Usopen Week5

Pro CX: Colorado Talent in Spotlight at First U23 Race Junior Men’s Race Tighten

By: Jackie Tyson  December 05, 2017

Elite Men’s and Women’s Races Head to Nation’s Capitol for DCCX Oct. 21-22

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Oct. 17, 2017) — It was an avalanche of talent that stirred up the dust for the Men’s Under-23 and Junior 17-18 races at US Open of Cyclocross in Boulder, Colo. Oct. 14-15 for the Professional Cyclocross Calendar (ProCX). The weekend also featured Category 2 races for Elite Men and Women in Boulder, as well as at the CRAFT Sportswear Gran Prix of Gloucester presented by Ipswich Ale Brewing in Mass.

When the dust settled on both coasts, Gage Hecht (Parker, Colo./Alpha Bicycle Co./Groove Subaru) gained the early ProCX lead in the U23 Men’s rankings. There was a small shuffle in the Junior 17-18 standings, with Benjamin Gomez Villafane (Scotts Valley, Calif./Top Club CycloCross) moving into the lead.

Tobin Ortenblad (Santa Cruz, Calif./Santa Cruz/Donkey Label Racing) scored his fifth ProCX victory of the season in Gloucester to continue his lead in the Elite Men’s ProCX standings. Kaitlin Keough (Racine, Wisc./Cannondale p/b did not race this past weekend, and her 505-point total kept her in the lead for the Elite Women.

Hecht would rocket to the front of Saturday’s U23 contest on the bell lap and never look back. On Sunday, he had to chase a strong field of Colorado-based competitors and use a big kick in the final sprint to secure his second win in two days at Valmont Bike Park. Grant Ellwood (Boulder, Colo./Boulder Cycle Sport) would use two podium finishes to sit second overall in the ProCX standings. Just one point separates Boulder riders in the next two positions, Eric Brunner (EVOL DevoElite Racing) in third and Denzel Stephenson (Boulder Junior Cycling) in fourth.

“It’s always great to race a UCI-level race here at home. It’s my first UCI wins of the season, which is fantastic,” said Hecht about the Boulder event starting the official points awarded in the U23 classification this season. The next ProCX points for U23 riders will be awarded at CXLA Weekend: Los Angeles in November. “It was so much fun racing with those guys. We always have real good competition. I think it makes us all faster.”

Going into the Boulder races, Villafane was second overall in ProCX points for the Junior category. The California youngster went two-for-two in Boulder for the Junior 17-18 Men to overtake Calder Wood (Anacortes, Wash./RAD Racing NW) for the calendar lead. Wood is now second overall and his RAD Racing NW teammate, Scott Funston (Maple Valley, Wash.), is in third. The next ProCX points for Junior 17-18 Men will be contested as a C1 event at Cincinnati Cyclocross (Devou Park) on Oct. 28.

There were C2 points on the line in elite categories at both weekend events in Colorado and Massachusetts. Four of the Top Five women were in action, with Keough taking a break. Ellen Noble (Kennebunkport, Maine/Aspire Racing) would solo her way to victory on Sunday in Gloucester for her second ProCX win of the year. Along with a second-place finish on Saturday, Noble retained her overall second-place ranking for the women. Crystal Anthony (Newbury Park, Calif./Maxxis-Shimano), who was tied with Noble in the No. 2 spot last week, scored third and fourth-place finishes in the same events to move into sole possession of third overall in ProCX standings.

Emma White (Delanson, N.Y./Cannondale p/b continued in fourth place overall with the addition of podium points from the Gran Prix of Gloucester, including a win in the C2 race on Saturday. Caroline Mani (Besancon, France/Van Dessel) used two podiums from US Open of Cyclocross, a second and a third, to take the fifth overall position.

With the success at the Gran Prix of Gloucester, Noble earned the leader’s jersey for women in the Vittoria Northeast Cyclocross Series presented by Clif Bar and Cycle-Smart. White will the wear the leaders jersey as the top U23 woman. The Gloucester event was the first of four events in the series. The next Vittoria Series event will be The Northampton International, Nov. 11-12, in Northampton, Mass.

The ProCX lead for the Elite Men was retained by Tobin Ortenblad (Santa Cruz/Donkey Label Racing), who would capture two more victories on the season. The back-to-back wins at CRAFT Sportswear Gran Prix of Gloucester would give him a total of five wins at ProCX events, giving him a 95-point advantage over Stephen Hyde (Easthampton, Mass./Cannondale p/b Hyde, who did not race this past weekend, would remain in second position.

“I still cannot believe how the season is unfolding. I’ve always wanted a win at the legendary Gloucester,” said 23-year-old Ortenblad about his top form. This marked the 19th year for racing at Gloucester, held at historic Stage Fort Park.

Aggressive racing earned two podium finishes, silver and bronze, for Jeremy Powers (Southampton, Mass./Aspire Racing) at Gloucester. These points boosted him to third overall in the ProCX standings, just three points ahead of teammate Spencer Petrov (Mason, Ohio/Aspire Racing). Petrov sprinted to a second place finish in Gloucester on Saturday. Kerry Werner (Kona Factory CX Team) would maintain his hold for the fifth position in the overall standings. Cody Kaiser would use a pair of sixth-place finishes in Boulder to move into the Top 10 for the first time.

Ortenblad became the Elite Men’s leader in the Vittoria Northeast Cyclocross Series presented by Clif Bar and Cycle-Smart. Twenty-year-old Cooper Willsey (Hinesville, Vt./Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld. com), who placed fourth in the Elite Men’s C2 race in Gloucester on Sunday, leads the U23 men’s competition in that series.

ProCX racing continues Oct. 21-22 at DCCX in metro Washington, D.C. DCCX was named the “best local bike race” of 2017 by Washington City Paper, noting that the venue used for the two-day event, The Armed Forces Retirement Home, is normally closed to the public.

USA Cycling’s ProCX features the premier cyclocross events in America and uses an overall ranking system to determine the best individual male and female ‘cross racers over the course of the season. The 2017 ProCX schedule provides a total of 43 race days across 18 states and the District of Columbia. For information on the ProCX, visit Follow Pro CX all season on Twitter - @USACProCX (#ProCX).