Stephen Hyde (Cannondale p/b CyclocrossWorld) takes the win in the UCI Elite Men’s race at Day 2 of the KMC Cyclocross Festival. He and teammate Curtis White blazed a ludicrously fast race to escape the field early on, with White settling for 2nd – unable to hang with Hyde’s pace in the closing laps. Further back, a multi-rider battle would take place for the final podium spot, with Jamey Driscoll (Raleigh-Clement) fighting his way to 3rd.
As he tends to do for C2-level races, recently unstoppable juggernaut Jeremy Powers (Aspire Racing) sat out today. The absence of a clear pre-race favorite resulted in all kinds of action on course, so let’s dive into the day’s events:
Within 1 lap, Hyde and White established a 6 second lead over closest chasers Cameron Dodge (unattached), Jeremy Durrin (Neon Velo Cycling Team), and Tobin Ortenblad (California Giant/Specialized).
After another half-lap, they extended their lead to 20 seconds over a large coalesced chase group of over 15 riders, including: Dodge, Ortenblad, Driscoll, Ben Berden (WCup-Stoemper), Anthony Clark (Squid Bikes), and Danny Summerhill (Maxxis-Shimano Pro Cyclocross Team).
After the power sections and downhill, the Cannondale duo raised their gap to just under 30s, with mammoth chase group still all together:
At the start of the 3rd lap, Hyde and White still worked smoothly together, with a gap now over 30 seconds. Behind them, the chase group picked up the pace, stringing out single file over the start/finish pavement.
Hyde and White would continue working together, while the chase group attrition slowly shed riders and whittled down the group.
At ~2 laps to go, each of the groups began to think of their final podium placings…
At the front, the two teammates stopped working together as Hyde began to put the pressure on White:
As White started to tire over the final laps, he was noticeably less snappy in/out of the corners and quickly lost time to Hyde. Within a single lap, White lost almost 20 seconds but continued to turn himself inside out – I suspect equal efforts to give chase, and damage control to avoid getting caught before he could secure 2nd.
Elsewhere, the fight for 3rd was ON.
At 2 to go, Driscoll, Ortenblad, Allen Krughoff (Noosa Pro Cyclocross Team), Todd Wells (Specialized), and Kerry Werner (Raleigh-Clement) were all that remained of the original chase group.
All race, Driscoll hung out at the back of the group but kept himself in contact until this crucial moment. I can’t tell if he was barely hanging on and found a second wind, or if he planned to bide his time all along, but in either case, Driscoll was about to put all his cards on the table with a big attack.
Driscoll hits the front to put some power down over the next flat sections and flyover.
With 1 lap to go, Driscoll was deep into the red trying to fend off his pursuants – only 6 seconds back.
Finally hitting the finishing pavement, Driscoll managed just enough time to sit up and appreciate his efforts, while Werner and Wells would sprint in a mere 2 seconds back for 4th and 5th, respectively.