BOULDER, Colo. (VN) — The weekend’s U.S. cyclocross national championships in Boulder awarded more than stars-and-stripes jerseys and medals. Also on the line on Colorado’s Front Range were invitations to join the U.S. National Team for February’s UCI Elite Cyclocross World Championships in Hoogerheide, Netherlands.
USA Cycling will name its 21-rider team for the cyclocross world championships on Monday. While 10 riders — led by reigning worlds silver medalist Katie Compton (Trek Cyclocross Collective) — have met automatic selection criteria, an additional 11 spots remain open for discretionary nominations.
Unless extenuating circumstances exist, athletes hoping for one of those committee selections must have filed a petition with USA Cycling before the Jan. 3 deadline. The federation’s selection committee, which consists of Olympians and former world championship team members, will offer official invitations on Monday, and USA Cycling mountain bike and cyclocross program director Marc Gullickson was on hand Sunday to discuss selections with potential team members.
Before USA Cycling makes its team for the first post-Louisville ’cross worlds official, these are the men and women we expect to see in red, white, and blue come Feb. 1.
In addition to Compton, three women have qualified for the five-rider team: Kaitlin Antonneau (Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com) and Cal Giant-Specialized teammates Meredith Miller and Elle Anderson. Antonneau, the under-23 and DI collegiate champion, and Miller, third on Sunday, stake their claims by way of their positions as the second and third Americans, respectively, in the UCI standings. Anderson, who has logged a breakthrough season that included an overall title in the USA Cycling Pro Cyclocross Calendar and second in Boulder, scored the most points of any elite woman in the six C1-level events in the U.S. to earn her selection.
With just one open spot remaining, Crystal Anthony’s ride on Sunday for fourth almost certainly punched her ticket to Hoogerheide. The Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies rider rode well through Kerstperiode in Belgium last month, capping her trip with fifth at Superprestige Diegem on Dec. 29, and nearly held off Miller for third at nationals. Anthony said last week that a worlds selection was her goal for Boulder and she very likely achieved her aim.
Former world championships team member Nicole Duke (Marin-Spy) was eighth Sunday and is headed for vacation following what she said Sunday may have been her final nationals. Olympic bronze medalist Georgia Gould (Luna) finished fifth in her first UCI race since Clif Bar CrossVegas in September, but her husband and mechanic, Dusty Labarr, confirmed that she had not petitioned for a worlds invite. With Duke and Gould out of the picture, Anthony appears to be a lock for her first worlds selection.
Projected team: Katie Compton, Kaitlin Antonneau, Meredith Miller, Elle Anderson, and Crystal Anthony
(The elite women’s team may receive one additional selection due to Katie Compton’s World Cup overall victory. —Ed.)
Three riders entered Sunday’s national championship race having met the selection criteria based on their UCI standings: Tim Johnson (Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com), Jeremy Powers (Rapha-Focus), and 2013 national champion Jonathan Page (Fuji-Spy). Powers ran away with a decisive victory in Boulder, meaning three roster spots remain unfilled.
Nationals runner-up Ryan Trebon (Cannondale) and the reliable Jamey Driscoll (Raleigh-Clement), fourth on Sunday, are certainly locks for Hoogerheide. The final selection is more difficult, however. Zach McDonald (Rapha) has ridden inconsistently this season and did not finish on Sunday. Former U23 worlds medalist Daniel Summerhill (K-Edge-Felt) only started select races and told VeloNews that he did not petition for selection. Allen Krughoff (Raleigh), fifth on Sunday, told VeloNews that he was unaware of the petition deadline, but planned to reach out to USA Cycling after following Driscoll in ahead of Page for his best-ever nationals result.
Beyond Krughoff, Justine Lindine (Redline) and Jeremy Durrin (Optum) could make cases for selection. Lindine, a consistent top-10 threat in the U.S., finished eighth on Sunday. Durrin was disappointed with 18th after a first-lap crash, and wrote on Twitter afterward that he wished he “could have made the worlds team,” but at 25, he could be a youth selection. Lindine ended the season seventh in the U.S. cyclocross standings, but at just 22 years old, McDonald has the highest ceiling of the group.
Projected team: Tim Johnson, Jeremy Powers, Jonathan Page, Ryan Trebon, Jamey Driscoll, and Zach McDonald
Cal Giant-Specialized teammates Logan Owen and Yannick Eckmann put on a show in Saturday’s under-23 race in Boulder. Owen, now a nine-time national champion, went wire-to-wire for the win, and Eckmann, the 2013 champion, chased him for second. Owen is the lone automatic selection for the espoirs, based on his nationals win and the points he racked up at the Derby City Cup and CXLA, but Eckmann is certain to join him. The Germany-born rider will contest his first cyclocross worlds in red, white, and blue in February, after being forced by UCI regulations to race in German colors, as the U.S. champion, at the Louisville worlds one year ago.
The five-rider men’s U23 team should mirror Saturday’s nationals results sheet, with Cal Giant’s Cody Kaiser and Tobin Ortenblad joining Curtis White (Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com) in the selection. While White may have been disappointed with fifth on Saturday behind the four-deep Cal Giant stranglehold, he has been consistent throughout his first U23 season and, aside from Owen and Eckmann, is the most promising American rider in the group.
Projected team: Logan Owen, Yannick Eckmann, Cody Kaiser, Curtis White, and Tobin Ortenblad
Junior men 17-18
With school commitments, brief national racing calendars, and the odd mountain-bike phenom in the mix, the junior category is the most difficult to forecast each year. Gullickson watched the call-ups for the nationals race on Sunday morning unsure of who would compose the team.
New national champion Peter Goguen (Race CF) and Maxx Chance (Clif Bar) are both automatic qualifiers, the latter having taken top points at the Derby City Cup and CXLA. Beyond them, Goguen’s teammate Austin Vincent, Cooper Willsey (Cyclocrossworld.com), Grant Ellwood (Boulder Junior Cycling), Anders Nystrom (BYRDS), Josey Weik (Red Zone), Garrett Gerchar (Clif Bar), Kyle Bloesser (SDG-Felt), Lance Haidet (Bear Development), and Ethan Reynolds (Hot Tubes Development) have each made strong cases for the three remaining Hoogerheide invites.
Adding a wrinkle, Goguen was non-committal when asked about worlds on Sunday. If he opts out, that would leave as many as four discretionary selections. Assuming he accepts his nomination, nationals bronze medalist Vincent, fourth-place Reynolds, and fifth-place Ellwood should be in line for selection. If they accept, and are ultimately named to the team on Monday, is less certain.
Projected team: Peter Goguen, Maxx Chance, Austin Vincent, Ethan Reynolds, and Grant Ellwood