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WOMEN'S CYCLING BROUGHT TO YOU BY ORBEA
Snow and ice, several crashes, a front puncture on the last lap, and a snapped rear-derailleur hanger in the final 300 metres of the race couldn’t stop Stephen Hyde from soloing to his first U.S. national cyclocross title Sunday in Hartford, Connecticut.
The Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com rider, who came into nationals as the hot favorite while enjoying his best season to date, overcame a first-lap bobble to fight his way into the front group, and then rode away from four chasers on a slick, treacherous course that almost certainly saw every rider touch the ground at least once.
Hyde’s win was never assured, however, as he held a tenuous gap of 20 seconds over Jamey Driscoll (Clement) into the last of nine laps on a course littered with frozen ruts covered by snow.
On the final hill of the course, which descended onto the paved start/finish straight, Hyde lost control and crashed on his drive side, snapping the rear derailleur hanger and forcing him to run the final icy section before remounting. He coasted onto the pavement, looked over his shoulder, dismounted, and ran the bike across the finish line, celebrating and hoisting the bike into the air as Driscoll flew past two seconds later to take the silver medal.
In the women’s race, Katie Compton (KFC-Trek-Panache) took a 13th straight national cyclocross champion title. Kaitie Antonneau (Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com) took the holeshot but it was Elle Anderson (Elle Anderson Racing) who took the lead in the first lap, making Compton chase. Before the first lap was over, Compton powered past Anderson to take the lead.
As Anderson was choosing to run up the hills, Compton was able to ride them and extend her lead bit by bit. The 38-year-old stayed on the front and was never in danger of losing her lead, and so the battle became for second place. After taking a spill, Anderson started slipping backwards, allowing last year’s bronze medalist Kaitie Antonneau and Amanda Miller (Boulder Cycle Sport-YogaGlo) to pass her.
Miller took over the chase, trying to decrease the gap to Compton, but Antonneau was never far behind. With two laps to go, the battle of the day was shaping up to be between Antonneau and Miller as Compton extended her lead to a minute. Miller stayed clear from Antonneau, coming in second, and Antonneau took bronze for a second year in a row. Anderson and Courtenay McFadden (American Classic) rounded out the podium, finishing fourth and fifth respectively.
“It was a technical, tricky course,” commented Compton after the race. “This felt really good. [All national wins] are special and it felt really good to win today.”