VERONA, Wisconsin (VN) — Yannick Eckmann (California Giant-Specialized) took the U23 national title without anyone else in sight on Saturday at the USA Cycling Cyclocross National Championships.
Andrew Dillman (Bob’s Red Mill) finished second with Tobin Ortenbald (Cal Giant) rounding out the top three.
The race got off to a rapid start, with Emmanuel Goguen (C.F. Racing) taking the holeshot and leading the group onto the deep, thick mud.
By the second pit, Eckmann had already taken the lead and from that time on nobody saw any part of him other than his Cal Giant jersey pulling away.
Boo Bikes rider Skyler Trujillo trailed Eckmann by 20 seconds as they headed into the second lap, with Dillman four seconds further back. Joshua Johnson of Indianapolis Cycling and Ortenbald followed.
By the time the group next passed through the start/finish, Eckmann was completely clear, passing the line before his chasers could even hit the tarmac. Dillman had worked his way into a comfortable second, and took advantage of that fact to ride a consistent and cautious race, riding the descents with care. Johnson and Trujillo followed with Ortenbald fighting to catch on.
Ortenbald popped into gear, and with a massive attack caught onto the group racing for third, successfully shedding both Johnson and Trujillo. Once Ortenbald passed Trujillo shortly before the pit, Johnson had already lost 10 bike lengths. When Ortenbald passed up a bike change while Trujillo traded for a clean bike, that sealed the final standings, and Trujillo was never able to catch back on.
Eckmann crossed the line to win the longest race of the weekend with an unofficial time of 44:42. The announcers had enough time to take a finish-line interview before Dillman crossed in 46:30. Ortinbald came in 25 seconds further down, with Trujillo taking fourth.
Until recently Eckmann feared he wouldn’t be eligible to compete in the U.S. national championships because of his dual German-American citizenship.
Shivering uncontrollably after the race, he was nonetheless delighted to have gotten his shot at the title.
“It’s fantastic, it’s exactly what I expected and hoped for,” said Eckmann.