Powers Prevails as Part of SRAM Force 1 Podium Sweep
Jeremy Powers (Rapha-Focus) needed something close to perfection to win his fourth USA Cycling Cyclocross National Championship, and that’s just about what he accomplished en route to victory Sunday in Asheville, N.C.
“I had no mistakes,” Powers said just before the awards ceremony Sunday to officially crown him Elite Men’s Champion. “That honestly is the best thing I could have hoped for, just riding smooth and steady.”
This year the course was tougher. Many described it as the best and toughest in the nation. The competition more fierce and determined. Rivals – and fellow SRAM athletes Stephen Hyde (Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld) and Logan Owen (Cal Giant-Specialized) pushed Powers throughout the hour-long race at the famed Biltmore Estate. Hyde had beaten his mentor Powers head-to-head this season. Logan – who last year won the U23 championship – enlivened the race with punchy attacks.
“Logan is up and coming. He’s a special rider, and he has a lot of talent,” Powers said. “Stephen has made an incredible leap…. (He’s) riding at the front of the race in World Cups and now second here at the National Championships. I think both of them will win national titles, and I think you’re looking at the future of the sport.”
Two crashes helped end Hyde's bid for victory in a race in which Powers didn’t even have a bike change. “I left myself in a couple of positions where I didn’t necessarily want to be on the back and I crashed because of it,” Hyde said.
He added, “I’m totally happy. I had the form to win but it just didn’t work out, and Jeremy’s won nationals four times now.”
Powers rode SRAM Force 1 with a 44-tooth X-SYNC™ Chainring and an 11-30 XG-1190 cassette. “The bike was very light,” Powers said. He also said his SRAM Force 1 Hydraulic Disc Brakes were well matched for the technical course. “Around some of these corners where it’s high speed, just whip the rear end you’re able to lock it up and immediately reposition the bike the way you need it.”
After the race, Powers took a moment to reflect back on his fourth title in the past six seasons. “If you would have told me I’d win four national championships I probably would have said, ‘Yeah, right,’ because I never expected that.”
Kaitie Antonneau (Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld) gave a determined chase throughout much of the race behind leaders Katie Compton and Georgia Gould before finishing third. Elle Anderson (SRAM/Strava) was fourth.
Under 23 Men
Tobin Ortenblad (Cal Giant-Specialized) won his first cyclocross national championship after an intense battle with eventual second-place finisher Curtis White (Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld. Grant Ellwood (Boulder Cycle Sport/YogaGlo) was third.
“I wanted from the beginning just to stay near the front. I pretty much rode at the front all day because it was a technical course; you weren’t at a disadvantage doing that,” Ortenblad said.
The course featured steep drops and climbs along ever changing mud conditions brought by wind and rain the night before. “I didn’t even really feel like I had a good handle on the course yesterday,” Ortenblad said of his Saturday pre-ride. “I showed up this morning and kind of started to connect all of the dots.”
Under 23 Women
Ellen Noble (JAM Fund) had a breakthrough victory as Emma White (Cannondale Cyclocrossworld Development) finished third.
Junior 17-18 Women
Hannah Arensman (TWENTY16 Pro Cycling) won the championship to add to her team’s tradition of developing young riders.
All of SRAM’s sponsored cyclocross pros on the podium relied on SRAM Force 1 with hydraulic disc-brakes and Zipp 303 Firecrest Disc-brake wheels.
USA Cycling Announces roster for UCI Cyclocross World Championships in Zolder, Belgium, at end of January. We congratuate those SRAM athletes among them:
Stephen Hyde (Easthampton, Mass./Cannondale Cyclocrossworld)
Jeremy Powers (Easthampton, Mass./Aspire Racing)
Ryan Trebon (Bend, Ore./Cannondale Cyclocrossworld)
Elle Anderson (San Francisco, Calif./SRAM Strava)
Kaitie Antonneau (Racine, Wis./Cannondale Cyclocrossworld)
Amanda Miller (Colorado Springs, Colo./Boulder Cycle Sport-YogaGlo)
Crystal Anthony (Beverly, Mass./Boulder Cycle Sport-YogaGlo)
Andrew Dillman (Fairdale, Ky./Cyclocross Network Racing)
Tobin Ortenblad (Santa Cruz, Calif./California Giant Cycling)
Logan Owen (Bremerton, Wash./Cal Giant-Specialized)
Curtis White (Delanson, N.Y./Cannondale Cyclocrossworld)
Grant Ellwood (Boulder, Colo./Boulder Cycle Sport-YogaGlo)
Allison Arensman (Rutherford College, N.C./TWENTY16 Pro Cycling)
Hanna Arensman (Rutherford College, N.C./TWENTY16 Pro Cycling)
Ellen Noble (Kennebunkport, Maine/JAM Fund-NCC-Vittoria)
Emma White (Delanson, N.Y./Cannondale Cyclocrossworld Devo)
Spencer Petrov (Mason, Ohio/Cyclocross Network Racing p/b Medical Remarketing)
All Photos © Wil Matthews Photo