They say anything can happen in cyclocross, but how often does the adage really come true? On Saturday in the Junior Women 15-16 race, that anything could and did happen to affect the outcome of the exciting race.
The first three laps of the four-lap race were filled with excitement as several of the future stars of Women’s cyclocross battled it out at the front. Lizzy Gunsalus (AP Junior Devo p/b Corner Cycle) and Bridget Tooley (Latini’s Bicycle Repair) got off the front early, and then Zoerner closed the gap to the lead duo at the end of the first lap.
During the next lap, Tooley faded and Gunsalus and Zoerner went about throwing attacks at one another. During the third lap, Zoerner took the lead on the climb and then hit the start/finish straight in the lead. It was there, anything happened.
Zoerner sat up in her saddle a bit and then out of nowhere, Gunsalus went down almost right at the finish line. The unexpectedness of the crash was shocking for everyone watching.
“On the straight before the last lap, Lizzy just hit my back wheel,” said Zoerner. “She went down and I took advantage of it. It was a really a once-in-a-million chance that would happen.”
Once Zoerner realized what happened, everyone behind the barriers was letting her know to attack. “They definitely were yelling when Lizzy went down. They were all cheering and saying ‘Go! Go! Go! Now’s your chance!'” Zoerner said about the opportunity.
Zoerner heeded the crowd’s advice and attacked past the pit. She got a comfortable gap that allowed her to stay in the lead for good. The win was her first Cyclocross National Championship.
Cassidy Hickey (Prestige Imports/Porsche/Audi) stormed back late in the race to take second and Tooley held on for the third podium spot. Gunsalus ended up finishing fourth.
Junior Women's 15-16 Results: 2018 Reno Cyclocross Nationals
|1||253||ZOERNER||Lauren||Alpha Bicycle Co.- Groove Subar||Highlandsranch CO||34:45|
|2||258||HICKEY||Cassidy||Prestige Imports/Porsche/Audi R||Parker CO||34:59|
|3||259||TOOLEY||Bridget||Latini's Bicycle Repair||Frisco TX||35:01|
|4||251||GUNSALUS||Lizzy||AP Junior Development||Dudley MA||35:40|
|5||265||MONTREUIL||Faith||Team Louisville||Louisville KY||35:55|
|7||254||DRUMMOND||Aubrey||SPCX p/b R.K. BLACK||Tulsa OK||36:29|
|8||264||WRIGHT||Tea||Boulder Junior Cycling||Boulder CO||36:39|
|9||262||JOHNSON||Taylor||Boulder Junior Cycling||Broomfield CO||36:40|
|11||252||DYAS||Eleanor||Midwest Devo||Carmel IN||41:13|
|14||255||WING||Ciara||Los Altos CA||43:05|
|15||257||NAVARRO||Carolina||KCOI U20||Shawnee Mission KS||44:41|
|DNF||261||METTLER||Jennifer||NorthStar Development Cycling||Chanhassen MN|
For more from Reno, see our continuing coverage of the 2018 Reno Cyclocross Nationals on our dedicated Nationals page.
Photos from the races and reports are available to license here, with more to be added throughout the next week.
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