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Van den Ham repeats as Canadian elite men’s cyclocross champion

Geoff Kabush on podium for seventh consecutive year

Michael van den Ham

Michael van den Ham retained his Canadian elite men’s cyclocross national title on Saturday after a show of great strength in Peterborough, ON. On the podium for the seventh year in a row was 41-year-old Geoff Kabush.

By their 2:30pm start, the elite men found parts of the course churned into ribbons of peanut butter.

Raphael Gagne, the 2015 champion, finished the first lap in 7:54 with reigning champ van den Ham 11-seconds behind. It was determined that the elite men would face seven laps. Van den Ham pushed to the front while five-time winner Geoff Kabush edged closer to the lead move.

Three laps in, the champion led Gagne and Kabush by eight-seconds.

With Kabush closing in on Lap 4, van den Ham crashed on the barrier section. Kabush remained 8-seconds behind after four circuits, and Gagne dropped away. Having caught back up to Kabush on Lap 5, Gagne spilled it on the off-camber section and came within view of Marc-André Fortier.

Fortier picked off Gagne, with van den Ham still ahead of Kabush after five laps. Kabush was like a yo-yo on the next lap, dropping away and coming closer as van den Ham was running the barriers and Kabush was hopping them.

Lap 7 was the setting of the last skirmish. Van den Ham was five-seconds ahead of Kabush on Heckler’s Hill. He would resist Kabush’s efforts and won the race by six seconds.

Smithers, BC’s own Craig Richey placed sixth.

2018 Canadian elite men’s cyclocross championship
1) Michael van den Ham (Garneau-Easton p/b Transitions Life Care) 59:56
2) Geoff Kabush (Yeti-Maxxis-Shimano) +0:06
3) Marc-André Fortier (Pivot Cycles-OTE) +1:49