US Open CX: Hecht wins from holeshot, Honsinger takes women’s

Hecht took a dominant win, Honsinger held three-lap lead in fields packed with young talent.

Mild Boulder weather greeted strong fields of young talent Saturday at Valmont Bike Park. Racing was won by Portland, Oregon’s Clara Honsinger (Team S&M CX), and Parker, Colorado’s Gage Hecht (Alpha Bicycle Co./ Groove Subaru).

Honsinger wins by 34 seconds

Clara Honsinger
Photo: Col Elmore

Sofia Gomez Villafane (Pivot Maxxis pb Stan’s DNA Cycling) set the early pace in the Elite Women’s C2 race on Saturday, with Katie Clouse (Alpha Bicycle Co.- Groove Subaru), Sunny Gilbert (Van Dessel Factory Team), Sarah Sturm (Specialized/ Ten Speed Hero), and Honsinger close behind.

Towards the end of the first lap, a large crash in the field took Caroline Mani (Van Dessel Factory Team) out of the race. Up front, Villafane maintained a slim three-second edge over Honsinger, whilst Gilbert had dropped back another 10 seconds, and Clouse held fourth position.

On lap four of seven Honsinger took the lead and slowly started extending the margin, and with one lap remaining was 26 seconds in front. In the end, she finished solo for the win in 46:19.

Villafane battled with Gilbert for the podium, but with two to go she faded to third, and Gilbert moved into second place. Gilbert finished 34 seconds behind the leader, with Villafane finishing in third, a further 12 seconds behind. Clouse followed 13 seconds later for a solid fourth-place finish

“Oh man, it was hot,” said 21-year-old Honsinger. “It’s higher elevation, and at the end of a long block (of racing). Coming from the gun, I was just trying to monitor the effort. But it paid off.”

Hecht dominant from the start

US Open CX
Photo: Col Elmore

In the men’s race Hecht, Eric Brunner (Full Cycle Cyclocross Team), Lance Haidet (Donnelly Sports) and Cody Kaiser (LangeTwins / Specialized) surged to the front of the 47-rider field soon after the holeshot.

Hecht soon pushed the pace and created a gap to the chasers by lap three of 11, and by lap five, he had taken 13 seconds over Haidet, and a 21 seconds over Brunner.

Hecht held his lead through the race, and the 20-year-old went on to win his first ProCX title of the season in a time of 01:05:07. Behind, Haidet crossed the line 33 seconds after the leader, whilst Brunner came in 20 seconds behind him. Kaiser held on for fourth.

“It was really fun.  I like having some open roads in front of me,” said Hecht. “It was a good day and I’m really happy with it.

“There was really good competition out there. Lance (Haidet) was keeping me honest the entire race. Eric (Brunner) was with me the entire first three laps and really pushing me.”