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Day one of racing at Cincinnati UCI Cyclocross Weekend (Cincy CX) took place on a slick, muddy course, however, this didn’t stop both Ellen Noble (Trek Factory Racing CX) and Gage Hecht (Alpha Bicycle Co./Groove Subaru) from winning in dominant fashion.
Noble drops Nash to take the win
Noble took the holeshot, with only Katerina Nash (Clif ProTeam) able to follow. The pair remained close for two laps before the gap between them started growing and shrinking for the following two laps.
Behind, Kaitie Keough (Cannondale p/b CyclocrossWorld) separated herself from the rest of the field to lead a solitary chase. Four riders, Katie Clouse (Bicycle – Groove Subaru), Rebecca Fahringer (Kona Maxxis Shimano), Sofia Gomez Villafane (Pivot Maxxis pb Stan’s DNA Cycling), and Courtenay McFadden (Pivot-Maxxis pb Stans-DNA Cycling), followed behind.
Noble started building a lead on Nash thanks to a fault-free fifth lap. With half a lap remaining, she had built a 30-second lead.
Noble won the race in 49:13, with Nash 37 seconds behind. Keough finished third, nearly two minutes behind the winner. Gomez Villafane was able to get a gap on her group by the bell lap to finish fourth.
“I didn’t have a super crazy strategy today,” Noble said. “Sometimes I think I plan more than others but I was able to find my pedal immediately at the start and I noticed that I had a little bit of a gap and I wasn’t going to give that up. As a naturally strong starter, I let that play to my advantage.”
“I had a good start, sliding in second I think. Ellen [Noble] just rode away on the first lap, and I just wasn’t on that level today but trusting my process I guess and we have another day tomorrow,” Keough stated.
Road teammates take the one-two
Hecht took the holeshot, with Kerry Werner (Kona Maxxis Shimano), Lance Haidet (Donnelly Sports), and Stephen Hyde (Cannondale p/b CyclocrossWorld.com), on his wheel. Behind, many riders fell on the slick course.
By the end of the first lap, the front group had split down to Hecht, Haidet, Hyde, and Cooper Willsey (Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld.com). By the second lap, Hecht had separated himself from the quartet, with Haidet chasing solo.
Behind, the chase group shuffled and reshuffled, with third place switching back and forth between Werner, Tobin Ortenblad (Santa Cruz / Donkey Label Racing), Curtis White (Cannondale p/b cyclocrossworld.com), and Willsey.
Hecht held his lead to the end, finishing in 1:05:43, with Haidet 16 seconds behind. Werner, who holds the top step in Elite Men in the ProCX standings was third, 23 seconds down.
“[I’m] really excited,” Hecht said. “It’s my first C1 win, I’m pretty ecstatic about it, I don’t know what to say.”
“Lance [Haidet] was definitely keeping me on my toes,” the winner also said. “As you know from seeing him at Hartford a few years ago, he’s got some really good technical skills and he knows how to ride under pressure so he was definitely keeping me nervous all day but it was really good. It was good to have him out there today being on my road team and all.”