Rochette's victory was the first one for a Canadian in the annual event. White was also a first-time elite Pan-Am champion.

Curtis White and Maghalie Rochette rode to victories in Sunday’s 2018 Pan-American Cyclocross Championship.

Rochette’s win in Midland, Ontario marked the first time a Canadian has won the Pan-American title.

Rochette nabs historic win

Maghalie Rochette (CX Fever-Specialized) takes the win in her home country for the headlining event of the continental championship weekend. Photo: Wil Matthews

The 25-year-old Rochette (CX Fever-Specialized) was glued to the wheel of early leader Ellen Noble (Trek Factory Racing CX) right from the start. The pair rode at or near the front of the race through the first three laps, with a handful of other riders jockeying with them for position.

With two laps remaining, however, Rochette found herself at the sharp end of the race after attacking on the previous lap. She got a break when Noble crashed, which created some additional real estate between the pair.

Rochette hit the final lap hard, riding in the drops as much as possible as she powered toward the finish line. Noble, who lost nine seconds because of her crash, was unable to make up the ground and ultimately finished second, 14 ticks behind Rochette. Kaitlin Keough (Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com) finished third, 40 seconds slower than Rochette.

White wins close sprint

Curtis White
Curtis White (Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com) edges out Michael Van Den Ham (Garneau-Easton) to take the elite men’s continental championship. The win makes White the first rider to own both the U23 and elite Pan Am championship jersey. Photo: Wil Matthews

White (Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com) was one of several riders fighting for position at the front of the race right from the start. Others included Michael van den Ham (Garneau-Easton-Transitions Lifecare), Stephen Hyde (Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com), Kerry Werner (Kona Maxxis Shimano), Tobin Ortenblad (Santa Cruz-Donkey Label Racing), Cody Kaiser (Langetwins-Specialized), and Jack Kisseberth (Garneau Easton-Transitions Lifecare).

The group was whittled down to five riders over laps three and four. With three laps remaining, Hyde crashed out of the race when he went down running up the second set of stairs. He exited the race soon after the crash.

On that same lap, the leading group was comprised of White, van den Ham, and Werner — which ended up being the podium a short time later.

On the final lap, White and van den Ham rode shoulder-to-shoulder as they sprinted toward the finish line. It was a furious sprint to the end, with White eking out the victory by mere inches. Werner crossed the line 36 seconds behind them to take third.