ROCHESTER, New York—When the top North American cyclocross women last convened at a race, two North Americans came away with top results, with American Ellen Noble (Aspire) earning a silver medal in women’s U23 race, and Canadian Maghalie Rochette (Clif Bar) racing to an impressive fifth in the Elite Women’s race.

Annemarie Worst wins U23 Women over Ellen Noble, defending champ Evie Richards. 2017 UCI Cyclocross World Championships, Bieles, Luxembourg. © C. Jobb / Cyclocross Magazine

Annemarie Worst wins U23 Women over Ellen Noble, defending champ Evie Richards. 2017 UCI Cyclocross World Championships, Bieles, Luxembourg. © C. Jobb / Cyclocross Magazine

Seven months later, at the season opener for the U.S. UCI cyclocross season in Rochester, the same two proved they’re motivated to only improve on their impressive 2017/2018 seasons.

Just two turns into the race, the pair looked set to prove their Worlds success wasn’t just a late season peak, but a foundation for their 2017/2018 season. Only the Cannondale/CyclocrossWorld duo of Emma White and two-time Rochester winner Kaitlin Keough (formerly Antonneau) looked to be in their way.

Once the starting gun fired, White showed off her road season-tuned legs with an impressive starting straight sprint, grabbing the holeshot and leaving the others still in disbelief that #crossishere. Noble latched on, with Keough and Rochette punching their ticket to ProCX points.

A quick bobble by White let Noble slip by, and after studying her competition and the course at race pace, Rochette took to the front and looked for clean lines and clean air.

Rochette and Noble proved to have better command of the technical corners on the course, both riding a tricky right off-camber uphill turn, while White and Keough would have to dismount and run.

This turn would prove to be a critical feature, opening gaps and determining podium spots. On lap two, Rochette and Noble would ride the uphill corner, while White dabbed and Keough ran.

On lap three, perhaps sensing the Cannondale/CyclocrossWorld duo was in danger of popping off, Noble took to the front. Soon White dropped off, and Keough was dangling.

Rochette returned to the front to take her turn, but with two laps to go, Noble seized the lead heading into the series of drops and climbs. At the same climb where White and Antonneau were struggling, Noble rode cleanly, and Rochette unclipped, dabbed, and watched Noble ride away to solo for the final lap.

Noble would lay claim to the first UCI and ProCX points of the 2017/2018 North American cyclocross season.

“It feels really good to come out and win the season opener,” Noble said about her first C1 win. “The main objective today was to stay calm, cool and collected. I felt super confident technically today. I felt super smooth and dialed in with all my lines. That allowed me to stay really calm. With two to go, I kind of hit it a little bit. Then I had a small gap in the woods, so I kept going. I knew where she was going slower than me, where they call it Double Trouble. I knew if I could keep the pressure on through there, I could get just a couple of seconds. And if I got a small gap, I can get a little more, and that was all I needed today.”

Behind, there was a tight battle for fourth, with Crystal Anthony (Maxxis Shimano) catching White, but at the finish, White’s sprint kept the fourth place and top U23 finish in her control.

Peloton Sports contributed to this report. 

The 2071 Rochester C1 Elite Women's podium

The 2071 Rochester C1 Elite Women’s podium

2017 Rochester Cyclocross Day 1 UCI C1 Elite Women's Results

11NOBLEEllenAspire Racing43:06.0-Elite Women
26ROCHETTEMaghalieCLIF Pro Team43:17.90:12Elite Women
33KEOUGHKaitlinCannondale pb CyclocrossWorld.c43:43.30:38Elite Women
44WHITEEmmaCannondale pb CyclocrossWorld.c44:06.41:01Elite Women
57ANTHONYCrystalMaxxis Shimano Pro Cyclocross44:19.11:14Elite Women
62MANICarolineVan Dessel / Atom Composites44:27.01:21Elite Women
75FAHRINGERRebeccaStan's NoTubes p/b Maxxis / gof44:39.01:33Elite Women
810FERRIERChristelSas Macogep Aquisio44:50.71:45Elite Women
98KEMMERERArleyFearless Femme Racing45:05.42:00Elite Women
1012MAXIMENKOCassandraVanDessel/Atom Composite Wheels45:30.72:25Elite Women
1124CLOUSEKatieAlpha Bicycle Co. - Vista Subar45:43.02:37Elite Women
129NAUMANAmandaSDG - Muscle Monster46:21.83:16Elite Women
1313ELLIOTTNatashaGarneau-Easton p/b Transitions46:26.23:21Elite Women
1411WESTRubyCannondale Cyclocrossworld.com46:26.5s.t.Elite Women
1527HURSTKimVanderkitten/Niner46:42.73:37Elite Women
1614WRIGHTJulieTeam Averica46:57.23:52Elite Women
1717RATHBUNLaurelDonnelly Sports47:05.54:00Elite Women
1836TAPIASNatalieJAM / NCC47:09.24:04Elite Women
1918RUBINORachelFearless Femme Racing47:27.64:22Elite Women
2019BOWMANBrittleeHOUSE IND/NOKIA HEALTH/SIMPLEH47:46.84:41Elite Women
2121LEGGEReginaTrek Cyclocross Collective48:01.44:56Elite Women
2216SHIELDSEmily48:20.15:15Elite Women
2326HUNTERJulieSEAVS/Haymarket48:42.05:36Elite Women
2425FACCONEErinTeam Averica49:16.36:11Elite Women
2535STERNEGabriellaVanderkitten Entourage Racing50:00.66:55Elite Women
2623CAMPBELLFORTEAlexandraVanderkitten Entourage Racing50:20.07:14Elite Women
2728KUYK-WHITETaylorPhiladelphia Bike Expo50:43.57:38Elite Women
2830LUPIENLeslieTeam Averica50:53.17:48Elite Women
2929LEWANDOWSKIRebeccaRare Disease Cycling / Keswick51:11.68:06Elite Women
3033OWENSMeghanHands-On Cycling p/b Guerciotti51:23.28:18Elite Women
3137WALKERKatinaPark Ave. Bike p/b Borah52:06.79:01Elite Women
3220LE SAUTEURBeatrice52:21.69:16Elite Women
3332MUDGETarynFearless Femme Racing52:53.49:48Elite Women
3422RAMSAYTurnerAlpha Bicycle Co. - Groove Suba53:13.910:08Elite Women
3534SMITHMadelineKMS Cycling - Killington Mounta@1LapElite Women
3631MAYRhysJAM / NCC@1LapElite Women
3738WILLIAMSPaigeFuji Cross Crew@1LapElite Women
DNF15PATTONGrayFreddie Fu Cycling TeamElite Women