Three American youngsters in top 20 at Cyclo-cross Worlds

  
  


Zach McDonald (Bainbridge Island, Wash./Team Rapha-Focus) gave the U.S. its top finish with a 12th-place result in the U23 men’s event on the opening day of  the 2012 UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships in Koksijde, Belgium on Saturday. Two American juniors, Andrew Dillman (Fairdale, Ky./Bob's Red Mill) and Logan Owen (Bremerton, Wash./Team Redline) also landed inside the top 20 to contribute to a respectable American showing on the sandy Koksijde course.
 
Zach McDonald rides one of several sandy descents in front of the hearty Koksijde crowd.
Zach McDonald rides one of several sandy descents in front of the hearty Koksijde crowd.

U23 Men
The damp, cold day did not stop the crowds from lining the course nearly 20-deep for the day’s premier contest.
A 12th place finish in the U23 Cyclo-cross World Cup series earned McDonald a second row call up, but a rough start dropped him into the field as far back as 30th. The USA Cycling U23 National Champion however showed his strength, picking off rider-after-rider and surging back into 12th place. Finishing only 1:48 back, the 21 year-old McDonald showed his progress, improving on his 23rd place result from a year ago.
 
Twenty year-old Cody Kaiser (El Dorado Hills, Calif./California Giant Berry Farms-Specialized) finished one lap behind the winners in 38th for the U.S.
 
Local Dutchman Lars Van der Haar (NED), who won the elite men’s event at last fall’s Cross Vegas, earned his second consecutive world title in 49:20 with Belgium’s Wietse Bosmans and Michiel Van der Heijden of the Netherlands on his heels.   
 
Junior Men
The U.S. team was looking to capitalize on its best starting position ever in the junior men’s event. Things looked good early on with four your Americans in the top 20, but the challenging, sandy inclines took their toll soon separating the youngsters.
 
Andrew Dillman passes in the sand pit on his was to 14th place in the junior men's contest.
Andrew Dillman passes in the sand pit on his was to 14th place in the junior men's contest.

Dillman, the USICX junior series winner, tackled the loose course with tenacity, moving into 14th place and giving the U.S. its best result since Luke Keough finished 10th in the junior men’s event in 2008. Just behind Dillman, seven-time junior cyclo-cross national champion Owen finished in 17th, 3:15 back from Mathieu Van Der Poel’s (NED) winning time of 43:36.
 
After battling in the top 20 in the early going Curtis White (Delanson, N.Y./Clif Bar Development Cyclo Cross Team) faded into 34th, 5:45 back and Tobin Ortenblad (Santa Cruz, Calif./California Giant Berry Farms-Specialized) finished in 48th. Battling a series of mishaps, Richard Cypress Gorry (Payson, Ariz./Whole Athlete-Specialized) ended in 55th place.
 
“For the first time in history we had four juniors start on the third row and that’s about the best we’re going to get without having them all do the World Cups,” explained Geoff Proctor, a cyclo-cross development coach for USA Cycling. “Holistically we accomplished our goals. Worlds is like no other race, especially with this year’s unique course, and these boys gained the valuable experience they will need going forward.”  
 
Sunday’s Elite Contests
 
The 2012 UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships will continue Sunday, Jan. 29 with the elite women’s and men’s races. American Katie Compton (Colorado Springs, Colo./Rabobank-Giant) will aim to gather the first-ever cyclo-cross world title for the U.S. after finishing third in this season’s World Cup rankings. Viewers can watch live, online at UniversalSports.com. The women’s race will begin at 5 a.m. and the men at 9 a.m. EST.
 
 
2012 UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships
Koksijde, Belgium
January 28-29, 2012
 
FULL RESULTS
 
PHOTOS  
 
U23 Men
1. Lars Van der Haar (NED)  0:49:20
2. Wietse Bosmans (BEL) +00:01
3. Michiel Van der Heijden (NED)  +00:04
 
12. Zach McDonald (Bainbridge Island, Wash./Team Rapha-Focus) +1:48
38. Cody Kaiser (El Dorado Hills, Calif./California Giant Berry Farms-Specialized) -1 lap
 
Junior Men
1. Mathieu Van Der Poel (NED)  0:43:36
2. Wout Van Aert (BEL)  +00:08
3. Quentin Jauregui (FRA)  +00:21
 
14. Andrew Dillman (Fairdale, Ky./Bob's Red Mill) +3:08
17. Logan Owen (Bremerton, Wash./Team Redline) +3:15
34. Curtis White (Delanson, N.Y./Clif Bar Development Cyclo Cross Team) +5:45
48. Tobin Ortenblad (Santa Cruz, Calif./California Giant Berry Farms-Specialized) -1 lap
55. Richard Cypress Gorry (Payson, Ariz./Whole Athlete-Specialized) -3 laps
 

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