Cannondale p/b duo Stephen Hyde and Katie Keough each attacked early and never looked back to win day one of the US

Stephen Hyde (Cannondale p/b was in a world of his own on Saturday at Devou Park in Covington, Kentucky for the two-day US Cup-CX/Cincy CX, as the racers battled the first cold and muddy conditions of the year. The U.S. national cyclocross champion rode solo for nearly the entirety of the race and won the UCI C1 race by over a minute. Aspire Racing’s Spencer Petrov and Jeremy Powers rounded out the podium.

“I was super pumped today. We’ve all been waiting for weather like this,” said Hyde about the cold and muddy conditions. “This course is great. It’s fantastic. There is a lot of elevation, and it’s a real cyclocross course. There’s a lot of really good sections to it. On the back side, I really like the big run back there.”

Temperatures were beginning to dip below 40 degrees, as the elite men powered down the start/finishing straight and on to the course. The deep ruts that had formed through the earlier races started to solidify, making the course a little bit more technical.

Kerry Werner (Kona Factory) took the holeshot, but soon Hyde found the front and simply powered away from everyone else. Petrov, 19-years-old, found himself alongside another young-gun, Gage Hecht (Alpha Bicycle Company-Groove Subaru), in the early going. Werner led the chase just behind the young duo. Meanwhile, Powers was making his way to the front-end of the race, as he got off to a slow start on lap one.

On lap two, Petrov charged away from Hecht to solely take hold of second-place, as Hyde’s lead was approaching 30 seconds.

Midway through the seven-lap race, Hecht had begun to fade and was now in danger of losing a top-five position on the day. The thick mud made the going difficult and it seemed most riders opted to pit to get a clean bike once per lap.

Powers had moved-up into the final podium spot by this point, but it was nearly 30 seconds up to his teammate in second and another 30 seconds to Hyde. There was no doubting it, Hyde was putting considerable power into the pedals, but through the corners and down the off-camber descents he looked at ease. The bike and he moved as one.

With three laps to go, Hyde put in more time, while Powers began working his way back closer to his teammate. Could the catch be made? It would not be so, but not without an aggressive effort from Powers.

Hyde rode next to the barriers and high-fived fans as he rolled down the finishing stretch to take a dominant victory. He had such an enormous lead that he casually leaned against his bike after crossing the line and waited for the other riders to join him. Petrov came in more than a minute down with Powers another 20 seconds behind.

The final lap proved decisive for the top-5. Curtis White (Cannondale p/b, Hecht and Jonathan Page were battling for a top-5 result with Werner and Jamey Driscoll (Donnelly Sports) just behind them. When the riders crossed the line though, Hecht and White rounded out the top-five, but Werner and Driscoll had both managed to get past Page, forcing the elder statesman down into eighth.

US Cup-CX leader and winner of three of the four rounds entering the race, Tobin Ortenblad (Santa Cruz/Donkey Label Racing), was not a factor in the race and finished 14th. His chances of winning the overall or even placing in the top-3 overall for the prize purse are all but over.

Thus, Hyde would overtake Ortenblad for the overall series lead with the win, passing him by 46 points.

Elite men full results

Keough smashes field to extend lead US Cup-CX overall

Fresh off another top-10 at a world cup last weekend, Kaitlin Keough (Cannondale p/b powered away from the other woman to handily win day one of the US Cup-CX/Cincy CX. Photo: @pinnedgrit

Kaitlin Keough (Cannondale/ continued her dominance as the women’s leader in US Cup-CX series, capturing his fourth win in the series’ five rounds that have occurred so far. Her decisive victory in the UCI C1 race showed her great form and that she has brought her racing to another level this year. Like her teammate in the men’s race, Hyde, she won by over a minute to French national cyclocross champion Caroline Mani (Van Dessel/Atom Composites with Ellen Noble (Aspire Racing) in third.

“I rode my own race,” Keough said. “It was really hard out there, the course is heavy. It was technical with the mud. I am strong running in the mud, so that’s good. I just tried to focus and be smooth where I had to be to make minimal mistakes, then go fast where I could pedal. I made a few mistakes, but I feel like that is expected because it is our first muddy race of the season. I was strong today and I’m really happy about it.”

Noble took the holeshot and by the second lap, five riders had created separation in the 26-rider strong field. Noble and Mani were driving on the front of the race, but they were followed closely by Keough, White, and Courtenay McFadden (Pivot Cycles p/b DNA Cycling).

Keough’s was riding smoothly through the off-camber sections and steady up the climbs to slowly opened the gap until sge was far away in the distance compared to the others. However, the battle for the podium was fierce. Mani and Noble, who were active early on lap one were able to separate themselves from the White and McFadden.

What was evident was that this race was not tactical like the most of the other races this year. The US Cup-CX/Cincy CX mud had brought forth those who were strong and those who lacked a bit.

The 30-second gap Keough gained over Mani turned into almost a full minute by the time she reached the finish line. It would be the French champion’s fourth podium finish this year, but she has yet to be victorious. Noble would finish third, her sixth podium this season. White and McFadden rounded out the top Five.

Keough extended her lead for the elite women with Saturday’s win and has a 30-point lead over teammate White heading into day two of US Cup-CX/Cincy CX. Maghalie Rochette (Clif Pro Team) sat third overall entering the Cincy CX weekend, but missed the weekend to compete at the Canadian national cyclocross championships were she finished second.

Saturday also saw a UCI-sanctioned junior 17-18 men’s race at Devou Park. Lane Maher (Hot Tubes Development Cycling) captured the victory with the Cannondale p/b duo of Alex Morton and Sam Noel rounding out the podium.

The US Cup-CX/Cincy CX continues on Sunday was a UCI C2-sanctioned event for the junior 17-18 men, elite women, and elite men. The race heads across town to Harbin Park for day two, a rarity in the U.S. for a weekend event to have two separate venues. While rain is not expected Saturday night, a cloudy cold day is forecast for Sunday, so muddy conditions may again prevail.

Elite women full results

Elite men full results

Junior 17-18 men full results