Pan-American national championship racing is back in Canada this weekend, and Maghalie Rochette very quickly made clear that she intends to defend her title earned last year at the Silver Goose.
Rochette quickly jumped out to a lead in the elite women’s C2 race and never looked back.
On the men’s side, both Gunnar Holmgren and Michael van den Ham animated the elite race. Good speed on Saturday should set them up well for Sunday’s Pan-Am championship racing on Sunday in Midland, Ont.
Last year, Rochette placed second on the opening day of the Silver Goose, before winning the Pan-American championship race the following day. This year, the Canadian national champion stomped her authority on Saturday’s C2 women’s race right from the first lap.
After opening 10 seconds to the field in one trip around the Silver Goose course, Rochette kept moving. By the end of five laps of racing, Rochette had 39 seconds advantage over second.
Chasing Rochette was an American duo of Clara Honsinger (Team S&M CX) and Katie Clouse (Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld). Initially, Courtenay McFadden (Pivot-Maxxis p/b Stan’s NoTubes) was in this group, but dropped back to the chasers after a minor mechanical problem.
Behind them, Jenn Jackson (Giant-Easton p/b Transitions Life Care) and Ruby West (Pivot-Maxxis p/b Stan’s NoTubes) were part of a sizeable chase group attempting to bring back the second and third place riders.
Maghalie Rochette wins Day 1 of Silver Goose Pan American cyclocross championships. Honsinger takes second ahead of fellow American Clouse. Jackson closes in on Clouse, but finishes third with West close behind. Dana Gilligan (Hardwood Next Wave) finishes 10th, for four Canucks in the top-10.
While Rochette dominated the women’s race from the gun, the men’s elite race was much more wide open. Gunnar Holmgren (Hardwood Next Wave) and Cody Kaiser (Langetwins / Specialized) jumped up to an early lead on lap on, with the Canadian under-23 national champion crossing the line first after Lap 1.
Holmgren was quickly joined by Stephen Hyde (Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld), multiple-time American national champion. Kaiser dropped back, replaced by last year’s Silver Goose under-23 winner Gage Hecht (Donnelly Aevolo). Close behind, Canadian national champion Michael van den Ham (Giant-Easton p/b Transitions Life Care) was riding in fourth and trying to bridge up to the lead trio.
With six laps remaining, Hyde started opening a small gap on Hecht. Holmgren was sitting 15 seconds back, with van den Ham another 10 seconds further arrears.
Hyde attacked up a small climb, with three to go. The effort quickly distanced Hecht, creating a space of 10 seconds between the two Americans.
Behind, van den Ham reeled in Holmgren as they pair crossed the finish line with two laps to go. Van den Ham briefly opened up a small gap on Holmgren, but it was American James Driscoll (Mavic / DNA Cycling) who would ride through to claim the final podium spot.
Stephen Hyde wins Day 1 of the Silver Goose. Hecht holds on for second, with Driscoll following in third. Van den Ham is the top Canadian in fourth, while Holmgren fades to sixth by the finish.
Jared Scott (Boulder Junior Cycling) and Magnus Sheffield (Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld) jumped out to an early lead in the junior men’s C2 race. Jacob Rubuliak and Cody Scott were the early representatives for Canada in the top-10.
After finishing fourth in the C2 race last year, Sheffield went on to win 2018 Pan-Am’s the following day. This year, the New York junior seems intent on dominating the whole weekend. Sheffield starts his weekend with a win in the C2 race. Just two seconds back, was Jared Scott. Nick Carter (KCCX Elite Cyclocross) of Minnesota is third. He’ll be back on the streets and muddy hills of Midland, Ont. tomorrow, looking to get ahead of Sheffield and Scott.
Jacob Rubuliak (Tag Cycling) is the top Canadian in the junior men’s race. The recently-crowned Canadian national champion finishes sixth in Saturday’s racing. Three spots back, his fellow B.C. racer Cody Scott, also of Tag Cycling, squeezed into ninth.