Sunday’s Pan-American Championship at Joe Creason Park in Louisville was a big one for Stephen Hyde (Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld.com). The defending National Champion was looking to repeat as Continental Champion and prove he deserves to wear the jersey for another year.
There were perhaps even higher stakes on the line. “No one wants to be a one-hit wonder,” said Hyde. “I didn’t want to lose it this year, and I wanted to prove to myself I was still good for it. And prove I’m still worth bringing out for the team.”
Hyde turned in an impressive performance on Saturday at the Derby City Cup, but big efforts can take their toll. Would Hyde’s Saturday win hurt him on Sunday?
“Those guys were going really hard and it hurt me pretty bad,” said Hyde. “I went all-in yesterday to win. It was a gamble to see if I had two days like that in me.”
Hyde has made a name for himself in part with his Hyde risk, Hyde reward style of racing, and on Sunday, he took to the start line looking to again climb to the top of the Pan-American Championship billboard and prove his second album is as good as the first.
Fast Start for Ortenblad and Van den Ham
After last weekend in Cincinnati, Tobin Ortenblad (Santa Cruz / Donkey Label Racing) came into Louisville looking to reassert himself as one of the top riders in the U.S. Ortenblad narrowly missed out on a podium on Saturday, and on Sunday, he went to the head of the class early on.
Ortenblad and Michael van den Ham (Garneau-Easton p/b Transitions LifeCare) ripped off the front in the first lap and rode ahead of a chase that included Hyde, Kerry Werner (Kona Factory CX Team) and Hector Riveros Paez (Stan’s NoTubes p/b Maxxis / Construction Zone). The duo maintained a small cushion back to the chase group well into the second lap. Jeremy Powers (Aspire Racing) also joined the chase during the second lap to make it four.
Although there was not much changing in the two groups of riders, the racing on Sunday was fast and furious from the opening whistle. Each of the climbs became a fight to the top and once over the top, the fight began again. A special jersey was on the line, and each of the riders with a chance to get it put everything out on the course.
Ortenblad and Van den Ham’s adventure off the front ended at the end of the second lap and after about 15 minutes of racing, the lead group was now six. The next trip around the course brought little change as well. Three laps down, five to go.
Hyde Has the Beat
Hyde came into Sunday looking to defend the Continental Champion’s jersey, and after his ride on Saturday, everyone at Joe Creason Park knew an attack would come from the defending National Champion at some point. If the others wanted to condemn Hyde to Pan-Am obscurity, they would need to work to do so.
That attack would come sooner than even Hyde expected.
During the fourth of eight laps, Hyde led the way into the uphill left-hand turn on the first climb. The rider behind him bobbled at the turn and slowed things up for the others in the group. Hyde had five seconds and he knew what to do with it.
“I think there was a bobble behind me and it kind of gave me the gap,” said Hyde. “I just took advantage of it. It wasn’t necessarily me attacking, but once I got it I wanted to keep the gap I had to make them work. I wanted to force them to work.”
Just as Compton did when she had an advantage in the Women’s race, Hyde put the pressure on his flustered opponents to chase him down. Hyde’s advantage at after exiting the valley was 11 seconds. The pressure was on the chasers.
The one rider who answered the call was Hyde’s mentor Powers. After struggling with the climbs early on, Powers came to life in the middle part of the race. Powers closed to within three seconds at the first descent into the valley during lap five. Powers has won Pan-Ams before, so knocking off Hyde is certainly something he knows how to do.
Powers first had to stay close to Hyde on the three big climbs up and down the side of the valley. Recognizing that Powers was hot on his tail, Hyde exploited the ups and downs and extended his lead back to nine seconds at the top of the third climb.
Powers challenge seemed to power up Hyde’s engine because when Hyde hit the first descent half a lap later, his advantage was now 16 seconds back to Powers, Van den Ham and Ortenblad.
For this point on, the race was an exposition of what Hyde can do on a cyclocross bike. In the span of three climbs, Hyde’s lead swelled to 35 seconds. At the same point in the penultimate lap, it was 60 seconds, and then for good measure, he extended it to 90 seconds before passing the pit one last time.
Hyde proved his band has more to offer than just one Pan-American Championship. His challenge now turns to getting ready to prove he can again top the charts at U.S. Cyclocross Nationals.
Going for Second
With Hyde gone off the front, the battle for second continued to be heavy. Powers rejoined Ortenblad and Van den Ham after his near catch of Hyde and looked to mix it up for second. During the sixth lap, Powers fell off the other two riders on the third climb and then withdrew from the race. Afterwards, Powers said he was having issues with a high heart rate and decided it was best to drop out.
Ortenblad and Van den Ham were inseparable well into the last lap. The two exited the last climb together and the next several hundred meters became a battle for positioning before entering the ditch before the finish.
Van den Ham put in an attack to get to the barriers first to try to get a leg up on Ortenblad’s bunny-hopping abilities. Ortenblad countered and soon took the lead with just a few hundred meters to go. Ortenblad’s move got him to the pavement first and he accelerated down the finishing straight to take second. Van den Ham took third for his first podium with his new Canadian National Champion’s kit.
Riveros Paez took fourth and Werner fifth to round out the top five.
Stay tuned for more coverage from the weekend in Louisville.
2017 Pan-American Cyclocross Championships Results - Elite Men
|1||1||Stephen HYDE||Cannondale Cyclocrossworld||1:05:41||8:43||8|
|2||3||Tobin ORTENBLAD||Santa Cruz Factory Racing||1:07:02||8:49||8|
|3||9||Michael VAN DEN HAM||Garneau - Easton Cycling p/b Tr||1:07:12||8:58||8|
|4||16||Hector Fernando RIVEROS PAEZ||Stans NoTubes p/b Maxxis / Con||1:07:48||9:06||8|
|5||4||Kerry WERNER||Kona Factory CX Team||1:08:09||9:02||8|
|6||7||James DRISCOLL||Donnelly Sports||1:08:18||8:50||8|
|7||10||Travis LIVERMON||Maxxis-Shimano Pro Cyclocross||1:09:22||9:01||8|
|8||15||Andrew DILLMAN||Think Green||1:09:35||9:01||8|
|9||8||Jack KISSEBERTH||JAM Fund / NCC||1:09:37||8:41||8|
|10||12||Tristan COWIE||Triple Oaks Racing||1:09:40||8:45||8|
|11||11||Allen KRUGHOFF||Krughoff Racing||1:10:10||8:57||8|
|13||17||Skyler MACKEY||KCCX Elite Cyclocross Team p/b||1:12:32||10:23||8|
|14||14||Cody KAISER||LangeTwins / Specialized||53:22:00||9:43||6|
|15||36||Andrew GINIAT||Pony Shop CX Team||54:08:00||9:23||6|
|16||19||Joshua JOHNSON||Team Neighborlink||54:23:00||9:42||6|
|17||35||Michael LARSON||Team Handmade||45:00:00||9:28||5|
|18||20||Dylan POSTIER||Garneau-Easton p/b Transitions||45:23:00||9:25||5|
|19||22||Tyler CLOUTIER||Transitions LifeCare p/b Garnea||45:50:00||9:45||5|
|20||39||Josh BAUER||Donkey Label||46:10:00||9:18||5|
|21||44||Jarret OLDHAM||First Internet Bank Cycling Tea||46:23:00||9:58||5|
|22||43||Molly CAMERON||Point S Racing||37:11:00||10:14||4|
|23||45||Jacob HUIZENGA||Chicago Cuttin Crew||19:38||10:09||2|
|DNF||6||Jeremy POWERS||Aspire Racing||8:19||5|
|DNF||38||Ryan KNAPP||First Internet Bank Cycling Tea||9:06||2|
|DNF||23||Brendan MCCORMACK||NBX Bikes||9:27||3|
|DNF||13||Scott SMITH||JAM Fund / NCC||19||1|