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Logan Owen continued his streak of seven junior national championship titles on Saturday in Madison, Wisconsin, this time his first year in the junior men’s 17-18 race.
Owen (Team Redline) exploded off the front up the first big climb.
“I noticed I had a pretty good gap. I wasn’t going too hard at that point, but I saw [the gap] and just drilled it.”
Owen rode flawlessly through the slippery, half-thawed Badger Prairie course that sent many of his peers into the mud.
“Everything worked out perfectly and I just rode away with it,” Owen said after the finish.
The race for second, however, was far less scripted, culminating in a sprint between recent Euro Cross Camp alumnus Tobin Ortenblad (California Giant-Specialized) and Cypress Gorry (Whole Athlete-Specialized) for the silver.
Andrew Dillman (Bob’s Red Mill) rode a strong first half of the race in second place, before a series of crashes on the slick, half-thawed course put the brakes on his silver medal aspirations.
“I crashed a bunch and just didn’t feel that good,” Dillman said.
He was caught and passed first by Ortenblad then Gorry, who rode back from a bad start with an underinflated tire. Gorry was able to use his climbing prowess to take time out of Ortenblad on the long climb, finally making contact on the last lap.
Ortenblad couldn’t fend Gorry off on the climbs, so he got prepared to put his comparatively beefy physique to good use in the final dash.
“I just waited ‘til I could get him on the sprint,” Ortenblad said. “We were just in Belgium together. We were just doing town line sprints, so I knew I could probably get him.”
Gorry also knew Ortenblad had the better kick. “I knew he was a better sprinter,” Gorry said. “I tried, but I just couldn’t get a big enough gap on the climbs.
Ortenblad took the sprint handily.
Dillman kept fighting to preserve fourth place, and Curtis White (Clif Bar) nabbed the final podium spot.
Owen secured a spot on the world championships team and is aiming for a top-five finish. Assuming he continues undefeated at nationals, expect Owen to win his first U23 title in 2014 and the elite men’s title in 2018.
Note: Watch live streaming video of the women’s and men’s elite races from the USAC Cyclocross National Championships beginning at 11:50 am (Central time) on Sunday, January 8 on VeloNews.com. Go to VeloNews.com/live!