Today, USA Cycling announced their selection to the team that will be competing for the United States in the 2015 World Championship of Cyclocross. Many already automatically qualified before Nationals in Austin took place, but others needed to show their best in Texas to convince the committee that they belonged riding in the Czech Republic.
We have provided both the names and our analysis of the selections.
Jeremy Powers (Aspire Racing)
James Driscoll (Raleigh-Clement)
Jonathan Page (XcelLED-Fuji)
Stephen Hyde (JAM Fund / NCC)
Zach McDonald (Cyclocross Project 2015)
Analysis: Powers exceeded all expectations of American men early this year, pulling out an astonishing top ten finish at the Valkenburg World Cup and guaranteeing him a spot at the World’s table early. Page and Driscoll satisfy the next two best of three American riders on the UCI overall standings, and Driscoll just put the icing on the cake as the leader of the Pro CX Standings.
This left two riders to choose from, out of a large array of young riders fighting over the well that was left by the season’s partial absence of Ryan Trebon and Tim Johnson. Dan Timmerman (House/Simplehuman/Sachs) and Cameron Dodge (Scott) also had arguments for them, along with rising star Kerry Werner (Optum p/b Kelly Benefit) and the early-season Allen Krughoff (Noosa Professional Cyclocross Team), but the selection committee chose Hyde, who tested his legs in Europe this year and had a great ride on the final day of the KMC Cyclo-Cross Festival, as well as McDonald, whose late season surge and commitment to a podium at Nationals aided his cause.
Katie Compton (Trek Factory Racing)
Elle Anderson (Kalas-NNOF Cycling Team)
Kaitlin Antonneau (Cannondale b/p Cyclocrossworld)
Meredith Miller (Noosa Professional Cyclocross Team)
Rachel Lloyd (Cal Giant)
Crystal Anthony (Optum b/p Kelly Benefit)
Analysis: This decision must have been one of the toughest for the selection committee as only one spot remained up for grabs and the Elite Women in the United States are packed with deep talent. Compton and Anderson took fully-funded automatic bids early in the season at Valkenburg, where Compton finished first and Anderson fifth. Antonneau and Lloyd both guaranteed their spots in Milton Keynes, and Miller took the most total points at the mid-to-late season CI races on the Pro CX Calender.
The deep well they were left with included Anthony, Arley Kemmerer (PB2), Ellen Noble (Jam Fund), Courtenay Mcfadden (GE/American Classic), and plenty of others. Many of these women had at least one win during the season (most had multiple), and many had European experience. In the end, the late season push and the best result at Nationals likely pushed Anthony forward. Still a hard decision with three of those listed finishing within four places of each other in Austin.
Kemmerer was one spot away from a tier-2 funded place early in the season, but missed a top-ten, taking 11th in Valkenburg.
Curtis White (Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld)
Logan Owen (Cal Giant)
Andrew Dillman (Cyclocross Network)
Tobin Ortenblad (Cal Giant)
Yannick Eckmann (ROTH-Skoda)
Sam O’Keefe (Twenty20 Cycling)
Analysis: Owen didn’t get the automatic go ahead until he won the U23 Nationals Race, while Curtis White already locked it up as the U23 rider with the best results in the defined C1 races on the Pro CX Calendar.
As for the others, Eckmann is an experienced U23 rider with two silver medals at Nationals following the gold back in 2013. Dillman, Ortenblad and O’Keefe have all been racking up an impressive season both at home and abroad during an extended visit during the Holy Week of New England.
Gage Hecht (Alpha Bicycle Co.-Vista Subaru)
Gavin Haley (Red Zone)
Brannan Fix (Unattached)
Lance Haidet (Bear Development Team)
Cooper Willsey (Cyclocrossworld)
Cameron Beard (Cyclocrossworld)
Analysis: Our apologies for putting this so bluntly, but if Gage Hecht isn’t a household name for you, your household must not have a connection to global cyclocross. He is one of the very few American riders to meet the qualifications for full-funding multiple times over, with a few top five finishes on his season’s resume.
If his name alone doesn’t get your hopes up for the future of cyclocross, hopefully the full company of the Junior team will help. An astonishing four Junior men met the qualification process between their finishing places at World Cups, BPost, and Superprestige events. The only two not to qualify automatically were Beard and Willsey, who both had deep European experiences this year to augment their domestic seasons and good results in the Junior Nationals Race.