Our coverage is brought to you in part by Feedback Sports. See them at the Women's Forum tonight if you're in Reno.

Our coverage is brought to you in part by Feedback Sports. See them at the Women’s Forum tonight if you’re in Reno.

Reno might not be Durango, Colorado, but on Wednesday in the Collegiate Varsity race, it felt like home for Fort Lewis’ Henry Nadell and Stephan Davoust. The two Skyhawks got off the front midway through the race and then used textbook teamwork to cut into the blustery headwind and expand their gap on a duo of Marian chasers.

“It was just like any Durango race we do,” said Davoust about his time off the front with Nadell. “We’re always riding together and having a good teammate there to ride with makes it that much more fun. You just race better when you’re having fun.”

Early in the race, Fort Lewis’ teamwork-makes-the dream-work afternoon looked unlikely. Nadell started hot and was joined by Cade Bickmore (Marian) and defending champion Brannan Fix (Colorado Mesa) off the front. It was not until the back half of the third lap, on the technical climb and descent, that Nadell dropped his companions and Davoust joined him at the front.

Caleb Swartz (Marian) joined Bickmore for a chase of the two Fort Lewis leaders, but Nadell and Davoust had too much horsepower for the Knights and expanded their lead. Nadell led the way through the technical section in the last lap and got a leg up on Davoust in the finishing sprint to take the win.

Based on their respective celebrations, both Skyhawks were pleased with their Wednesday morning ride.

Henry Nadell gives due credit to Stephan Davoust after their teammwork in Reno. 2018 Cyclocross National Championships. © A. Yee / Cyclocross Magazine

Henry Nadell gives due credit to Stephan Davoust after their teamwork in Reno. 2018 Cyclocross National Championships. © A. Yee / Cyclocross Magazine

Leaders and Chasers

After the Collegiate Club race evolved into a splintered, solo affair at the front, the Varsity race took more of a group vibe early on.

Cade Bickmore got out to a fast start on Wednesday. 2018 Cyclocross National Championships, Collegiate Varsity Men. © A. Yee / Cyclocross Magazine

Cade Bickmore got out to a fast start on Wednesday. 2018 Cyclocross National Championships, Collegiate Varsity Men. © A. Yee / Cyclocross Magazine

A lead trio of Nadell, Bickmore and Fix was fixing to get off the front, and a chase of four headed up by Swartz formed behind them. Midway through the second lap, the chase dwindled to Nadell’s teammate Davoust and Swartz, while the lead trio worked to keep them away. If it were a crit, Swartz and Davoust would likely have been content having teammates in the break. However, this is cyclocross, and there was plenty of racing left to go.

The early leaders were Nadell, Fix and Bickmore. 2018 Cyclocross National Championships, Collegiate Varsity Men. © A. Yee / Cyclocross Magazine

The early leaders were Nadell, Fix and Bickmore. 2018 Cyclocross National Championships, Collegiate Varsity Men. © A. Yee / Cyclocross Magazine

The biggest shakeup in the race occurred in the third lap. The approximately eight-minute circuit started with Fix falling off the pace of the lead three. The course at Rancho San Rafael Park features a loooong false flat grind up toward the Podium Pavilion that took riders straight into a strong headwind on Wednesday. Falling off the pace could be deadly for a rider in a group.

Fix learned this the hard way and started to fall back. At the same time, Swartz and Davoust started to close the gap to the leaders. Things were on the move.

Brannan Fix had a strong start, but dropped off mid-race. 2018 Cyclocross National Championships, Collegiate Varsity Men. © A. Yee / Cyclocross Magazine

Brannan Fix had a strong start, but dropped off mid-race. 2018 Cyclocross National Championships, Collegiate Varsity Men. © A. Yee / Cyclocross Magazine

The next big shakeup, and the ultimate selection, occurred in the back half of the third lap that featured the technical climb and descent. Nadell escaped from Bickmore and Davoust used his spinning skills on the climb and mountain bike prowess on the descents to leapfrog into second. At the end of the third lap, Nadell and Davoust were reunited with a ten-second lead on the other riders.

“I was just trying to get the two guys away,” said Nadell. “And I knew Stephan was strong enough to come up. I was like, I gotta get rid of everyone with me, Stephan’s coming up and we’re bringing it home.”

Davoust said Nadell’s faith in him paid off. “I used my mountain bike skills on the climb and the descent on the back to move up. I could probably make up 5-10 seconds on those descents.”

Teamwork, Dream Work, Etc.

With half the race left to go, Nadell and Davoust were right where they wanted to be. After passing over the Little Loenhout ditch, through the sand and up the Belgian steps, the two Skyhawks doubled their lead back to third. Behind them, two Marian riders in Swartz and Cade Bickmore gave chase.

Nadell and Davoust worked together to extend their gap. Collegiate Varsity Men. 2018 Cyclocross National Championships. © D. Mable/ Cyclocross

Nadell and Davoust worked together to extend their gap. Collegiate Varsity Men. 2018 Cyclocross National Championships. © D. Mable/ Cyclocross

Did knowing it was Fort Lewis vs. Marian motivate Nadell and Davoust? “Oh yeah,” said Nadell. “Coming out and knowing you’re racing not just for yourself but also for the team [was a motivation],” Davoust added.

Caleb Swartz and Cade Bickmore tried to chase the leaders down. 2018 Cyclocross National Championships, Collegiate Varsity Men. © A. Yee / Cyclocross Magazine

Caleb Swartz and Cade Bickmore tried to chase the leaders down. 2018 Cyclocross National Championships, Collegiate Varsity Men. © A. Yee / Cyclocross Magazine

The motivation worked and the two extended their gap in the fifth lap. Nadell was a little stronger on the power sections and then Davoust excelled on the technical features. With one to go, the two were together.

The same script played out for the the Fort Lewis duo in the sixth and final lap. Nadell opened up a gap at pit two, but Davout closed on the long climb in the back half of the lap. Nadell held first wheel and was the first to emerge from Jurassic Park onto the finishing straight. He had the kick to take the win, but the two were obviously excited. Nadell pointed back in homage to his teammate and Davoust returned the compliment. It was quite a way to start the week for the Fort Lewis team.

Swartz eventually gapped Bickmore and brought home a solo third.

Caleb Swartz rode a strong race to take third. 2018 Cyclocross National Championships, Collegiate Varsity Men. © A. Yee / Cyclocross Magazine

Caleb Swartz rode a strong race to take third. 2018 Cyclocross National Championships, Collegiate Varsity Men. © A. Yee / Cyclocross Magazine

Full results are below the video interviews.

Men Collegiate Varsity Results: 2018 Reno Cyclocross Nationals

PlaceBibNameTimeTeam
1234Henry NADELL48:58Fort Lewis College
2262Stephan DAVOUST49:02Fort Lewis College
3263Caleb SWARTZ49:40Marian University
4261Brannan FIX49:46Colorado Mesa University
5244Cade BICKMORE49:50Marian University
6254Ben SCHMUTTE50:01Marian University
7238Liam EARL50:12Colorado Mesa University
8235Sean FINCHAM51:00Savannah College of Art and Design - Atlanta
9242Harrison BUCKLEY51:05Fort Lewis College
10237Skyler MACKEY51:29Fort Lewis College
11269Carson BECKETT51:31Brevard College
12231Anders NYSTROM51:39Marian University
13259Thomas GAUTHIER51:51Fort Lewis College
14268Ian MCPHERSON52:07Fort Lewis College
15230Scott MCGILL53:17Brevard College
16258Tyler ORSCHEL53:19Brevard College
17272Herman LARSSON53:34Colorado Mesa University
18275Evan HARTIG53:38Lindenwood University
19276Jonah MEADVANCORT54:12Lindenwood University
20271Nicholas BEIRNE54:18Marian University
21255Andrew SPARKS54:31Lees-McRae College
22241Jonathan ANDERSON54:52Fort Lewis College
23233Walker SHAW54:55Brevard College
24264Dalton WALTERS55:24Colorado Mesa University
25245Nolan VANDERZWAAG55:49Lees-McRae College
26251Artur SAGAT56:01Savannah College of Art and Design - Atlanta
27267Keith MULLALY56:06Belmont Abbey College
28265Andrew SCARANO56:34Savannah College of Art and Design - Atlanta
29232Eli HOUSE56:58Marian University
30236Jack PERRY57:00Lees-McRae College
31229Sam WINTERS57:01Marian University
32266Ruben BACON57:03Milligan College
33252Caleb SMITH58:11Lees-McRae College
34253Zachary LOWDENLAPBrevard College
35243Zachery CARMELLAPMars Hill University
36256Joe WHALLEYLAPMilligan College
37274Austin GOMESLAPLindenwood University
38257Andrew BALDWINLAPMilligan College
39273Jason COLESTOCKLAPLindenwood University
40227Matthew OWENLAPKing University
41277Nathaniel SCHOONOVERLAPLindenwood University
42246Zachary ROSSLAPLees-McRae College
43249William HARDINLAPLees-McRae College
44239Kyle MINDICKLAPMarian University
45228Blake WILSONLAPMilligan College
46260Garrett SMITHLAPMilligan College
47278Samuel MORKAL WILLIAMSLAPWarren Wilson College
48270Tristin COOPERLAPUnion College-KY
49250Ben EDWARDSLAPUnion College-KY
DNF240Eric HUBBSKing University