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Full 2016 USA Cycling Cyclocross National Championship coverage can be found right here.

ASHEVILLE, N.C.—Tobin Ortenblad (Cal Giant-Specialized) and Curtis White (Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld) battled to the end with Ortenblad finally able to distance his rival and take his first National Championship title.

In his last year of U23 eligibility, Tobin Ortenblad took home the Stars and Stripes jersey. © Cyclocross Magazine

In his last year of U23 eligibility, Tobin Ortenblad took home the Stars and Stripes jersey. © Cyclocross Magazine

White was first off the line, off the pavement and onto the grass and seemed like a man on a mission leading the flying field through the first third of the first lap.

It was on the first pass of the off-camber section, where fans had amassed all day to watch riders navigate the treacherous, muddy slope where we saw the first dramatic moment of the race.

White fell.

While he made a quick recovery, he passed by a handful of riders including Ortenblad, Lance Haidet (Raleigh-Clement) and Grant Ellwood (Boulder Cycle Sport/YogaFlo). Behind the lead trio, Drew Dillman (Cyclocross Network Racing) chased in fourth. Dillman won the Collegiate Men’s D1 race earlier this week. He was also part of the winning Collegiate D1 Relay race.

White kept his wits about him and set about to getting back to what he saw as his rightful spot. For company, he had Cooper Willsey (Cyclocrossworld.com). Meanwhile, Ortenblad wasn’t waiting as he charged off the descent of Cemetery Hill in pursuit of Dillman, who had taken over the lead.

With four to go Dillman led Ortenblad across the line with Ellwood a mere two seconds back and White storming up from behind in fourth.

Ortenblad leads Dillman up the run up in the U23 Men's race at the 2016 Cyclocross National Championships. © Cyclocross Magazine

Ortenblad leads Dillman up the run up in the U23 Men’s race at the 2016 Cyclocross National Championships. © Cyclocross Magazine

And shortly thereafter, as they made the second pass of the off camber heading to the Bike Barn, Ortenblad was back in front with Dillman in second and White, who had made his way back to third passing Ellwood. It was clear the winner was going to come from this group absent disaster.

Andrew Dillman runs to the pits with derailleur issues

Andrew Dillman runs to the pits. U23 Men, 2016 Cyclocross National Championships. © R. Riott/Cyclocross Magazine

Over the next lap, White was back on Ortenblad’s wheel, and with each pass of the finishing straight, they played a bit of cat and mouse, sizing each other up as they set off again.

Just before the spot where he had fallen earlier, White moved to the front and took Ortenblad on his wheel across the off-camber heading to the Bike Barn and Ingles Heckle Hill.

The key moment: Ortenblad took a high line, gained five bike lengths and was gone. U23 Men, 2016 Cyclocross National Championships. © Cyclocross Magazine

The key moment: Ortenblad took a high, inside line, gained five bike lengths and was gone. U23 Men, 2016 Cyclocross National Championships. © Cyclocross Magazine

But then Ortenblad went for it. With a ripping descent from Ingles Heckle Hill and over the Kask flyover. By the time he was on the course’s other technical descent off Cemetary Hill, Ortenblad had a 12 second gap, which he mostly held on to through the finish with one to go.

Tobin Ortenblad made a lot of people happy with his U23 National Championship win. © Cyclocross Magazine

Tobin Ortenblad made a lot of people happy with his U23 National Championship win. © Cyclocross Magazine

Ortenblad his finished fifth in his last three Nationals events and this was his first National Championship Title in what is his last year of U23 eligibility and the last year for his long-time sponsor Cal Giant-Specialzied. With Ortenblad on the podium, was White who held on for second ahead of Ellwood, Scott Smith (Jam Fund/NCC/Vittoria) and Ian McPherson (The Pros Closet).

Ortenblad told us after the race that it was a line he hadn’t ridden that made the difference. “Coming off Heckle Hill Curtis was in front and was taking this wide line that we had all been using. But I went inside and that line was much faster,” said Ortenblad.

The new U23 champion was clearly emotional after the race. “It’s like a dream,” said Ortenblad.

Be sure to check out our U23 photo gallery below the video and results.

2016 USA Cycling Cyclocross National Championships Men's U23 Full Results

PlNameTeamTime
1Tobin ORTENBLADCalifornia Giant Cycling53:18.
2Curtis WHITECannondale Cyclocrossworld53:28.
3Grant ELLWOODBoulder Cycle Sport/ YogaGlo54:20.
4Scott SMITHJAM / NCC / Vittoria54:55.
5Ian MCPHERSONThe Pros Closet55:37.
6Cooper WILLSEYCannondale Cyclocrossworld55:46.
7Gavin HALEYGiant Factory56:04.
8Brannan FIXAlpha Bicycle Co.- Vista Subaru56:08.
9Garrett GERCHAR56:10.
10Casey HILDEBRANDTThe Underground Project56:21.
11Lance HAIDET56:25.
12Byron RICEClemmons Bicycle Racing56:25.
13Andrew DILLMANCyclocross Network Racing56:52.
14Maxx CHANCEThe Pros Closet56:55.
15Nathaniel MORSERACE CF57:01.
16Skyler MACKEYKCCX Elite Cyclocross pb Clemen57:09.
17Cody CUPPSet Coaching58:14.
18Peter GOGUENRACE CF58:39.
19Liam DUNNTEAM CLIF BAR Cycling59:21.
20Ian MCSHANE59:23.
21Taylor SQUILLACINero Veloce p/b Michael Thomas59:42.
22Cormac MCGEOUGHFort Lewis College59:48.
23Spencer DOWNING59:51.
24Jonathan ANDERSONFort Lewis College59:52.
25Andrew BAILEYProvision PEAK Performance Team1:00:23.
26Trent BLACKBURNIndependent Fabrication1:00:24.
27Cormac DUNNTEAM CLIF BAR Cycling1:00:26.
28Rob SANDUSKYMatrix/RBM1:00:57.
29Alex MEUCCI1:01:35.
30David GREIFSabino Cycles Racing1:01:50.
31John FRANCISCOUniversity of Louisville1:01:55.
32Peter BOTTSWalts Bike Shop/Logboat Brewin1:02:00.
33Charlie HOUGHUCI CT: Holowesko | Citadel Rac1:02:24.
34Andrew BORDENSquadra Flying Tigers1:02:26.
35Anders NYSTROMMarian University Cycling Team1:03:04.
36Andrew LINTSBicycle Express Racing1:04:28.
37Cory SMALLNEXT-BMB42:30.
38Andrew DIETZTrek Cyclocross Collective42:43.
39Nicholas LANDOUniversity of Vermont43:17.
40Peter STRIEGELUniversity of Vermont43:23.
41Roger YOUNGTeam NYCROSS.com43:29.
42Clayton TRAVISWAS Labs Cycling33:01.
43Ben ROTHSCHILDGeorgia Tech Cycling33:07.
44Andrew NICHOLASRensselaer Polytechnic Institut33:07.
45Dillen MAURERKona Bikes33:24.
46Lane JOHNSONMove Up Development-Trek33:32.
47Zach BENDERCycle-Smart Inc.33:40.
48Zachary NEHRLAPT CC33:48.
49Nick THOMASTrek Cyclocross Collective34:03.
50Chris GOGUENRACE CF34:13.
51Andrew LUETTGENEast Point Track Club34:29.
52Sam WINTERSMarian University Cycling Team34:31.
53Andrew HALLAsheville Cyclocross34:33.
54John HOFFMAN JR.Marian University Cycling Team35:01.
55Devin REAVISHigh Country Development Team24:15.
56Garrett CLARKAppalachian State University24:25.
57Caleb SMITHHigh Country Development Team24:27.
58Andrew HODGESPrima Tappa Cycling p/b Mansfie24:32.
59Tyler ROBERTSChristianCycling St Louis25:21.

Be sure to enter Verge Sport’s Cyclocross Nationals giveaway, details here.

Stay up-to-date on every 2016 USA Cycling National Championship race this week and other Nationals news from Asheville, North Carolina, right here.

2016 Cyclocross National Championships U23 Men’s Photo Gallery

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Overnight rain turned the Ingles Heckle Hill into a run up. © Cyclocross Magazine

Overnight rain turned the Ingles Heckle Hill into a run up. © Cyclocross Magazine

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