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US Cyclocross Championships - CN

Providence, RI, USA, December 9-11, 2005

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Race 8 - December 10: U 23 Men,  

Complete live report

Commentary by Steve Medcroft

11:49 EST   
Good morning world. Our live coverage of the Liberty Mutual U.S. Cyclocross National Championships will get started shortly. We'll begin with the Elite men's U23 race which has been moved from noon to 1pm Eastern Standard U.S. time. The fifty-minute U23 race will be followed at 2pm by the forty-minute Junior men ELite (17-18 years old) and then at 3pm with the sixty-minute Elite men's race.

Course and weather conditions are dramatically different than the end-of-the-world snowstorm that caused promoters to postpone the last two races of the day (see Saturday's news item). Those postponed races were run this morning, causing the schedule changes and adjustments that delayed the U23 race.

Today, the skies are clear and the temperature is two degrees above freezing so the hard-packed snow that covered the course yesterday and froze overnight has been cut to apple sauce and kicked out of the rider's lanes so we're now seeing finisher's in the morning's races splattered in mud and desperate for dry clothing.

12:06 EST   
A handful of championship jerseys have already been handed out this weekend. Here's a summary:

Women 40-44, Audrey Huffman (Mad River Riders)
Women 45-49, Patti Kaufmann (Team Wisconsin)
Women 50-54, Tove Shere (team Ochsner)
Women 55+, Betty Jordan (Velo Bella)
Men 35-39, Shannon Skerritt (VANILLA BICYCLES)
Men 40-44, Dale Knapp (Kona)
Men 45-49, Steve Tilford (Verge/Shimano)

The awards for this morning's juniors, collegiate and Men 30-34 are happening in the next thirty minutes. We'll ring you those national champions shortly.

12:53 EST   
While the U23 men warm up on the sloppy course, here are the national champions from this morning's races:

Men, Brent Bookwalter
Women, Melodie Metzger
Omnium, Fort Lewis College

Junior Men:
10-12, Logan Owen
13-14, Benny Swedelberg
15-16, Alex Coelho

Junior Women:
10-12, Elizabeth White
13-14, Kaitlin Antonneua
15-16, Smantha Schneider
17-18, Arielle Filiberti

U23, Clara Beard
30-34, Maureen Bruno-Roy (Independent Fabrications)
35-39, Marianne Stover (Independent Fabrications)

Men 30-34, Justin Robinson (California Giant Strawberries/Specialized)

13:00 EST   
The men's U23 race is underway. The race started out on a long, gradual uphill and race favorites Jesse Anthony and Troy Wells are well placed at the head of the race.

13:04 EST   
Five riders have formed a lead group and split from the field in the first lap of a very technical and slippery course. Troy Wells and TIAA-CREF teammate Zach Grabowski are in the group. Jesse Anthony fell in the early going and is dangling off the lead group.

13:06 EST   
Grabowsky is the leader on the course now. Brent Bookwalter, who won the collegiate race earlier in the day, is following in second. Wells is still with them as well as Adam McGrath. Jesse Anthony, who has won six national championships in a row and is going for his seventh, has just pulled into the pits behind the lead group and is losing even more ground.

13:11 EST   
Heading into the second lap, Brent Bookwalter and Troy Wells are trading the lead about ten seconds ahead of third place. With three TIAA-CREF riders in the top five and Jesse Anthony dangling about thirty seconds off the lead in sixth place, the boys in blue have a advantage. Anthony is going to need to dig deep to bring back the leaders and still have anough energy to push ahead if he is going to win.

13:16 EST   
Bookwalter is being aggresive at the front of the race putting Wells on the rivet. He seems to be flowing thourgh the more technical sections of the course. Maybe racing this morning, in conditions similar to now, is an advantage to the collegiate national championship.

13:18 EST   
Just a note about the course. It's laid out in a corner of Roger Williams Park just south of Providence Rhode Island. The park covers 430 acres. Most of the course is contained within a ten-acre bowl with a frozen lake as a backdrop. The course weaves up and down through the terrain with plenty of off-camber turns, run-ups, barriers and even a series of stone steps.

13:19 EST    20minutes/30minutes to go
Wells is still chasing Bookwalter. His head is down and bobbing side to side as the riders past the start/finish line heading out for their third lap. Jesse Anthony has somehow pulled himself back into third on the course and looks powerful and comfortable on the road.

13:22 EST   
Wells, younger brother of former cyclocross national champion and MTB star Troy Wells, has slipped out front and is driving the pace and opening a gap. He needs to find a rhythm to keep the hard-charging Anthony at bay long enough to win the U23 national championship.

13:27 EST   
There are now three laps to go in the race. Wells looks like he's pushing beyond what he believed was his own strengths and staying away from Bookwalter. Anthony is still charging but the gaps remains open.

1 Troy Wells
2 Brent Bookwalter @ 7 seconds
3 Jesse Anthony @ 25 seconds

13:32 EST    32minutes/18minutes to go
Anthony is creeping up to the back wheel of Bookwalter, only eight seconds behind him now. If the two get together, it poses a more serious threat to Wells lead than if the three riders have to stick their faces in the wind alone.

13:36 EST    34minutes/16minutes to go
The front three have settled into their rhythms and the gaps are holding. Wells only needs to hold on for two more laps to take the national champonship. Even though he is pressing, Anthony is staying back at 20 seconds and still hasn't managed to close the gap on Bookwalter.

13:39 EST   
Anthony just ran around Brent Bookwalter on a steep run-up and is now second on the course.

13:42 EST   
Anthony is thirteen seconds behind Wells. Bookwalter is hanging to Anthony's wheel. Wells is holding on. When the riders come thorugh the start/finish (about four minutes from now), he'll have just one lap to go to pull of an incredible upset of a long-standing favorite.

13:43 EST    40minutes/10minutes to go
Anthony's making a strong push and is now at only ten seconds back.

13:45 EST    42minutes/8minutes to go
Wells is on the final lap and his gap, thirteen seconds over Jesse Anthony, is holding. Both riders are deep into their reserves; mouths open, shoulders rocking, pedal stroke complete square.

13:48 EST    46minutes/4minutes to go
Anthony is on fire in his chase of Troy Wells. Wells looks more ragged on the technical sections. The gap is down to five seconds and the pressure of having a six-time national champion seems to be wearing on Wells. He just needs to hold on for five more minutes.

13:49 EST    48minutes/2minutes to go
Bookwalter has settled into third place and just needs to finish the lap to claim his spot on the podium.

13:51 EST   
The gap is holding. Wells has made it through the more technical sections of the course is heading onto a long straight-away. The eight second gap he now holds may stick. But Anthony is not letting go; not for one moment.

13:53 EST   
Wells is in the final straight; 200 meters to go (uphill on pavement). Anthony is still five seconds back.

13:53 EST    50minutes/0minutes to go
Wells has done it!!!

13:54 EST   
Anthony, looking dejected (although he shouldn't have his head down after all he's accomplished in the sport as such a young man) comes across in second. Bokwalter held onto third.

14:03 EST   
Wow. What a finish to the U23 race. Wells was mobbed by photographers, media, well-wishers and teammates at the finish. We'll try to catch up with both Wells and Anthony for our post-race reports.

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