The 2013 USA Cycling Cyclo-cross National Championships concluded Sunday at Badger Prairie Park with the elite men’s and women’s race and the collegiate men’s races. An overnight flurry and frigid temperatures left the course frozen with ruts from the week of racing. It did nothing to diminish the spirits and desire of the competitors as spectators watched spectacular elite racing live and streaming online.
In all, over one thousand competitors made over 1,400 starts throughout the five-day event in Wisconsin.
Elite Men. The elite men’s race pitted 82 of the country’s best cyclo-cross riders in a seven-lap race to crown the nation’s best. Jonathan Page (Engvt) pulled away from the field to secure his Stars-and-Stripes jersey. Page outdueled 21-year-old Zach McDonald (Team Rapha-Focus) over the last three laps to win by 47 seconds.
A six-rider group broke away from the field early in the first lap. As the group continued to grow its advantage on the field, it was evident that the winner would come from that lead pack. Page left no doubt as he took the lead and did not relinquish it. McDonald closed Page’s gap to as small as seven seconds with two laps remaining, but Page had more gas in the tank for the last two laps. He padded his lead by 31 seconds over the final two circuits as he completed the course in 58:31.
James Driscoll (Cannondale Cyclocrossworld.com) finished third, 59 seconds behind Page.
“The course turned out better than I had expected,” Page said. “I was a little worried with the weather turning very cold but the sun made it slippery and I’m psyched it wasn’t a group race. There’s nothing better than winning at nationals.”
Page will turn his focus on the 2013 UCI Cyclo-cross World Championahips. "I've never been to Louisville, you have to ride at your top level no matter what the conditions. Today I was able to do that, kept my head about me and it's going to be the same at the world championships."
Elite Women. Katie Compton (Trek Cyclocross Collective) rode away with her ninth consecutive national championship after she won the elite women’s race Sunday. Compton completed her four-lap race in 43:02, 1:20 faster than the silver medalist Jade Wilcoxson (Team Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies). Nicole Duke (Alchemy) overcame some mechanical issues to finish in third place, only three seconds behind Wilcoxson.
Kaitlin Antonneau (Cannondale Cyclocrossworld.com), who topped the U23 women’s podium last year, repeated as the national champion, Sunday. Antonneau was the top-placed U23 rider in the elite women’s field, placing ninth overall to earn that crown.
Compton and Duke rode together off the front of the field in the early stages of the race. A slight bobble in the pit was the only opening Compton needed to attack and open a margin that continued to expand as the race went on. Compton was the only rider to complete each of her four laps in less than 11 minutes as she left the field battling for second place.
“I think this was the hardest course of all,” Compton said of this year’s national title in comparison to her previous eight. “My mechanics had to work hard in the pit trying to get everything to work right. I think they struggled more than I did just because the conditions were so brutal. I’m really happy with this one. I didn’t have the best start. I was wearing warmer gloves than I usually do and I didn’t get the shifting right. But other than that it was pretty smooth. I just tried to relax and pedal and push hard where I could and keep my bike upright."
Compton will now go home and get ready for Louisville 2013. "I'm heading home to do some rest and training and then come into Louisville feeling as best as I can feel. My preparation this year has been I think better as it ever has, I had great support from Trek and bikes that are riding awesome. I've had a great season, I'm super excited to win the World Cup overall. Worlds is just icing on the cake so I'm going to go out and give it my best and then see what happens. I'm really happy regardless, I've had a good season."
Top 5 Elite Men
1. Jonathan Page (Northfield, N.H./Engvt) 58:31
2. Zach McDonald (Bainbridge Island, Wash./Team Rapha-Focus) +0:47
3. James Driscoll (Sandy, Utah/Cannondale Cyclocrossworld) +0:59
4. Daniel Summerhill (Englewood, Colo./Unitedhealthcare) +1:44
5. Timothy Johnson (Topsfield, Mass./Cannondale Cyclocrossworld) +2:08
Top 5 Elite Women
1. Katie Compton (Colorado Springs, Colo./Trek Cyclocross Collective) 43:02
2. Jade Wilcoxson (Talent, Ore./Team Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies) +1:20
3. Nicole Duke (Boulder, Colo./Cyclocrossworld) +1:23
4. Georgia Gould (Fort Collins, Colo./Team Luna Chix) +1:42
5. Crystal Anthony (Beverly, Mass./Cyclocrossworld) +2:14