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Maghalie Rochette retains Pan Am title at Silver Goose

Canadians sweep U23 women's podium

Sunday’s 2019 Pan American Cyclocross Championships at The Silver Goose, Little Lake Park in Midland, ON, was the setting for Canadian victories in the U23 and elite women’s contests. Maghalie Rochette retained her elite women’s title after leading for the entire race while Ruby West led an all-Canadian U23 podium.

After a full schedule on Saturday and plenty of rain, the course was slicker than snot on a doorknob. On Saturday Rochette won the C2 elite women’s race while American Stephen Hyde was top on the men’s side C2. Last year Rochette battled Ellen Noble to the Pan Am win and American Curtis White beat out Michael van den Ham in the elite men’s race.

The Junior men were the first to race in Sunday’s drizzle. Reigning champ Magnus Sheffield (USA) led with Andrew Strohmeyer (USA) on the first of five laps. Lap 2 saw Canadian Matthew Leliveld join the leading duo. Magnus had difficulties on Lap 3, opening the door for Strohmeyer to seize the front. By the time he heard the bell, Strohmeyer’s gap was a minute. Leliveld, 14th last season, had to snatch back a podium spot on the last lap. Sheffield finished fifth.

Pan American Cyclocross Championships Junior Men
1) Andrew Strohmeyer (USA/CX Hairs Devo-Trek) 41:31
2) Nick Carter (USA/KCCX Elite Cyclocross) +0:54
3) Matthew Leliveld (Canada/Hardwood Next Wave) +1:08

The under-23 men’s race began with title-holder Gage Hecht and Spencer Petrov nabbing the lead and Canada’s Gunnar Holmgren in 12th. By the start of Lap 3 of six, Tyler Clark was the top Canadian in 6th. Third in last year’s Junior race, Canuck Carter Woods crashed out midway through the race, hurting a shoulder. On Lap 5 Hecht distanced Petrov, who suffered an ill-timed mechanical on the last lap and didn’t make the podium.

Pan American Cyclocross Championships U-23 Men
1) Gage Hecht (USA/Donnelly-Aevolo) 47:36
2) Lane Maher (USA/Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld) +0:53
3) Eric Brunner (USA/Blue Stages Racing) +1:15

The Junior and U23 women ran concurrently, the Juniors flying off the start line one minute after the U23 gang. Ruby West immediately pried out a gap, with Katie Clouse close and Dana Gilligan in the hunt. Lizzy Gunsalus was the best Junior early on, with Canadian champ Emily Johnston in third. Clouse made a couple of errors in the slippery course, giving West a bigger lead. Madigan Munro took over the Junior lead from Gunsalus, Johnston fighting to try to take back a podium spot. Clouse’s mechanical led to Sydney McGill completing an all-Canadian podium. The Junior podium was all-American, with Johnston fourth.

Pan American Cyclocross Championships U-23 Women
1) Ruby West (Canada/Independent) 36:58
2) Dana Gilligan (Canada/Hardwood Next Wave) +1:37
3) Sydney McGill (Canada/Pedalhead Race Room) +2:10

Pan American Cyclocross Championships Junior Women
1) Madigan Munro (USA) 37:35
2) Lizzy Gunsalus (USA) +1:21
3) Lauren Zoerner (USA) +1:39

Could Michael van den Ham nick Curtis White’s elite men’s title? He was several positions behind White after Lap 1, Marc Andre Fortier the top Canadian in 6th. White carried on in position one, with Kerry Werner and Brannan Fix close behind. Fortier faded while van den Ham carried on in 7th.

In the second half of the race, James Driscoll started to edge closer to White and Werner. Van den Ham was 34 seconds back with two laps to go. By the time he heard the bell Werner had a five-second lead over White. Final lap mayhem saw Driscoll catch up when White and Werner got tangled on an off-camber. Werner pulled out the win by six seconds, with van den Ham placing sixth.

Pan American Cyclocross Championships Elite Men
1) Kerry Werner (USA/Kona Maxxis Shimano CX) 1:04:00
2) Curtis White (USA/Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld) +0:06
3) James Driscoll (USA/Mavic-DNA) +0:17

Rochette immediately went to the fore in the elite women‘s race, finishing Lap 1 nine-seconds faster than her main C2 rival Clara Honsinger. The Canadian champ kept rolling up a larger gap as Honsinger battled with Rebecca Fahringer. On the penultimate lap Honsinger pulled away from her rival. Rochette won by 40-seconds over the rider from Team S&M CX.

Pan American Cyclocross Championships Elite Women
1) Maghalie Rochette (Canada/Specialized-Feedback Sports) 43:56
2) Clara Honsinger (USA/Team S&M CX) +0:40
3) Rebecca Fahringer (USA/Kona Maxxis Shimano) +1:01