Returning to New England, the birthplace of US cyclocross, this year’s National Championships will be hosted at Riverfront Park in Hartford, CT. A full week of racing will conclude with Sunday’s elite events. SRAM’s favorites for the stars and stripes include an exciting mix of young talents and seasoned veterans.
SRAM’s top hope for the Elite women is headlined by two-time silver medalist Kaitlin Antonneau (Cannondale p/b cyclocrossworld.com). Antonneau has several top tens on the World Cup circuit and is currently ranked 10th by the UCI. Most improved is Iowa native Amanda Miller (Boulder Cycle Sport/YogaGlo). Her breakout 2016 season includes a career best 10th at the Zolder World Cup. Arguably the most consistent US racer is current U23 Champion Ellen Noble (Aspire Racing). While currently 11th in the UCI rankings, with a top ten at November’s Zeven World Cup, she will likely seek to repeat as U23 champion. Twenty year-old Emma White (Rally Cycling), who will also likely battle for the U23 title, proved her prowess on the world stage with a 14th in Zolder.
Defending Elite men’s champion Jeremy Powers (Aspire Racing) has all the experience required to win again, including his four elite stars and stripes jerseys. This season Powers has not been at his best, citing multiple injuries, but claims he’s healed and will line up in Hartford with the goal of again zipping up the jersey he covets. Perhaps best poised for a breakthrough is Cannondale’s Stephen Hyde (pictured above). Hyde finished second last year, has seven wins this year, including an elite win at the Pan Am Championships and a 10th at the Francorchamps Superprestige. Hyde’s teammate Curtis White, who has nine wins in 2016, could be the surprise of the weekend. Santa Cruz Factory’s Tobin Ortenblad is another candidate for a medal who currently leads the US CX win tally with 15. Rounding out the men’s podium favorites are consistent finishers Yannick Eckmann and Allen Krughoff (both Boulder Cycle Sport/YogaGlo).
Nearly all of SRAM’s elite athletes will be racing SRAM Force 1 HRD (Hydraulic Road Disc). Jeremy Powers will be the exclusive US elite racer on SRAM RED eTap HRD.
Stay tuned for several upcoming interviews ahead of Sunday’s finale.
All photos: wilmatthewsphoto.com