Stephen Hyde and Ellen Noble captured day two of the US Cup-CX/Cincy CX on Sunday in Fairfield, Ohio.

Stephen Hyde (Cannondale p/b and young sensation Gage Hecht (Alpha Bicycle Co.- Groove Subaru) had a battle for the ages, with the veteran finally breaking free from Hecht on the final lap to claim victory in round six of the Sho-Air US Cup-CX on Sunday in Cincinnati, Ohio. Curtis White, Hyde’s teammate, won the battle for third against Kerry Werner (Kona Factory Racing) and Jamey Driscoll (Donnelly Sports).

The second day of racing at US Cup-CX/Cincy CX moved from Covington, Kentucky to the north side of the Ohio River on Sunday. The UCI-C2 event saw an overcast sky and cold conditions for the junior 17-18 men, elite women and elite men. Temperatures hovered around 40 degrees and a stiff wind blew, making it feel much colder. Course conditions were tacky with riders seen running a more intermediate tire, compared with the full mud tires they were racing with on Saturday. An undulating lap would test the riders mental strength, paying forth those who conserved their energy early in the race.

The elite men got off to a blazing start with Werner taking the holeshot for the second day in a row. He was followed quickly on to the grass by White, Hyde, and Driscoll, as pack riding dominated the early going.

A 12-rider group formed on the opening lap and included all of the heavy hitters. The lead changed on multiple occasions with many riders coming to the fore to try to whittle down the group. Spencer Petrov (Aspire Racing) was seen pounding on the front at moments, but he would ultimately run out of steam and fail to finish.

Midway through the eight-lap race, the lead group had split and only Hecht, Hyde, Petrov, Eric Brunner (EVOL Racing), Werner and White remained in the lead group. The race of attrition was beginning to sink in.

Then Hyde attacked and only Hecht could follow — the duel was on.

With three laps to go, it was just the Hyde versus Hecht show. Werner had briefly bridged to the leading duo, but was unable to keep pace. The chase group of Werner, White, Driscoll, and Brunner rode strongly, but lacked the muscle to bring back the leaders.

The tough course at T. William Harbin Park was taking its toll. The brutal uphill slog to the finish sapped the energy out of everyone’s legs and the riders looked exhausted with still two laps to go.

“This course was drastically different than the other (on Saturday),” Hyde said. “It was much less technical but very difficult to pedal on. It was slick. It was a big group race. It was hard. I just waited for it all to happen.”

Hyde made his move on the final lap, finally dropping the 19-year-old Hecht. He had battled the reigning U.S. Cyclocross National Champion the entire way, but lacked the final punch in the end, finishing 26 seconds off the pace. It was his first podium finish in an elite men’s race this season.

“For most of the race I was just trying to hang onto Stephen’s wheel,” Hecht said. “I tried not to present the fact that I was really in the box the entire race, keep him from attacking me earlier.”

Sunday was the first time this season that Hecht had finished on the podium of an elite men’s race. “It was a good day. I was super happy about how it went,” Hetch said, adding that the course was super fast. “I loved it. There were a lot of sections where you just keeping the bike leaned under you. It was a blast.”

White was able to power up the climb to the finish and secure third and put two Cannondale p/b riders on the podium. Werner would follow in fourth and Driscoll would finish fifth.

Elite men top-10

Patience pays off for Noble

Ellen Noble (Aspire Racing) waits and then strikes when it matters most to take the win on day two. Photo: @pinnedgrit

Ellen Noble timed her attacked to perfection, getting a gap immediately and never stepping off the accelerator. The Aspire Racing rider was again in battle with the Cannondale p/b duo of Katie Keough and Emma White and proved to be the strongest on Sunday. White passed Keough right at the line to finish second with Saturday’s UCI C1 winner, Keough, rounding out the podium in third.

The 28-rider field was stacked for the second day of racing in the Cinncinati area. A large lead group of 10 riders moved to the front early in the race.

Noble, White, Keough, Courtenay McFadden (Pivot Cycles p/b DNA Cycling), Rebecca Fahringer (Stan’s NoTubes p/b Maxxis), Katie Clouse (Alpha Bicycle Co.-Groove Suba), Caroline Mani (Van Dessel/ Atom Composites), Sofia Gomez Villafane (Pivot/DNA Cycling), Clara Honsinger (Team S&M CX) and Amanda Nauman (SDG-Muscle Monster) formed the lead group.

While course conditions were not considered muddy, the ground was still soft from Friday night’s rainstorm and thus sucked the energy right of the rider’s legs.

With three laps to go, the lead group had been whittled down to four. It was Saturday’s winner Keough riding at the front with teammate White, Villafane, and Noble.

Then Noble decided the time was now.

“I tried to race patiently because there was a lot of wind on the course, and a lot of long pedaling sections,” Noble said. “So, to race tactically was important today. I started to sense some fatigue coming on in the group. And I was also getting a little worried that the end of the race was coming around soon and we still had four people in the front group. I really wanted to have that podium solidified. So I put some pressure on, going over the logs, and I was able to get away. I just had to go all in to keep from there.”

Keough would chase hard alone, but was unable to bridge the gap to Noble. On the other hand, White had failed to react strongly to Noble’s attack but never gave up the fight. She powered up the final long climb to the finish and passed her teammate right at the line.

The Cannondale p/b duo finished five seconds back of the winner. Gomez Villafane would finish 19 seconds back, alone in fourth place. Mani, who was second in the C1 contest on Saturday, would fade to eighth place.

“I liked the whole course, except for the drag up to the finish,” Noble said. She collapsed on the ground after the race, elated to win, but also drained from the effort.

“It took all of the power I had to get up it! I didn’t want to have to do that again. But everything else was wonderful and a super-fun course. The promoters who put on this race definitely have a big undertaking, doing two separate venues. But they do such an amazing job. All of their efforts are really appreciated. It is one of the best races of the year.”

For the junior 17-18 men, Lane Maher (Hot Tubes Development Cycling) completed the weekend sweep by winning the second day with a late race attack.

“I got an early gap and thought I could keep building on it. But it closed pretty fast and I decided to sit in and wait, be patient,” Maher said. “The last lap I was put under pressure a little bit, but I took a good line coming onto the pavement with maybe a quarter of a lap to go. And I just hit it and made it to the line first. I’m so happy.”

Alex Morton (Cannondale p/b would finish five seconds back for second with Benjamin Gomez Villafane (Top Club Cyclocross) rounding out the podium.

On November 4th and 5th, the riders head to Louisville, Kentucky for the final round of the Sho-Air U.S. Cup-CX on Saturday and the Pan-American Championships on Sunday. The 11th annual Derby City Cup will be showcasing a new course at Joe Creason Park.

Elite women full results

Elite men full results

Junior 17-18 men full results