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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.
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.
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.
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.”
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:
[youtube s0zdtsp7eQY 580 380]
Jesse Keough Interview:
[youtube 7Lipfph3O-E 580 380]
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.
|1||Zach MCDONALD||Bainbridge Island, WA||2||Team Rapha-FOCUS|
|2||Cody KAISER||El Dorado Hills, CA||3||California Giant Cycling/California Giant Berry Farms/Specialized|
|3||Jeffrey BAHNSON||Newark, DE||7||Van Dessel Factory Team|
|4||Jesse KEOUGH||Sandwich, MA||20||Corner Cycle Cycling Club/Champion System p/b Keough Cyclocross|
|5||Joseph WELSH||Cordova, TN||4||Raleigh Allstars Cycling Club|
|6||Skyler TRUJILLO||Fort Collins, CO||11|
|7||Kevin FISH||Austin, TX||6||KCCX Fuji Elite Cyclocross Team p/b Challenge Tires|
|8||Daniel GEROW||Grosse Pointe Farms, MI||26||Wolverine Sports Club|
|9||Gunnar BERGEY||Lederach, PA||12|
|10||Patrick BRADLEY||Richwood, NJ||14||Philadelphia Cyclocross School/Philadelphia Cyclocross School|
|11||Ben BERTIGER||Altadena, CA||9||The TEAM|
|12||Zachary SEMIAN||Mertztown, PA||17||Van Dessel Factory Team|
|13||Joseph MALONEY||Madison, WI||29||Team Wisconsin/KS Energy Services / Team Wisconsin|
|14||Andrew TEMPLETON||Albuquerque, NM||36||Team Cross (TCNM)|
|15||Eric EMSKY||Durango, CO||5||Cyclocrossracing.com|
|16||Adam MILLER||Colorado Springs, CO||25|
|17||Kolby PREBLE||Forestgrove, OR||34|
|18||Thomas MACKAY||Crofton, MD||15||Charm City Cycling LLC|
|19||Zeb KING||Boone, NC||27||Mock Orange Bikes/SmartStop / Mock Orange Bikes p/b Ridley|
|20||Austin JONES||Lewisville, NC||30||Wake Forest University|
|21||Joshua JOHNSON||Fort Wayne, IN||22||BikeReg.com Cycling Club|
|22||Brian JORGENSEN||Bend, OR||13||Central Oregon Community College|
|23||Davis BENTLEY||Mill Valley, CA||28||Above Category Racing|
|24||Alex DAYTON||Kingsport, TN||10||Mock Orange Bikes/SmartStop / Mock Orange Bikes p/b Ridley|
|25||Mitch NORDAHL||Anoka, MN||37||Minnesota Junior Cycling Inc.|
|26||Cole CUTRIGHT||Kent, WA||8||Northwest Velo/JL Velo Racing Team|
|27||Alexander VAUGHAN-RUIZ||Losangeles, CA||32||The TEAM /The TEAM - SoCalCross|
|28||Brandon FEEHERY||Homewood, IL||31|
|29||Ashton WISCHMEIER||Columbus, IN||35|
|30||Buckley BIRKHOLZ||Eauclaire, WI||16|
|31||Samuel BRAMEL||Little Canada, MN||24||Gopher Wheelmen/County Cycles|
|32||James MCCABE||Bridgewater, NJ||18||Hearts Racing Club|
|33||Johnathan FRETER||Columbus, OH||38||Don Walker Cycles Racing|
|34||Michael DUTCZAK||Crete, IL||33||South Chicago Wheelmen|
|DNF||Matthew KUHN||Richmond, VA||23||HPC|
|DNF||Cole SPRAGUE||Bend, OR||21|