wheel. Merlier soon took over leading, as the group powered through the first mud section. But his time at the front would be short. Aerts blitzed by everyone to move into the lead and force the main selection of the race mere minutes since the start.

Merlier, van der Poel, van Aert, and Aerts began to separate themselves from the rest on lap one, while Laurens Sweeck (ERA-Circus) led the chase behind. Sweeck would bridge to the leaders and so would Michael BoroŠ (Pauwels-Sauzen-Vastgoedservice) before the end of the opening lap.

As the lead group passed the pit for the second time, many riders entered to get a clean bike. Van Aert, who was leading the group, did not. Van der Poel made a critical error when he rode by his mechanics. He was a couple meters past when he realized his mistake and was forced to dismount and run back.

Van der Poel’s error in the pit lane caused confusion and van Aert was able to get a gap on everyone, as he did not enter the pit. Van Aert finished the opening lap with a three-second lead over Aerts and Sweeck, BoroŠ, and Merlier just behind chasing. Van der Poel finished the lap 10 seconds down on the World Champion.

Van Aert’s time alone in the lead would be short-lived, as van der Poel bridged to him midway through the lap and brought Aerts with him. The chasing duo made the final junction to van Aert after he slipped while running. Soon though, it would be a duel at the front, as the former European champion Aerts would be unable to hold the pace of van der Poel and van Aert.

A peculiar event happened on the second lap between Lars van der Haar (Telenet Fidea) and Francis Mourey. Mourey got his foot stuck in van der Haar’s bike between one of the seat stays and the wheel. He was laying on the course for some time while multiple people came to the Frenchman’s assistance. Van der Haar would end up being pulled from the race after the fourth lap, having lost too much time due to the incident. Mourey would be disqualified. At the time of publication, it was unknown why Mourey was disqualified.

The leading duo hled a 12-second lead over Aerts and Sweek as they crossed the finish line with seven laps remaining. BoroŠ was 24 seconds down in fifth place.

The third lap is when van der Poel pounced and rode away from van Aert. The two leaders were constantly attempting to power up hills that most of the others in the race ran. Van der Poel cleanly rode a slightly off-camber hill, while van Aert’s rear tire lost traction and forced him to put a foot down. This slight error by the three-time Belgian national champion opened the door for van der Poel to ride away.

Van Aert finished the third lap within touching distance of van der Poel, but he would never be able to claw back the last couple seconds. Sweeck and Aerts cross the line more than 30 seconds down with Merlier and BoroŠ about 10 seconds behind them.

Vanthourenhout would have a good second half of the race and move into contention for a podium place. The Belgian was part of a group of four chasing Aerts, who was in third with three laps remaining. Joining Vanthourenhout were Merlier, Sweeck, and BoroŠ. Aerts had attacked and left Sweeck behind on the fourth lap.

Merlier would be able to get the better of his chase group companions in the final laps to finish the race in fourth behind van der Poel, van Aert, and Aerts. Vanthourenhout finish fifth, a great result considering he was out of the picture for much of the first half of the race. Sweeck was sixth and BoroŠ was seventh.

Newly crowned French national cyclocross champion Steve Chainel (Team Chazal Canyon) managed to come home in ninth. A great result for him on home soil.

The Telenet UCI Cyclocross World Cup continues on January 28 in Hoogerheide, the Netherlands.

Full results

  • 1. Mathieu Van Der Poel, (NED), 1:06:56
  • 2. Wout Van Aert, (BEL), 1:07:29
  • 3. Toon Aerts, (BEL), 1:09:05
  • 4. Tim Merlier, (BEL), 1:09:27
  • 5. Michael Vanthourenhout, (BEL), 1:09:43
  • 6. Laurens Sweeck, (BEL), 1:10:02
  • 7. Michael BoroŠ, (CZE), 1:10:07
  • 8. David Van Der Poel, (NED), 1:10:44
  • 9. Steve Chainel, (FRA), 1:10:46
  • 10. Kevin Pauwels, (BEL), 1:10:50
  • 11. Tom Meeusen, (BEL), 1:10:55
  • 12. Fabien Canal, (FRA), 1:10:58
  • 13. Daan Soete, (BEL), 1:11:10
  • 14. Quinten Hermans, (BEL), 1:11:22
  • 15. Gianni Vermeersch, (BEL), 1:11:42
  • 16. Nicolas Cleppe, (BEL), 1:11:48
  • 17. Felipe Orts Lloret, (ESP), 1:12:03
  • 18. Corne Van Kessel, (NED), 1:12:14
  • 19. Wietse Bosmans, (BEL), 1:12:15
  • 20. Marcel Meisen, (GER), 1:12:35
  • 21. Jim Aernouts, (BEL), 1:13:00
  • 22. Vincent Baestaens, (BEL), 1:13:23
  • 23. Lars Forster, (SUI), 1:13:32
  • 24. Gioele Bertolini, (ITA), 1:13:40
  • 25. Stan Godrie, (NED), 1:13:41
  • 26. Severin SÄgesser, (SUI), 1:13:56
  • 27. Alois Falenta, (FRA), 1:14:08
  • 28. Matthieu Boulo, (FRA)
  • 29. Ismael Esteban Aguero, (ESP)
  • 30. Diether Sweeck, (BEL)
  • 31. David Menut, (FRA)
  • 32. Kevin Suarez Fernandez, (ESP)
  • 33. Tomáš Paprstka, (CZE)
  • 34. Jan Nesvadba, (CZE)
  • 35. Eric Thompson, (USA)
  • 36. Kerry Werner, (USA)
  • 37. Javier Ruiz De Larrinaga IbaÑez, (ESP)
  • 38. Emil Hekele, (CZE)
  • 39. Luca Braidot, (ITA)
  • 40. Arthur Tropardy, (FRA)
  • 41. Marcel Wildhaber, (SUI)
  • 42. Michael Van Den Ham, (CAN)
  • 43. Florian Trigo, (FRA)
  • 44. Daniele Braidot, (ITA)
  • 45. Garry Millburn, (AUS)
  • 46. Yannick Mayer, (GER)
  • 47. Philipp Heigl, (AUT)
  • 48. Tyler Cloutier, (USA)

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Nommay: Americans go 1-2 with Compton and Keough

With the World Championships a mere two weeks away, 14-time U.S. national cyclocross champion Katie Compton (KFC Racing-Trek-Panache) sent a shot across the bow with a blistering performance in Nommay, France on Sunday at the Telenet UCI Cyclocross World Cup. She powered away from the others on the opening lap and stayed nearly flawless the rest of the race to win by nearly a minute on a chilly day in France.

It would be a great day for the American contingent as Kaitie Keough ( came home in second. It was her fourth podium finish in a World Cup race this season. Keough is currently ranked second in the UCI rankings and second in the World Cup standings.

The fans let out a roar, as newly crowned French national cyclocross champion Pauline Ferrand-Prevot (WM3) finished third. Ferrand-Prevot is a threat for the world title, having been World Champion in 2015.

Current World Champion Sanne Cant (Corendon-Circus) had an off day and finished 12th. She retained her lead in the World Cup standings and barring a major disaster at the final round in Hoogerheide next week, she will win the series.

Top 10

  • 1. Katherine Compton, ((USA)) KFC RACING-TREK-PANACHE, in 45:03
  • 2. Kaitlin Keough, ((USA)) CANNONDALE-CYCLOCROSSWORLD, at 00:55
  • 3. Pauline Ferrand Prevot (Fra), ((FRA)) CANYON-SRAM, at 01:20
  • 4. Helen Wyman (GBr), ((GBR)) XYPEX – VERGE SPORT, at 01:30
  • 5. Christine Majerus, ((LUX)) BOELS-DOLMANS, at 01:30
  • 6. Alice Maria Arzuffi, ((ITA)) STEYLAERTS – BETFIRST, at 01:42
  • 7. Eva Lechner, ((ITA)) CLIF PRO TEAM, at 02:04
  • 8. Jolanda Neff, ((SWI)) , at 02:21
  • 9. Ellen Van Loy (Bel), ((BEL)) TELENET FIDEA, at 02:38
  • 10. Caroline Mani (Fra), ((FRA)) VAN DESSEL-ATOM COMPOSITES, at 02:42

It was a cold and chilly day in Nommay, France on Sunday for the eighth round of the Telenet UCI Cyclocross World Cup. The course is Nommay was rolling and heavy rains caused it to be a muddy affair. The cold temperatures had threatened overnight snow, but instead the region recieved rain. The mud in Nommay wasn’t terribly thick, so the riders didn’t have to dismount on long straight sections. The multiple rolling hills, however, were not rideable, forcing the riders to run.

Ellen van Loy (Telenet Fidea) sprinted down the paved start/finishing straight and led the group onto the stairs. In Nommay, instead of turning onto the grass to begin the course, the riders tackle a flight of stairs. This makes having a great start that much more important.

Cant looked good early in the race, slotting in behind van Loy. American Elle Anderson ( Motorhomes) also had a good start and sat in third wheel in the early going. But soon Compton came to the front and laid down the power.

Compton simply rode away from everyone on the opening lap. Alice Arzuffi (Steylaerts-BetFirst) took up the second position chasing Compton, while two chase groups formed behind. Eva Lechner (Clif Pro Team) took out many riders in the second chase group, as she slid out on a corner. Keough was in this group at the time and quickly had to dismount to get around the carnage. Van Loy, Katerina Nash (Clif Pro Team), Helen Wyman (Xypex-Verge Sport), Christine Majerus (Boels-Dolmans) and Cant were all ahead of the crash.

Cant would lose many places at the end of the lap, as she dropped her chain. She was forced to stop and put it back on manually.

At the end of the opening lap, Compton had opened an enormous gap of 18 seconds over Arzuffi, who was still alone in second. Wyman and Majerus came across the line in the third and fourth spot nearly half a minute behind the American champion. They were followed quickly by van Loy, Keough and Nash. Cant had begun to slide backward and was outside of the top 10 at the end of the first lap.

Keough came on strong in the second lap, passing Wyman and Majerus to move into a podium position. Another rider on the move was cross-country mountain-bike world champion Jolanda Neff. The Swiss rider was forced to start a couple rows back in the grid due to a lack of UCI points, but on the second lap, she had moved into the top 10. Ferrand-Prevot was seen riding near Cant just outside the top 10.

Compton’s lead was over 30 seconds as she crossed the line with three laps to go. Arzuffi was still fighting alone in second, but Keough was hunting her down. Keough would make the pass on the third lap to take over second place, but by this point in the race that would be as high as she would go. Compton was a tear and demonstrating her expert technical skills on the muddy course.

While Neff began to lose places in the second half of the race, Ferrand-Prevot was passing her competitors. Entering the final lap, the Frenchwoman found herself in a four-rider group fighting for the last spot on the podium. Standing in Ferrand-Prevot’s way of a World Cup podium on home soil was Wyman, Majerus, and Arzuffi.

Compton crossed the finish line in Nommay with a huge smile on her face. The victory was her first in the World Cup series this season and it could not have come at a better time. The World Championships in Valkenburg are a mere two weeks away.

Keough finished second and Ferrand-Prevot was able to ride away from the others in her group on the final lap to claim third. Wyman outsprinted Majerus for the fourth spot.

The Telenet UCI Cyclocross World Cup series continues on January 28 in Hoogerheide, the Netherlands.

Full results

  • 1. Katherine Compton, (USA) , in 45:03
  • 2. Kaitlin Keough, (USA), 45:58
  • 3. Pauline Ferrand Prevot, (FRA), 46:23
  • 4. Helen Wyman, (GBR), 46:33
  • 5. Christine Majerus, (LUX), 46:33
  • 6. Alice Maria Arzuffi, (ITA), 46:45
  • 7. Eva Lechner, (ITA), 47:07
  • 8. Jolanda Neff, (SUI), 47:24
  • 9. Ellen Van Loy, (BEL), 47:41
  • 10. Caroline Mani, (FRA), 47:45
  • 11. Katerina Nash, (CZE). 47:50
  • 12. Sanne Cant, (BEL), 47:53
  • 13. Elisabeth Brandau, (GER), 47:53
  • 14. Nikki Brammeier, (GBR), 48:02
  • 15. Annemarie Worst, (NED), 48:19
  • 16. Fleur Nagengast, (NED). 48:27
  • 17. Ceylin Del Carmen Alvarado, (NED), 48:34
  • 18. Maghalie Rochette, (CAN), 48:36
  • 19. Maud Kaptheijns, (NED), 48:49
  • 20. Marion Norbert Riberolle, (FRA), 48:50
  • 21. Manon Bakker, (NED), 48:57
  • 22. Elle Anderson, (USA), 49:15
  • 23. Jolien Verschueren, (BEL), 49:20
  • 24. Joyce Vanderbeken, (BEL), 49:28
  • 25. Loes Sels, (BEL), 49:36
  • 26. Inge Van Der Heijden, (NED), 49:37
  • 27. Pavla HavlÍkovÁ, (CZE), 49:40
  • 28. Marlène Petit, (FRA), 49:44
  • 29. Francesca Baroni, (ITA), 49:56
  • 30. Lucia Gonzalez Blanco, (ESP), 50:06
  • 31. Nadja Heigl, (AUT), 50:32
  • 32. Christel Ferrier Bruneau, (CAN), :50:40
  • 33. Ruby West, (CAN), 50:53
  • 34. Geerte Hoeke, (NED), 51:01
  • 35. Rebecca Fahringer, (USA), 51:05
  • 36. Marlène Morel Petitgirard, (FRA), 51:05
  • 37. Karen Verhestraeten, (BEL), 51:32
  • 38. Jade Wiel, (FRA), 51:40
  • 39. Irene Trabazo Bragado, (ESP), 52:34
  • 40. Beth Ann Orton, (USA), 52:44
  • 41. Chiara Teocchi, (ITA), 52:51
  • 42. Olatz Odriozola Mugica, (ESP), 52:55
  • 43. Pauline Delhaye, (FRA), 53:06
  • 44. Noemi RÜegg, (SUI), 53:26
  • 45. Magdeleine Vallieres Mill, (CAN), 53:59
  • 46. Zina Barhoumi, (SUI), 54:47
  • 47. Luisa Ibarrola Albizua, (ESP),55:02
  • 48. Corey Coogan Cisek, (USA), 55:42
  • 49. Elizabeth UngermanovÁ, (CZE), 56:01
  • 50. Siobhan Kelly, (CAN)
  • 51. Amaia Lartitegi Ormazabal, (ESP)
  • 52. Christine Vardaros, (USA)
  • 53. Saioa Gil Ranero, (ESP)

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Road, ‘cross, MTB — Christopher Blevins can do it all, and win

RENO, Nevada (VN) — Like a mysterious drifter in an old western movie, Christopher Blevins strode into Sunday’s U23 National Cyclocross Championships as a dark horse, a wildcard, an unknown threat.

Blevins left the weekend, national title in hand, having stunned the crowd with his raw power and otherworldly bike-handling skills. For years to come, the Reno weekend will be remembered for the video clips of Blevins bunny-hopping every feature along the course, before attacking on the final lap to win.

“The one big straightaway is where I could really lay it down,” Blevins said after the race. “It was going into the stairs, which I was bunny hopping every time, and that’s where I had a big advantage.”

Blevins grabbed cyclocross’s biggest American prize having competed in a paltry few races this year. He raced a handful of events in Southern California’s SoCalCross league this winter but spent most of his time training.

An athlete with Blevins’s skillet, it seems, only needs a few races to win. Blevins is perhaps the most talented all-around bicycle racer of his generation, possibly the most talented in decades. He has won national titles in BMX racing, mountain bike, and now cyclocross, and scored head-turning victories in international road races. He has already built an impressive list of palmares, prior to his 20th birthday. His impressive skills across cycling’s various disciplines are reminiscent of American cycling greats of yesteryear: John Tomac, Tinker Juarez, Julie Furtado.

Whenever Blevins is on a bike, he has the ability to blow people’s minds. Last season a photo emerged of Blevins performing a mind-bending stunt on his road bike; while balancing on his rear wheel, Blevins pulls the bicycle into a vertical position, and then leans over and kisses the front tire.

“Chris is talented and he wants to do a bit of everything,” says Axel Merckx, director of the Hagens Berman Axeon team, which employs Blevins on the road. “There will come a day when he has to make a choice.”

At the moment, one choice is pulling the strongest. When asked whether he would rather win a stage of the Tour de France or win a UCI mountain bike World Cup, Blevins said he’d rather win a mountain bike World Cup.

So far, mountain biking seems to be tugging at Blevins the hardest.

“A big goal of mine is Tokyo [2020 Olympics] on the mountain bike,” he says.

But Blevins knows he has options in cycling — he’s had them his entire life. A native of Durango, Colorado, Blevins grew up in the shadows of mountain bike’s greatest athletes. The small mountain town has been the home of generations of off-road greats, from Ned Overend and Tomac, to Missy Giove and Myles Rockwell. When Blevins was a kid, Durango’s resident stars included Todd Wells, Shonny Vanlandingham, and Tad Elliott, among others.

Starting at age five, Blevins raced BMX, winning nine age-group national titles along the way. As a teenager, he hooked up with the Durango Devo development program and began riding and racing mountain bikes. The national titles came quickly. He grabbed his first junior mountain bike title in 2012, then won cross-country national titles in every consecutive year.

This past summer, Blevins stepped into the U23 ranks. To no one’s surprise, he dominated the national championships cross-country race by nearly one minute.

Wells, who retired in 2017, said Blevins has turned heads in the Durango cycling community for years. Wells believes Blevins’s unique blend of BMX background and endurance give him untapped potential.

“You have this incredible skill set, and mountain biking is becoming more technical, manmade, more BMX, more an obstacle course,” Wells said.

Blevins also has incredible talents on the road. He started racing on the road as a junior and grabbed major results at international races. In 2015, he sprinted to a stage win at Canada’s Tour l’Abitibi, a major stage race for identifying the stars of tomorrow. The next year, Blevins won the overall at the Junior Peace Race in the Czech Republic — previous winners of the development race include Fabian Cancellara and Michal Kwiatkowski (Sky).

Wells says that Blevins has a once-in-a-generation combination of technical skills and physiological talent.

“Chris, I foresee him being on that level as a Nino [Schurter], a [Julian] Absalon — top-10, top-five guy in the world,” Wells said.

At the moment, Blevins believes he can continue to balance both the road and mountain bike. He also has several other commitments on his place — he is attending California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, California. He’s also a talented hip-hop artist and has an album of rap songs uploaded to his Soundcloud page. He has also filmed a music video for one of his songs, titled “Battlefield.”

“I’m fortunate to be able to do both [road and mountain], and I think through the U23s it’s sustainable, but obviously I’ll have to focus on the schedule and the training,” Blevins says. “I think I’ll kind of narrow my focus in the coming years.

Wells views Blevins as a rider who could revive excitement for cross-country racing among Americans.

“For me, it’s exciting because I look back at the guys I looked up to when I was racing, guys like [John] Tomac had all this style and made it look cool,” Wells says. “It inspired my generation of riders to get into the sport.”

It remains to be seen if Blevins can live up to the hype at the elite level. In the near term, however, he probably inspired a lot of junior cyclocrossers to try hopping stairs and barriers in their backyards — much to the chagrin of the parents who will have to replace those tacoed wheels and flat tires.

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VN podcast, ep. 66: CX Nats rundown; will Boels keep winning?

Welcome to the VeloNews cycling podcast, where we discuss the latest trends, news, and controversies in the world of cycling.

With Katie Compton crushing her 14th title and Stephen Hyde battling Jeremy Powers for his second title, CX Nats was an instant classic. We look back on the key races, and what’s ahead for the best American cyclocross racers.

Also in this show, we discuss the 2018 Women’s WorldTour. Some key riders have moved to new teams, but will that stop Boels-Dolmans from winning nearly any race? The Dutch powerhouse team looks as good as ever.

If you like what you hear, subscribe to the VeloNews podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, and Google Play. Also, check out the VeloNews Fast Talk training podcast with Trevor Connor.

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USA Cycling picks 31 riders for ‘cross worlds

Following USA Cycling’s National Cyclocross Championships, which wrapped up Sunday in Reno, Nevada, a team of 31 riders was named for UCI World Cyclocross Championships, February 3-4 in Valkenburg-Limburg, Netherlands.

The team is led by a few familiar names, such as national champions Stephen Hyde and Katie Compton. Four-time national champion Jeremy Powers will also race after a thrilling duel with Hyde in Reno.

Chris Blevens (Specialized), who stunned the U23 field with a win at nationals Sunday will not race worlds. He was qualified to compete but he declined. Blevens also races on the road for Hagens Berman Axeon and is an under-23 national champion in cross-country mountain biking as well.

Elite men

Tristan Cowie (Triple Oaks Racing; Mills River, N.C.)
Stephen Hyde* (Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld; Easthampton, Mass.)
Cody Kaiser (LangeTwins/Specialized Bicycles/SRAM; El Dorado Hills, Calif.)
Jack Kisseberth (JAM Fund/NCC; Westhampton, Mass.)
Tobin Ortenblad* (Santa Cruz/Donkey Label; Santa Cruz, Calif.)
Jeremy Powers (Aspire Racing; Easthampton, Mass.)
Kerry Werner* (Kona Endurance Team; Birdsboro, Penn.)

Elite women

Elle Anderson ( – Alpha Motorhomes; Oakland, Calif.)
Katie Compton* (KFC Racing p/b Trek/Panache; Colorado Springs, Colo.)
Rebecca Fahringer (Stan’s No Tubes/Maxxis; Concord, N.H.)
Kaitin Keough* (Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld; Colorado Springs, Colo.)
Courtenay McFadden (GE Capital/American Classic; Bellingham, Wash.)
Ellen Noble* (Aspire Racing; Kennebunkport, Maine)

U23 men

Eric Brunner (EVOL DevoElite Racing; Boulder, Colo.)
Maxx Chance (EVOL DevoElite Racing; Boulder, Colo.)
Grant Ellwood (Boulder Cycle Sport; Boulder, Colo.)
Gage Hecht* (Alpha Bicycle Co.- Vista Subaru; Parker, Colo.)
Spencer Petrov (ASPIRE Racing; Mason, Ohio)
Denzel Stephenson (EVOL DevoElite Racing; Boulder, Colo.)

U23 women

Hannah Arensman (J.A. King p/b BR’C; Rutherford College, N.C.)
Katie Clouse (Alpha Bicycle Co.-Groove Subaru; Park City, Utah)
Clara Honsinger (Washington State Bicycle Association, Portland, OR)
Laurel Rathbun (Donnelly Cycling; Monument, Colo.)
Emma Swartz (Trek Cyclocross Collective; Madison, Wisc.)
Emma White* (Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld; Delanson, N.Y)

Junior men

Scott Funston* (Rad Racing NW; Maple Valley, Wash.)
Benjamin Gomez Villafane* (Top Club; Scotts Valley, Calif.)
Lane Maher (Hot Tubes Development Cycling; Harwinton, Conn.)
Alex Morton* (Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld; Saint Clair, Mich.)
Sam Noel (Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld; Shelburne, Vt.)
Calder Wood* (Rad Racing NW; Anacortes, Wash.)

*Automatic qualifiers

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Q&A: Jonathan Page reflects on ‘cross career at final nationals

RENO, Nevada (VN) — You can see why the Belgians took a liking to Jonathan Page.

Page is friendly but not boisterous, immensely talented but not one to flaunt it. The taciturn New Englander spent 13 years based in the cyclocross heartland, honing his craft and eventually getting top results. His success sprung from his understated dedication to the muddy, chaotic sport that Belgian cycling fans adore.

Wearing a homemade, Belgian-style “supporters” jacket at Page’s final USA Cycling National Cyclocross Championships in Reno, his sister Joy pointed to the Belgian flag on one shoulder. She explained how, after Page’s silver medal at 2007 world cyclocross championships, the fans insisted that he’d become an honorary Belgian — one of them.

Though he spent much of his career overseas, Page won four U.S. national championships in a career that spans more than 20 years. On Sunday, Page lined up for one final run at a Stars and Stripes jersey. With only five UCI race starts to his credit in this swansong season and facing a high-speed, dry course, Page was not a top favorite to win. But he raced consistently and ended up ninth.

We caught up with Page before the Reno championships to look back on his career and his results at the national championships.

VeloNews: Tell us some memories of your first national championships as an elite racer.

Jonathan Page: It’s so far back I can’t remember. Well, you know I did the SeaTac airport race in Washington, in I guess Tacoma [in 1994]. I did the junior race in the morning, won that one [by nearly four minutes -Ed.], and did the senior race in the afternoon. That was back when they had them in the same day.

I think I got third-ish in the senior event [Page finished fourth, despite a last-lap flat tire -Ed.]. Somewhere up there. I can’t remember. It’s been awhile.

VN: Can you rank your wins in terms of your favorite?

JP: I think the favorite one was the last one in Madison, Wisconsin [in 2013].

Bob Downs being there — the Planet Bike owner at the time. It was really cool. My friend Jerry [Chabot] helped me get to the bike race because I wasn’t going to come, helped me get to the bike race from Europe. That was a special one. And my bike sponsor not continuing and having to put duct tape over it. That’s fun, I like that. I like to surprise.

VN: I got to think that’s some of the worst conditions you’ve raced for a national championship.

JP: That was definitely the worst and the best for me. The worst and the best all at the same time.

I can’t remember another national championships like this weather [in Reno]. Can you?

VN: Maybe Boulder?

JP: Yeah right, Boulder. This is out-west bike racing.

Jonathan Page went clear on the second lap of 2013 national cyclocross championships and added to his lead nearly every lap. Photo: Wil Matthews | www.

VN: When did you realize that you were made for really hard muddy conditions?

JP: I think just at a young age, growing up in New England and having to train. Frankie McCormack, we’d go out training no matter the weather. Thirty-four degrees and rain with snow on the ground you know because it snowed over night and it’d get warm during the day, and you’d still be out there. The hard conditions are the good conditions. I like ‘em.

VN: You’ve raced for so long, the ‘cross scene has changed a lot in that time. What’s the biggest change you’ve seen?

JP: I just like that there are spectators here now and more people who are good. The depth is a bit better. Of course it’s not the same as Europe, but that doesn’t even need to be said I guess. I just love the popularity. There are people roaming around already, cheering an under-23 kid on to the finish line. It’s pretty cool.

VN: Over those years, can you think of one of the hardest duels you’ve had with a rider?

JP: Tim Johnson and I were always pinned against each other even though we didn’t not like each other or anything like that. It just was the way — I think it made for a good story. That would be the rider I can think of as I progressed through the years.

We never really talked to each other until recently, but we were like, ‘Eh I didn’t really have a problem with you; you have a problem with me?’ ‘No I didn’t really.’”

VN: It’s racing, right?

JP: That’s exactly right.

VN: It seems there are fewer mountain bikers racing ‘cross at the elite level these days, like Ryan Trebon and Barry Wicks. What do you think about that?

JP: I think it’s become more of a specialized sport. It’s specific timing of the year; people have gotten smarter with their training and racing energy. I think that’s it really. You either specialized in cyclocross, or you come out and you just one-bang wonder and go for it.

VN: What’s next for you?

JP: I’m going to go out on the course in 15 minutes … [laughs].

No, I’ve been fall clean-up guy around Park City with an old pick’em-up truck and bellman right now. What’s next, it’s just continuing. I’ve been putting that stuff in for getting my kids to be able to go ski racing. I’m going to be the importer or dealer for Dugast tires. I rekindled that relationship just a week or so ago with Richard [Nieuwhuis] at Dugast. I’ll bring those tires in and sell a good product. That’s something new for me. It’s going to be great. If you’re talking about cycling, that’s what I’m doing next. Bliz eyewear and helmets — I’m trying to get them more into … You’ve probably never heard of them I bet. Scandinavian countries is the biggest — they’re more into Nordic skiing and goggles and ski helmets and stuff too. They’re going to be giving me an opportunity to try to use my so-called fame to get them into cycling.

VN: I think you’re pretty famous.

JP: Yeah you know what’s famous really? A couple people know what the hell I’m doing. That’s about it.

Page was second to Erwin Vervecken at 2007 world cyclocross championships in Hooglede-Gits, Belgium. It was the Belgian’s third and final rainbow jersey. Photo: Tim De Waele |

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Gallery: Belgians take on the sand dunes of Koksijde

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CX Nationals: Hyde repeats as champion in duel with Powers

Stephen Hyde ( successfully defended his elite U.S. national cyclocross championship on Sunday in Reno, Nevada after going elbow-to-elbow with Jeremy Powers (Aspire Racing) for the majority of the race. Hyde passed Powers just before the run-up and then lengthened his lead on the hill to solidify his win.

“Way harder,” Hyde told VeloNews when asked how his win Sunday compared with his victory in Hartford at last year’s national championships. “I didn’t really have any big mistakes and I didn’t break anything and it was just down to the wire. In Hartford, it was just super steady and I was just like I need to go this pace and drive well and today it was super tactical. For a guy that doesn’t necessarily win all the tactical races, I’m really really happy.”

Kerry Werner (Kona) captured the bronze medal, as a host of riders came to the line together just behind him. Tobin Ortenblad (Santa Cruz-Donkey Label) finished fourth with Curtis White ( in fifth and taking home sixth was Jack Kisseberth (JAM Fund/NCC).

Top 10

  • 2. Jeremy POWERS, ASPIRE RACING, 59:22:00
  • 3. Kerry WERNER, KONA, 01:00:24
  • 6. Jack KISSEBERTH, JAM FUND/NCC, 01:00:32
  • 7. Tristan COWIE, TRIPLE OAKS RACING, 01:00:58
  • 8. Allen KRUGHOFF, KRUGHOFF RACING, 01:01:11
  • 9. Jonathan PAGE, ASSOS/SHIMANO, 01:01:14
  • 10. Travis LIVERMON, MAXXIS/SHIMANO, 01:01:26

A hierarchy was quickly established as soon as the elite men got out on course. Werner took the holeshot followed by White and then Hyde. Ortenblad and Kisseberth both made strong early efforts to make it to the front of the race, hoping to avoid the inevitable bottleneck at the sand pit. Soon after the sand pit, six riders emerged better than the rest. The leaders were Powers, Ortenblad, Werner, Kisseberth, White and Hyde. Cody Kaiser (Lange Twins/Specialized) also made contact with the front group before the opening lap was done and dusted.

Powers went to the front of the lead group midway through the opening lap and would remain there until the sixth lap. He only left the front of the group once or twice and just briefly. As soon as someone would pass him, he would immediately fight to repass right away. If another rider came alongside looking pass, Powers would simply increase his tempo.

Over the middle part of the race, the lead group slowly shrunk under Powers’ pressure. Kaiser lost contact on the second lap, while White lost the group on the third lap due to a puncture.

Kisseberth front flatted on the fifth lap to drop off the group, as Werner lost contact as well. Werner bobbled on the off-camber section on the descent from the run-up, which came near the finish. The pace was high enough among the leaders that a slight mistake made it difficult to recover and catch back on.

Entering three laps to go, Powers again led across the line with Ortenblad and Hyde in tow in that order. Powers punched it on a straightaway early in the lap, which put Ortenblad in trouble. Hyde was behind Ortenblad and had to push hard to close the gap to Powers. Instead of getting onto Powers’ wheel and resting, Hyde attacked over the top. Powers was already pushing hard and seemed caught off guard by Hyde’s move. It would take Powers nearly half a lap to get onto Hyde’s wheel.

“You know there’s always more than one plan,” Powers said of taking the race by the horns. “For me, there was always more than one plan to see how the guys reacted to the pace, but that’s how I like to race. I like to race from the front. I always have. With all those other titles, I always like to race from the front. I didn’t expect that I’d be able to stay on the front for as long as I did.

“I also didn’t expect Stephen’s attack,” Powers said of when Hyde went with three laps to go. “It was a pretty vicious attack for altitude. I didn’t have a problem sticking it. I had an attack like that I was planning to use it, but I was like ‘oh okay we’re going now.’I knew that that was going to be enough. I could hear the guys behind were hurting.”

The duo entered two to go with more than a 15-second lead over Ortenblad, who was visibly suffering. He had dug deep to stay in contact with the lead group and was now paying the price.

Over the next lap and a half, Hyde and Powers went pedal stroke for pedal stroke with each other. Neither of the two gave an inch to the other.

Both riders knew that the final time up the run-up was the key to who would wear the stars and stripes in 2018. Powers was in control heading toward the climb for the last time, but Hyde wanted none of it. He fought valiantly and passed Powers just before the run-up. Hyde then extended his lead as Powers and he charged up the climb. The race was all but won by the time the rider reached the summit. The fuel in Powers engine had disappeared.

Hyde safely navigated the descent and final corners to win his second straight elite national cyclocross championship. Powers came home a few seconds behind in third.

Werner passed Ortenblad on the final lap to sneak onto the podium in third.

In the under-23 men’s contest, Christopher Blevins (Specialized) put in a vicious final lap attack to take the stars and stripes jersey. He spent most of the race in a battle with Eric Brunner (EVOL DevoElite Racing) and Grant Ellwood (Boulder Cycle Sport). Ellwood kept yo-yoing off the lead group until he was finally dispatched for good on the penultimate late. As the leading duo passed the pit area for the first time on the final lap, Blevins made his acceleration. Brunner tried to follow, but could not match the Specialized rider’s speed. Brunner rode in for the silver medal with Ellwood capturing bronze.

Blevins is now a multi-discipline national champion, as he captured the under-23 cross country title last summer.

Ben Gomez-Villafane (Top Club CycloCross) powered to the victory in the junior men’s 17-18 race over Scott Funston (Rad Racing NW). Dillon McNeill (Trek Cyclocross Collective) took home the bronze medal.

Elite men full results

  • 2. Jeremy POWERS, ASPIRE RACING, 59:22:00
  • 3. Kerry WERNER, KONA, 01:00:24
  • 6. Jack KISSEBERTH, JAM FUND/NCC, 01:00:32
  • 7. Tristan COWIE, TRIPLE OAKS RACING, 01:00:58
  • 8. Allen KRUGHOFF, KRUGHOFF RACING, 01:01:11
  • 9. Jonathan PAGE, ASSOS/SHIMANO, 01:01:14
  • 10. Travis LIVERMON, MAXXIS/SHIMANO, 01:01:26
  • 12. Justin LINDINE, APEX/NBX/HYPERTHREADS, 01:01:54
  • 13. James DRISCOLL, DONNELLY SPORTS, 01:02:12
  • 14. Troy WELLS, TEAM CLIF BAR CYCLING, 01:02:20
  • 15. Stephan DAVOUST, FORT LEWIS COLLEGE, 01:02:31
  • 16. Scott SMITH, JAM FUND / NCC, 01:02:37
  • 17. Anthony CLARK, SQUID BIKES, 01:02:46
  • 20. Allan SCHROEDER, PROJECT AKA, 01:04:08
  • 21. Ian MCPHERSON, EVIL RACING, 01:04:30
  • 22. Sean BABCOCK, TEAM S&M, 01:04:31
  • 29. Brendan LEHMAN, ROCK LOBSTER
  • 30. Zachary CURTIS, BMB RACING
  • 31. Jules GOGUELY, NBX BIKES

Under-23 men

  • 1. Christopher Blevins, in 52:38
  • 2. Eric Brunner, 52:44
  • 3. Grant Ellwood, 53:00
  • 4. Gage Hecht, 54:04
  • 5. Spencer Petrov, 54:29
  • 6. Maxx Chance, 54:35
  • 7. Brannan Fix, 54:57
  • 8. Denzel Stephenson, 55:14
  • 9. Lance Haidet, 55:21
  • 10. Caleb Swartz, 55:23
  • 11. Cooper Willsey, 55:27
  • 12. Garrett Gerchar, 56:01
  • 13. Cameron Beard, 56:26
  • 14. Henry Nadell, 56:31
  • 15. Ross Ellwood, 56:34
  • 16. Jack Tanner, 56:55
  • 17. Michael Owens, 57:10
  • 18. Anders Nystrom, 57:35
  • 19. Liam Earl, 58:16
  • 20. Jonathan Anderson, 58:18
  • 21. Andrew Borden, 58:18
  • 22. Jonah Meadvancort, 59:37
  • 23. Finnegan O’connor, 01:01:46
  • 24. Drew Sotebeer
  • 25. Harrison Buckley
  • 26. Erik Hammerquist
  • 27. Kobi Gyetvan
  • 28. Brent Franze
  • 29. Kale Wenczel
  • 30. Thomas Mcdonagh
  • 31. Donald Seib
  • 32. Spencer Johnston
  • 33. Eli House
  • 34. Maxwell Southam
  • 35. Matthew Owens
  • 36. Frederick Junge
  • 37. Sebby Frimat
  • 38. Charles Mandel
  • 39. Zacharey Elzi
  • 40. Nevin Whittemore

Junior men 17-18

  • 1. Benjamin Gomez Villafane, in 40:01
  • 2. Scott Funston, 40:17
  • 3. Dillon Mcneill, 40:24
  • 4. Sam Noel, 40:30
  • 5. Gregory Gunsalus, 40:51
  • 6. Lane Maher, 40:56
  • 7. Calder Wood, 41:45
  • 8. Torin Bickmore, 42:02
  • 9. Henry Jones, 42:12
  • 10. Sam Brown, 42:44
  • 11. Kelton Williams, 42:58
  • 12. Charles Springer, 43:02
  • 13. Calvin Keane, 43:15
  • 14. Noah Hayes, 43:19
  • 15. Nathan Knowles, 43:49
  • 16. Cobe Freeburn, 44:05
  • 17. Campbell Watson, 44:21
  • 18. Amai Rawls, 44:21
  • 19. Max Mcfadden, 44:43
  • 20. Ian Brink, 44:52
  • 21. Camden Brooks, 44:55
  • 22. Joshua Vahlberg, 45:09
  • 23. Max Ritzow, 45:14
  • 24. Julian Lepelch, 45:22
  • 25. Kaveh Pourmehr, 45:27
  • 26. Joseph Lukens, 45:56
  • 27. Dylan Gong, 46:17
  • 28. Caleb Trumbull, 46:27
  • 29. William Seitz, 47:05
  • 30. Dylan Pollard, 47:08
  • 31. Byrne Dobrient, 47:37
  • 32. Lance Heaton, 48:23
  • 33. Evan Goldberg
  • 34. Jacob Krynock
  • 35. Brian Kalcic
  • 36. Gavin Beer
  • 37. Jordy Malmberg
  • 38. Seamus O’connor-Walker
  • 39. Connor Bernstein
  • 40. Joshua Gilbert
  • 41. Lucian Spampinato
  • 42. Jack Zakrajsek

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