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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
|1||Tobin ORTENBLAD||California Giant Cycling||53:18.|
|2||Curtis WHITE||Cannondale Cyclocrossworld||53:28.|
|3||Grant ELLWOOD||Boulder Cycle Sport/ YogaGlo||54:20.|
|4||Scott SMITH||JAM / NCC / Vittoria||54:55.|
|5||Ian MCPHERSON||The Pros Closet||55:37.|
|6||Cooper WILLSEY||Cannondale Cyclocrossworld||55:46.|
|7||Gavin HALEY||Giant Factory||56:04.|
|8||Brannan FIX||Alpha Bicycle Co.- Vista Subaru||56:08.|
|10||Casey HILDEBRANDT||The Underground Project||56:21.|
|12||Byron RICE||Clemmons Bicycle Racing||56:25.|
|13||Andrew DILLMAN||Cyclocross Network Racing||56:52.|
|14||Maxx CHANCE||The Pros Closet||56:55.|
|15||Nathaniel MORSE||RACE CF||57:01.|
|16||Skyler MACKEY||KCCX Elite Cyclocross pb Clemen||57:09.|
|17||Cody CUPP||Set Coaching||58:14.|
|18||Peter GOGUEN||RACE CF||58:39.|
|19||Liam DUNN||TEAM CLIF BAR Cycling||59:21.|
|21||Taylor SQUILLACI||Nero Veloce p/b Michael Thomas||59:42.|
|22||Cormac MCGEOUGH||Fort Lewis College||59:48.|
|24||Jonathan ANDERSON||Fort Lewis College||59:52.|
|25||Andrew BAILEY||Provision PEAK Performance Team||1:00:23.|
|26||Trent BLACKBURN||Independent Fabrication||1:00:24.|
|27||Cormac DUNN||TEAM CLIF BAR Cycling||1:00:26.|
|30||David GREIF||Sabino Cycles Racing||1:01:50.|
|31||John FRANCISCO||University of Louisville||1:01:55.|
|32||Peter BOTTS||Walts Bike Shop/Logboat Brewin||1:02:00.|
|33||Charlie HOUGH||UCI CT: Holowesko | Citadel Rac||1:02:24.|
|34||Andrew BORDEN||Squadra Flying Tigers||1:02:26.|
|35||Anders NYSTROM||Marian University Cycling Team||1:03:04.|
|36||Andrew LINTS||Bicycle Express Racing||1:04:28.|
|38||Andrew DIETZ||Trek Cyclocross Collective||42:43.|
|39||Nicholas LANDO||University of Vermont||43:17.|
|40||Peter STRIEGEL||University of Vermont||43:23.|
|41||Roger YOUNG||Team NYCROSS.com||43:29.|
|42||Clayton TRAVIS||WAS Labs Cycling||33:01.|
|43||Ben ROTHSCHILD||Georgia Tech Cycling||33:07.|
|44||Andrew NICHOLAS||Rensselaer Polytechnic Institut||33:07.|
|45||Dillen MAURER||Kona Bikes||33:24.|
|46||Lane JOHNSON||Move Up Development-Trek||33:32.|
|47||Zach BENDER||Cycle-Smart Inc.||33:40.|
|48||Zachary NEHR||LAPT CC||33:48.|
|49||Nick THOMAS||Trek Cyclocross Collective||34:03.|
|50||Chris GOGUEN||RACE CF||34:13.|
|51||Andrew LUETTGEN||East Point Track Club||34:29.|
|52||Sam WINTERS||Marian University Cycling Team||34:31.|
|53||Andrew HALL||Asheville Cyclocross||34:33.|
|54||John HOFFMAN JR.||Marian University Cycling Team||35:01.|
|55||Devin REAVIS||High Country Development Team||24:15.|
|56||Garrett CLARK||Appalachian State University||24:25.|
|57||Caleb SMITH||High Country Development Team||24:27.|
|58||Andrew HODGES||Prima Tappa Cycling p/b Mansfie||24:32.|
|59||Tyler ROBERTS||ChristianCycling St Louis||25:21.|