McDonald Wins U23 by a Landslide at 2012 National Cyclocross Championship – UPDATED: New Video Interviews

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For full coverage, schedules and information on the 2012 Cyclocross National Championships at Badger Prairie County Park in Madison, Wisconsin, visit our 2012 Cyclocross National Championships homepage.

VERONA, WISCONSIN – “The question today is, ‘Can anyone beat Zach McDonald?’”

While Cody Kaiser (Cal Giant) took the holeshot, right on his wheel was Rapha-Focus’s youngest member, Zach McDonald. The two were tailed immediately by Jeff Bahnson (Van Dessel Factory Team) and the rest of the 36-deep hard-charging pack.

Zach McDonald rides away from the field to take his first U23 title. ©Cyclocross Magazine

Zach McDonald rides away from the field to take his first U23 title. ©Cyclocross Magazine

Last year’s U23 race was arguably the most exciting battle of 2010 championships, with Zach McDonald (Rapha-Focus) and Danny Summerhill fiercely contesting the lead. In the end, Summerhill took the gold, leaving McDonald disappointed for the second year in a row. McDonald also recently snagged a 3rd place at World Cup Heusden-Zolder. And of course, some riders are in the U23 for the first time, including 2010 17-18 Champion Jeff Bahnson.

Halfway through the first lap, McDonald had already created a gap, with Kaiser and Bahnson chasing but to no avail. As they came to the close of the first lap, McDonald pulled in the fastest lap time on course so far this week, with 8:40 showing on the clock as he sailed by with a steadily-growing gap. Twelve seconds after, Kaiser rolled through with Bahnson seconds behind. Fourth through the finish was Joseph Welsch (Raleigh Allstars Cycling Club), followed by Jesse Keough (Keough Cyclocross), Gunnar Bergey and Skyler Trujillo.

Cody Kaiser (California Giant Cycling) attacks the barriers, Men U23, 2012 Cyclocross National Championships. ©Cyclocross Magazine

Cody Kaiser (California Giant Cycling) attacks the barriers, Men U23, 2012 Cyclocross National Championships. ©Cyclocross Magazine

Keough attacked Welsch on the climb, and the two began the long duel for the fourth place spot. Welsch had a bobble that sent him into the course tape, and Keough capitalized on it.

With four to go, McDonald’s lead had increased to 45 seconds. Further back, Welsch began struggling on the climbs and Andrew Templeton (Team Cross) was having trouble, getting caught in a crash and fumbling a bike change in the pit. The lap ended with the top three staying steady and Keough, Welsch and Trujillo coming together.

With three to go, McDonald extended his gap to over a minute, and Keough had again created a gap on Welsh and Trujillo, and the gap would stick for the duration of the race. After the top six, minutes remained before the next group came by, including Patrick Bradley (Philadelphia Cyclocross School), Bergey, Zachary Semian (Van Dessel) and Daniel Gerow (Wolverine Sports Club). In the last laps, the group would come together and separate.

An unsuccessful attempt to negotiate the barriers, U23. ©Tim Westmore

An unsuccessful attempt to negotiate the barriers, U23. ©Tim Westmore

A happy McDonald did a wheelie over the finish line, and was followed by Kaiser, Bahnson, Keough and Welsh, though between McDonald’s finish and the fifth place, nearly seven minutes had gone by. “Feels great. It was nice to finally have a clean race,” McDonald said at the of his race after several years of frustration including being taken out by a pedestrian. “I wanted to have a little room for error, I got the gap and settled in.”

Zach MacDonald (Team Rapha-Focus) executes his trademark wheelie as he becomes the U23 2012 National Cyclocross Champion. ©Cyclocross Magazine

Zach MacDonald (Team Rapha-Focus) executes his trademark wheelie as he becomes the U23 2012 National Cyclocross Champion. ©Cyclocross Magazine

Kaiser said, “I had expectations of myself to do better, but realistically, this is Zach’s conditions, and I’m glad I got to race against the best.”

Full Results beneath Videos; Stay tuned for more Photos.

Zach McDonald Interview:

Jesse Keough Interview:

See all of Cyclocross Magazine’s 2012 USA Cycling National Championships video interviews here! Keep up to date on all of the action at 2012 Cyclocross Nationals on Cyclocross Magazine’s 2012 Cyclocross National Championships homepage.

PlaceNameCity, StateBibTeam
1Zach MCDONALDBainbridge Island, WA2Team Rapha-FOCUS
2Cody KAISEREl Dorado Hills, CA3California Giant Cycling/California Giant Berry Farms/Specialized
3Jeffrey BAHNSONNewark, DE7Van Dessel Factory Team
4Jesse KEOUGHSandwich, MA20Corner Cycle Cycling Club/Champion System p/b Keough Cyclocross
5Joseph WELSHCordova, TN4Raleigh Allstars Cycling Club
6Skyler TRUJILLOFort Collins, CO11
7Kevin FISHAustin, TX6KCCX Fuji Elite Cyclocross Team p/b Challenge Tires
8Daniel GEROWGrosse Pointe Farms, MI26Wolverine Sports Club
9Gunnar BERGEYLederach, PA12
10Patrick BRADLEYRichwood, NJ14Philadelphia Cyclocross School/Philadelphia Cyclocross School
11Ben BERTIGERAltadena, CA9The TEAM
12Zachary SEMIANMertztown, PA17Van Dessel Factory Team
13Joseph MALONEYMadison, WI29Team Wisconsin/KS Energy Services / Team Wisconsin
14Andrew TEMPLETONAlbuquerque, NM36Team Cross (TCNM)
15Eric EMSKYDurango,
16Adam MILLERColorado Springs, CO25
17Kolby PREBLEForestgrove, OR34
18Thomas MACKAYCrofton, MD15Charm City Cycling LLC
19Zeb KINGBoone, NC27Mock Orange Bikes/SmartStop / Mock Orange Bikes p/b Ridley
20Austin JONESLewisville, NC30Wake Forest University
21Joshua JOHNSONFort Wayne, Cycling Club
22Brian JORGENSENBend, OR13Central Oregon Community College
23Davis BENTLEYMill Valley, CA28Above Category Racing
24Alex DAYTONKingsport, TN10Mock Orange Bikes/SmartStop / Mock Orange Bikes p/b Ridley
25Mitch NORDAHLAnoka, MN37Minnesota Junior Cycling Inc.
26Cole CUTRIGHTKent, WA8Northwest Velo/JL Velo Racing Team
27Alexander VAUGHAN-RUIZLosangeles, CA32The TEAM /The TEAM - SoCalCross
28Brandon FEEHERYHomewood, IL31
29Ashton WISCHMEIERColumbus, IN35
30Buckley BIRKHOLZEauclaire, WI16
31Samuel BRAMELLittle Canada, MN24Gopher Wheelmen/County Cycles
32James MCCABEBridgewater, NJ18Hearts Racing Club
33Johnathan FRETERColumbus, OH38Don Walker Cycles Racing
34Michael DUTCZAKCrete, IL33South Chicago Wheelmen
DNFMatthew KUHNRichmond, VA23HPC



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Zach is a class act. Congratulations

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