It was the day the cyclocross world has been waiting for. The world championships have made their way across the pond to Louisville, and everyone delivered to make it a day that will not be forgotten.
As the sun rose, Louisville found itself under almost an inch of snow with sub-freezing temperatures. The Ohio River and Beargrass Creek were held at bay by the Great Wall that was constructed by the local authorites. The outer sandbag wall was submerged, but the inner wall of large green cages filled with water held. A pump was used to keep the water levels beyond the barriers at acceptable levels.
The revised schedule brought racers and fans out earlier and everyone was ready. The Juniors kicked the day off with fast speeds on the hard, snow covered course. The off camber sections proved to be challenging, and many riders hit the deck. Mathieu Van Der Poel (Netherlands) took to the front early on being chased by teammate Martijn Budding. The Belgians were not too far behind though, with Yannick Peeters and Nicolas Clepp chasing. Logan Owen (United States) was back in ninth, but was not discouraged.
Van Der Poel attempted to ride the limestone stairs, but failed, and crashed into the fence. He was quick to pop back up, and continued on. With four to go, Owen had moved up to 5th place, and seemed like a podium was with in reach. At the limestone stairs, Owen was able to join the chasing Belgians. Fueled by the roar of the home crowd, with “USA USA” chants following him throughout the course, Owen kept the pressure on.
With two laps to go, Budding was 42 seconds back, the chasing Belgians and Owen were 1:04, and Adam Toupalik (Czech Republic) dangled off the back. Owen made his move, but a mechanical saw him fall behind. Toupalik and the Belgians pushed through as Owen tried to claw his way back. Van Der Poel continued to ride smartly on the front, and as the bell sounded, the race was for third place. A collision meant Peeters was no longer in the hunt, leaving Toupalik, Clepp, and Owen to fight for the final spot on the podium. In the end, Toupalik was able to pull through to take a slight lead and finish third behind Va Der Poel, and Budding. Owen had to settle for fourth.
“I felt great out there. I know I was one of the strongest, maybe the second strongest in the race,” he said. “I really thought I could still take a bronze medal, and it’s really disappointing that I didn’t. I had a lot of support out there and I feel like I let a lot of people down.”
“The pressure was there, but I wasn’t as nervous as I was last year,” Van Der Poel said. “I rode 24 races and I won 24 so I didn’t know what I had to worry about. I was just concentrating on my own race, trying to make no mistakes. I made one — I fell — and I just rode harder and harder.”
- Mathieu VAN DER POEL (NED), in 40:47
- Martijn BUDDING (NED), in 41:44
- Adam TOUPALIK (CZE), in 42:06
- Logan OWEN (USA), in 42:10
- Nicolas CLEPPE (BEL), in 42:12
- Dominic GRAB (SUI), in 42:20
- Yannick PEETERS (BEL), in 42:25
- Quinten HERMANS (BEL), in 42:34
- Ben BOETS (BEL), in 42:49
- Leo VINCENT (FRA), in 43:20
- Curtis WHITE (USA), in 43:30
- Richard JANSEN (NED), in 43:40
- Kobe GOOSSENS (BEL), in 43:40
- Clement RUSSO (FRA), in 44:07
- Karel POKORNY (CZE), in 44:07
- Manuel TODARO (ITA), in 44:18
- Jake WOMERSLEY (GBR), in 44:23
- Jack RAVENSCROFT (GBR), in 44:33
- Peter DISERA (CAN), in 44:39
- Nadir COLLEDANI (ITA), in 44:50
- Marco KÖNIG (GER), in 45:01
- Gioele BERTOLINI (ITA), in 45:08
- Billy HARDING (GBR), in 45:11
- Jan VASTL (CZE), in 45:25
- Maxx CHANCE (USA), in 45:45
- Adam KING (GBR), in 45:50
- David LOMBARDO (USA), in 45:51
- Trevor PEARSON (CAN), in 45:59
- Elie GESBERT (FRA), in 46:00
- Isaac NILES (CAN), in 46:23
- Stephen BASSETT (USA): DNF
- Neil SYMINGTON (CAN): DNF
- Yoshiki YAMADA (JPN): DNF