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Reporting by Angelina Palermo/Peloton Sports, interviews by Brandon Grant

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.—Neither cold, nor lightning, nor torrential rain would stay these athletes from the completion of the first day of the 2017 Major Taylor ‘Cross Cup at the Indy Cycloplex in Indianapolis. Epic weather was the story of the day.

2017 Major Taylor Cyclocross Day 1. photo: Angelina Palermo

2017 Major Taylor Cyclocross Day 1 course conditions. photo: Angelina Palermo

After some heavy storms and strong winds, there were many rain delays in Indianapolis, which hosted a second year of UCI cyclocross events with points on the line for Juniors and Elite riders for USA Cycling’s Professional Cyclocross Calendar (ProCX). Riders scurried to their cars for cover midday and waited to hear word that the races would continue after severe storms ripped through central Indiana.

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Mother Nature stepped in to do some wrenching on the #MajorTaylorCX schedule. The lightning delayed the race schedule, combined UCI Elite Women and Junior Men's races (3 min gap) and shortened them to 30 mins, with a 50-min Elite Men's race to follow. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #cyclocross #ucicx #ovcx #indiana #procx #usacycling #indycx #uscupcx #uscup #shoair #wielrennen #veldrijden #MajorTaylorCX #MajorTaylor #MarianCycling @MarianCycling #MarianKnights #cyclocross #cx #mud #wielrennen #veldrijden

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The UCI Junior 17-18 Men and Elite Women races were merged together, with the Elite Men immediately following. Races were shortened to 30 minutes and 50 minutes, respectively, with little daylight remaining.

Gilbert, Clouse and Swartz Storm Indy Cycloplex

In the Elite Women’s UCI C2 race, 16-year-old Katie Clouse (Alpha Bicycle Co.-Groove Subaru) of Littleton, Colo. took the holeshot and stayed in the front of the pack for the majority of the race.

The top three riders quickly formed a gap, with Clouse setting the pace with local-favorite Emma Swartz (Marian University Cycling Team) and Sunny Gilbert (Van Dessel Factory Team) of Ballwin, Mo.

2017 Major Taylor Cyclocross Day 1. photo: Angelina Palermo

The mud was like chocolate milk at the 2017 Major Taylor Cyclocross Day 1. photo: Angelina Palermo

After a back-and-forth battle for thirty minutes, it came down to the barriers near the finishing stretch. Gilbert had a clean mount while Clouse seemed to have missed a pedal. Gilbert rode onto the pavement to capture her second ProCX win of the year. Clouse was only one second back, for her third podium of the year. Swartz finished out the podium in third.

“Well, it was muddy, and there were some off cambers that were challenging and technical,” said Gilbert. “The pre-ride didn’t really do too much for me. The course changed so much after that torrential downpour. A lot of times I got off the bike without being forced to, but it was a lot of fun. Being able to change the lead back and forth with Katie, and really mix it up with her was a lot of fun.”

Gilbert said she has fun in these conditions, which may provide a little edge in the rain and mud. “You spend more time with your equipment, and thinking about what’s the tire pressure, what kind of tires (to use). In the end, you just get out there and ride the best you can,” said Gilbert about the rain and wind and more rain. “I enjoy these conditions, which makes me maybe a little of a glutton for punishment.”

No Delays for Lane Maher

The Junior 17-18 Men started three minutes after the women, making for a chaotic race. Connecticut native Lane Maher (Hot Tubes Development Cycling Team) established his lead early and passed the entire women’s field for his third win of the ProCX season.

“The beginning was a little chaotic with the [weather] delays. At the start line I was definitely cold. The legs didn’t feel too great the first half lap,” said Maher, who sits third overall in the ProCX standings for Juniors 17-18. “About halfway through the first lap I attacked and the legs opened up. I just kept pushing and got into my own rhythm. I perform better when it is a little colder and when the conditions are pretty heavy. So today was good. Once I got warmed up, I was going good.”

Lane Maher takes a muddy, lightning-delayed win. 2017 Major Taylor Cyclocross Day 1. photo: Angelina Palermo

Lane Maher takes a muddy, lightning-delayed win. 2017 Major Taylor Cyclocross Day 1. photo: Angelina Palermo

He was pushed from behind by Sam Noel (Cannondale P/B Cyclocrossworld Devo Team) of Shelburne, Vt. and Canadian Tyler Clark (Kms Cycling – Killington Mountain School). The two juniors fought for the final two spots on the podium, with Noel opening a small gap to secure second. Clark was third.

Hecht Is Electric

The gun went off for the Elite Men race and Gage Hecht (Alpha Bicycle Company – Groove Subaru) of Parker, Colo. smoked the field of 32 riders to take the holeshot. He never looked back, extending his lead on every lap.

“From the start, it was a bit weird, because of all the delays. This course was so muddy, you want a chance to pick your own line,” Hecht said. “I got the holeshot, luckily, and I was super happy about that. There were a few times throughout the race that I crashed. I was picking myself up quite often. I was definitely losing concentration the last few laps, I think I was tired. And it was getting dark. Luckily I had a buffer to keep me (in front).”

About halfway through the race it was evident that Eric Thompson (M Speed Wax) and Michael van den Ham (Garneau – Easton Cycling P/B Transitions) would battle for second place. The two men were back and forth all race, but Thompson opened up a slight gap coming into the final stretch of pavement and secure eight seconds at the line over the newly-crowned Canadian National Champion, Van den Ham.

Hecht was glad to get his third ProCX win in the books. “It was a great day,” he added. “The Alpha guys in the pit were helping to keep the Donnelly tires clear of mud. I was trying to pit as much as possible, so pretty much every half lap I was trying to come into the pit. A few times I didn’t. You just get a lighter bike out of it. So if you can shed a pound or two, that was definitely a huge help.”

Racing in Indianapolis, Ind. will return Sunday at the Indy Cycloplex for the final day of the Major Taylor ’Cross Cup. Cyclocross racers will again compete for points regionally in the Ohio Valley Cyclocross (OVCX) Series and nationally on the USA Cycling Professional Cyclocross (ProCX) calendar. Sunny skies will be welcome with temperatures expected in the mid-30s. Spectators will enjoy a festival atmosphere with food trucks, beer tents, and more.

Full results below. Stay tuned for coverage from Day 2.

2017 Major Taylor Cyclocross Day 1 Results: Junior Men

RankBIBLast NameFirst NameCountryAgeResult
11MAHERLaneUSA170:28:33
27NOELSamUSA170:29:22
33CLARKTylerCAN170:29:37
45KERRDylanCAN160:29:55
54GUNSALUSGregoryUSA170:30:25
611WOODSColtonCAN160:31:54
76BICKMORETorinUSA160:32:05
812KNOWLESNathanUSA160:32:12
920FRANCISCOThomasUSA160:32:20
1010BROOKSCamdenUSA170:32:25
1115JEDLICKAEthanUSA170:32:59
1218ALLWEINEnzoUSA170:32:59
1319BAILEYAnthonyUSA160:33:09
1416ZAKRAJSEKJackUSA160:34:51
1513GONZALEZJuanUSA170:35:19
1614RAWLSAmaiUSA170:36:35
1717SEITZWilliamUSA160:39:27

2017 Major Taylor Cyclocross Day 1 Results: Elite Women

RankBIBLast NameFirst NameCountryAgeResult
11GILBERTSunnyUSA380:33:44
23CLOUSEKatieUSA160:33:45
34SWARTZEmmaUSA200:34:32
42MALIKJenniferUSA260:35:00
524ZAVETAEricaUSA280:35:13
66WILLIAMSLilyUSA230:35:22
78SANTOSKatherineUSA200:35:47
827LEGANKristenUSA320:36:38
97ARMANDanielleUSA270:37:07
1012NUSSRaylynUSA260:37:17
115LARKINMariaIRL300:37:54
129COOGAN CISEKCoreyUSA400:37:55
1325MEGALEAnnaUSA260:37:55
1423MARIONPhiliciaUSA340:38:23
1513SEIPPCarolUSA420:38:31
1611RAMSAYTurnerUSA170:38:42
1730MALARSKIAnyaUSA180:38:58
1826HANCEMichelleUSA230:39:33
1920ETHRIDGELeslieUSA270:40:18
2021BEATTYAlijahUSA180:40:34
2129GREGOIREElizaUSA170:41:03
2222CUNNINGHAMTessUSA280:42:42
2310ZOERNERAshleyUSA180:43:04
28STEENVictoriaUSA36DNS

2017 Major Taylor Cyclocross Day 1 Results: Elite Men

RankBIBLast NameFirst NameCountryAgeResult
12HECHTGageUSA190:57:30
213THOMPSONEricUSA280:58:11
31VAN DEN HAMMichaelCAN250:58:19
43LIVERMONTravisUSA290:59:48
54KRUGHOFFAllenUSA330:59:40
66BRADFORD-PARISHKevinUSA351:00:54
79DAVISMerwinUSA251:01:32
85DILLMANAndrewUSA231:01:54
914SWARTZCalebUSA181:02:14
1012NILESIsaacCAN221:03:50
1118GINIATAndrewUSA261:04:39
1211SANDERSONBrodyCAN181:05:00
1342BICKMORECadeUSA191:05:00
148MACKEYSkylerUSA221:06:09
1515POSTIERDylanUSA26-1LAP
1619KIEFFERSamuelUSA22-1LAP
1736LARSONMichaelUSA30-1LAP
1816CLOUTIERTylerUSA28-2LAP
1943VILLELLAJordanUSA35-2LAP
2041ALBAUGHScottUSA24-2LAP
2132REYESDavidUSA33-3LAP
2234SHEFTALLWilliamUSA32-3LAP
2330OKENFUSSJonUSA24-3LAP
2433CURTISTylerUSA18-3LAP
2531HUIZENGAJacobUSA31-3LAP
2638MEADVANCORTJonahUSA21-3LAP
2740BEIRNENicholasUSA18-3LAP
2844MEGALEIanUSA29-3LAP
2945HARTIGEvanUSA22-3LAP
3037KRUSETaylorUSA30-4LAP
39HOUSEEliUSA19DNF
17SNYDERJordanUSA36DNF
10JOHNSONJoshuaUSA25DNS
7FIXBrannanUSA20DNS
35FETTYJacobUSA39DNS