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Maghalie Rochette is the elite women’s Pan-American cyclocross champion

Silvers for Ruby West and Michael van den Ham

Canadian Maghalie Rochette was the only Canuck to win a Pan American cyclocross title on Sunday’s final day of the Silver Goose Pan-American Cyclocross Championships at Little Lake Park in Midland, Ontario. On a course that had dried out in the sun and wind, Ruby West and Michael van den Ham earned silver medals.

In the early afternoon American Magnus Sheffield took the Junior men‘s title. Seizing the bronze was Canada’s Carter Woods (Naked Factory Racing), only two seconds back of Sheffield in a very tight race.

Yesterday’s C2 winner Gabe Hecht (USA) earned the U23 men‘s championship with Gunnar Holmgren (Hardwood Next Wave) top Canadian in fourth after a Lap 1 crash.

In the U23 women’s contest, Canadian champion Ruby West (Specialized-Tenspeed Hero) and American Katie Clouse took an early lead on the first of five laps but another rider from the USA, Clara Honsinger, took over from Clouse on Lap 2. Honsinger had a two-second gap through most of Lap 3.

Honsinger increased her lead on the penultimate lap, winning by 23-seconds. After the race, West told CCM, β€œI think Clara tends to have a slower start, so I expected her to come flying through at some point. When she did, I tried to hang on for as long as possible. She was definitely the one to beat. She rode strong yesterday and has been riding strong all season.”

On paper, the elite men’s race looked to be between American champ Stephen Hyde and Canadian champ Michael van den Ham. American Kerry Werner led a long line of riders on Lap 1 of 8. Hyde had to pit early. Van den Ham crossed the line in the lead at the end of the first lap. Hyde, van den Ham, Werner, Curtis White and Marc AndrΓ© Fortier hit the line after the second lap in a bunch.

Van den Ham and White put a little daylight between themselves and Hyde, Fortier and Werner. It came back together with Jack Kisseberth replacing Fortier in the group.

On Lap 5 it was down to van den Ham, Hyde, Werner and White.

On Lap 6, Hyde didn’t unclip in time for the stone steps and he crashed hard. He stayed down for a long time and gingerly carried his bike up the stairs, withdrawing at the end of the lap. White pushed ahead of van den Ham and Werner before the Canadian unhitched Werner. Van den Ham caught the American by the time they heard the bell.

The duo rubbed shoulders more than once on the final lap. White was able to squeeze by the Canadian on the right hand barriers to take the title.

Drained and disappointed after the finish, van den Ham said, “Man, that was a full out brawl out there, right from the gun. It feels good to be that close. But I’m disappointed at the moment, especially when it comes down to half a wheel or a quarter of a wheel, whatever it was.”

The last race was the elite women’s contest. Absent for Saturday’s C2 race, Catharine Pendrel joined the fun on Sunday. Saturday’s C2 winner Ellen Noble grabbed the reins right from the flag. Rochette and Kaitlin Keough were right behind her and trio made itself some space, Courtenay McFadden the closest chaser a few seconds behind.

On the second lap of five, the leading athletes ran the stairs three wide. Jenn Jackson was the next Canadian in fifth, Sandra Walter was seventh and Pendrel 9th. Lap 3 saw Keough fade back a bit. Rochette tried to unhitch Noble on the penultimate lap, but Noble contained her. However, before the bell lap, Noble crashed.

Rochette and Noble battle in Midland.

Noble remounted and banged her handlebars straight but she couldn’t reel in Rochette, who finished 14-seconds clear. Keough held on to third, Jackson kept fifth, Pendrel finished seventh and Walter was ninth.

In five days, the 2018 Canadian Cyclocross National Championships start in Peterborough, ON.