Rumors and Rumblings is back, albeit a little late this week. Admittedly, your humble #crossiscoming season correspondent was in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan ripping some singletrack over the Fourth of July weekend. (Editorial note: If mountain biking is your jam, the trails in Houghton, Marquette and Copper Harbor make for an underrated trail-shredding destination.)
Gage Hecht started the fireworks on Friday in the Men’s U23 Nationals road race and the proverbial show continued through the weekend. Read on for a rundown of what the stars of cyclocross were up to while the family dog was cowering in fear from the real fireworks.
Gage Hecht Grabs Second at U23 Road Race Slugfest
Last time we heard Gage Hecht’s name rumbling through the cycling world, the young star was grabbing second place at U23 Cyclocross Nationals in Hartford in an epic affair for the ages. Hecht was back again on the U23 scene on Friday making noise at the U23 Nationals road race in Louisville, KY.
Hecht made the ultimate selection of three with Neilson Powless and Brendan Rhim and took second in the finishing sprint to add another podium finish to his list of U23 accomplishments. The road race took place on a 7.9km circuit in Cherokee Park, and one social media commentator called it a 23 lap, 177km non-stop circuit race. This description checks out given only 15 of the 100 starters finished on the lead lap.
Hecht was joined on the lead lap by Lance Haidet (10th) and Cameron Beard (11th), which is worth a nod of awe because we can all feel the pain just thinking about that accomplishment.
Curtis White turned in a seventh-place ride in the Men’s Pro criterium on Sunday and Hecht finished 11th for his encore performance in Louisville.
Emma White Takes U23 Second at Crit Nats to Former CXer Skylar Schneider
In cyclocross, riders may thrive in either fast, dry or gnarly, muddy conditions, but often the names at the top of the results are relatively the same. The U.S. Pro Road Tour features a mixture of crits, road races and stage races, and rarely do women or men excel at different types of events.
All of this is a long-winded way of saying what Emma White accomplished at U23 Nationals the past two weekends is incredibly impressive. White won the U23 road race – and finished fifth overall – and followed up that Stars-and-Stripes ride with a second place – and sixth overall – at the U23 criterium in Louisville on Sunday. White finished behind young star Skylar Schneider, who is no stranger to the cyclocross course as well.
— USA Cycling (@usacycling) July 3, 2017
The Women’s Pro crit featured what could best be described as a “bizarre finish.” After a massive crash with six laps to go, the race was neutralized and then delayed for 30 minutes! before it was restart.
That seems simple enough, but there were two riders with a 40 second gap to a solo chaser and then a 10 second gap back to the field. The ensuing restart featured a cyclocross start, with Erica Aller and Lauren Stephens (of relation to gravel star Mat) getting 50 seconds on the field and Irena Ossola getting 10.
You can go to about 4:47 in the video below for a look at how the finish of the Women’s Pro criterium played out on Sunday.
Lily Williams of Chicago finished 12th, Nicole Mertz 22nd and Laurel Rathbun 23rd to round out other notable CX finishers.
Clouse, Stephenson Hit Home Runs at Junior Nats in Louisville
As we have seen her do for years at cyclocross nationals, young star Katie Clouse crushed it on the road at Women’s Junior Nationals in Louisville over the weekend. Clouse added two Junior 15-16 podiums to her impressive list of palmares with second-place finishes in the road race on Saturday and criterium on Sunday.
Last week, I got the opportunity to talk to Denzel Stephenson after his ToAD series win. Little did I know (or maybe I should have known), Stephenson was not done during his trip out east from Boulder. Stephenson took third in the Junior Men’s 17-18 criterium to add another podium finish at Nationals to his Junior accomplishments.
Hyde Scores #revenge Against Lindine @gnarweasels
If you follow Colin Reuter (@resultsboy), purveyor of Cyclocross Magazine favorite www.crossresults.com, on Twitter you were definitely feeling the #hype leading up to the Gnar Weasels mountain bike race in Brownsville, VT. Reuter’s enthusiasm for the race was well-placed because Stephen Hyde and Justin Lindine turned in another great battle in their budding mountain bike rivalry.
Last weekend, Lindine topped Hyde by a narrow margin at the Root 66 Domnarski Farm race in Massachusetts. This weekend, Hyde got his #revenge. Literally.
— Stephen T. Hyde (@stephenthyde) July 2, 2017
Hyde took the win by three minutes over Lindine and six minutes over the first not-Justin Lindine, proving yet again what happens when pros show up at your local scene.
Crystal Anthony was also in Vermont, and she took the victory at the Women’s Gnar Weasels race.
Evie Richards Podiums Again at UCI MTB World Cup
After Gnar Weasels, there was a mountain bike race of lesser importance in Andorra called the UCI World Cup. Evie Richards continued her standout U23 campaign with a third-place finish.
After capturing the attention of the cycling world with his second-place finish at Albstadt, Mathieu van der Poel showed that he may actually be mortal after a DNF on the climby, technical course at Vallnord.
The UCI Mountain Bike World Cup is back again this weekend in Lenzerheide, Switzerland. After the Elbow-Heard-Round-the-World, the newest bit of mountain bike intrigue is if Peter Sagan will use his exile from the Tour de France as an opportunity to try his hand at mountain biking again.
— Anton Cooper (@antonmtb) July 5, 2017
Rumors & Rumblings comes to you each week to keep you up to date on what cyclocross folks are up to during #crossiscoming season. Only 65 days to go until Rochester, not that anyone is actually counting.