Ortenblad takes victory in Texas

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McFadden wins Resolution 'Cross Cup opener

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Werner prevails in wintry NCGP

Kerry Werner claimed the victory on a snowy, heavy Hendersonville course at the opening day of the North Carolina Grand Prix.

Werner topped Cooper Willsey (Cannondale/Cyclocrossworld) and Eric Thompson (Mspeedwax.com) in the C2 race.

A strong winter storm blanketed the region in nearly a foot of snow overnight, making for treacherous conditions getting to the race. But once there, the races went off smoothly even if riders were concerned about plowing through deep snow.

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"I was a little worried at first that it wouldn't be ridable," Werner said of the course. "But then I saw some of the amateur racers riding around and you could see mud, so that was a good sign. By the time we rode, after noon, it was fun. I ran super low pressure because the speeds were pretty slow today and also there wasn't anything to hit. We don't always get the opportunity to do that. I felt really good out there today on the tricky bits. Kind of my forte is the slip and slides."

In the mix with Werner were Thompson, Willsey, and a trio of regional riders, Travis Livermon (Maxxis/Shimano), Tristan Cowie and Merwin Davis (Cycle-Smart).

"Three laps in, I gapped Eric (Thompson) off the back, and Cooper (Willsey) was chasing for a few laps," Werner added. He would not only have his fourth ProCX win, but a 10th podium for the year. "I put an emphasis on hitting it hard in the power sections. I knew he (Willsey) was holding it together and wouldn't hit those sections super hard. So I built my gap and from there it was just trying to stay smooth, taking a bunch of bike changes and making sure there were no mechanicals were happening."

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West claims victory in snowy North Carolina GP

Temperatures had just creeped above the freezing mark and 12 inches of new, powdery white snow glistened throughout Jackson Park as Canadian Ruby West (Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld.com) won her third consecutive event on the USA Cycling Professional Cyclocross (ProCX) calendar on Saturday at the Hunter Subaru North Carolina Grand Prix (NCGP).

All racers faced some degree of tricky travel due to the snowfall that belted the Appalachian Mountains to reach Hendersonville, located just south of Asheville, and then faced muddy and slippery conditions on the course.

West would move to the front first and be the first in a long single-file procession to navigate the off camber sections. There would be lots of dismounting and remounting of bikes to complete a circuit.

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“I think the first half of the course I liked a little bit better. It was more about staying smooth and following your own lines,” the 18-year-old said about the race. “The second half was so much running and so miserable. I like running, and I think it is one of my strengths, but it was just so slippery and so muddy that there was almost no hope in moving there. I was making mistakes there every lap. So, I was just trying to minimize mistakes and get up fast when I fell.”

Among the contenders in the top six in early laps were North Carolina residents Lily Williams (Pony Shop CX Team) of Asheville, Hannah Arensman of Rutherford College and Emily Shields (Kens Bike Shop).

“It stayed pretty close together in the beginning,” said Williams, who would score her third podium of the ProCX season. She said the separation came on the back side of the course. “It had the off camber sections, the 'W', where it split with a high line and a low line, on the back side. A lot of people in front of me took the low line, which was slick. So I was able to make up some ground on the high line on the first lap. And then coming to the start/finish the first time, after the first lap, it kind of filtered out and that is where it stayed.”

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Van der Poel delivers another thrashing to men's field in Overijse

Mathieu van der Poel (Beobank-Corendon) crushed the competition once again, tackling a slippery, muddy course at the Druivencross Overijse with typical aplomb.

So dominant was the European champion's performance that he was already cleaning off the thick layer of mud that had enveloped him over the hour-long race as he watched Corne van Kessel (Telenet-Fidea) out-sprint Tom Meeusen (Beobank-Corendon) for second place.

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Van der Poel wasted no time, sprinting off the line with US champion Stephen Hyde (Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld) on his wheel. Hyde would lose ground over the course of the first lap, while the Dutchman carved out an ever-growing gap on his rivals.

In the absence of world champion Wout Van Aert, the rest were left fighting for scraps.

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Peeters solos to victory in Druivencross

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Tulett prevails in Overijse

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Ferrand-Prevot solos to Vlaamse Druivencross victory

In her second race back after a two-year break from cyclo-cross, Pauline Ferrand-Prevot (Canyon-SRAM) returned to the top step of the podium with a solo victory at an extremely muddy Vlaamse Druivencross. World Champion Sanne Cant (Beobank-Corendon), who was victorious in Essen on Saturday, chased hard to catch and pass Lucinda Brand (Team Sunweb) for second place with the latter coming home in third place.

It was a thoroughly muddy affair for the women on the technical, hilly course in Overijse. Ellen Noble (Aspire Racing) got off to a quick start but she would eventually be distanced as an elite group of five forged clear. Ferrand-Prevot, Brand, Cant, Katie Compton (Trek) and Nikki Brammeier (Boels Dolmans), managed the course best early on and built a key advantage.

The conditions made for a race of attrition and Sophie de Boer called it quits midway through, after finishing in the top 10 the day before. It was Brand that appeared to have the handle of things, despite some small errors. The Dutch rider dropped all of her rivals, but Ferrand-Prevot kept her close and was able to pass her when she went into the pits for a new bike.

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After passing Brand, Ferrand-Prevot didn’t look back and she pulled out an advantage that would allow her to avoid taking big risks in the closing lap. Behind her, Brand had a few heart-stopping moments. She came off her bike on a steep descent, losing control in the mud, which allowed Cant to close the gap to her. She tried to attack Cant but crashed again when she caught a course-side barrier.

In the end, Cant had the power on the climbs and the confidence on the descents, allowing her to ease out a gap to take second place behind Ferrand-Prevot.

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Van der Poel solos to victory in Essen

Mathieu van der Poel (Beobank-Corendon) continued his utter domination of the cyclo-cross season, soloing away from a shattered field in the mud of Essen.

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The Dutchman topped Laurens Sweeck (ERA-Circus) and Toon Aerts (Telenet-Fidea) to extend his lead in the series.

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Cant dominates in Essen

Sanne Cant (Beobank-Corendon) put in a commanding performance in the DVV Verzekeringen Trofee in Essen, keeping the lead nearly from start to finish on a heavy, muddy course to take out the victory over Nikki Brammeier (Boels Dolmans).

Cant took an early lead, but was soon joined by Brammeier and 19-year-old Dutchwoman Ceylin de Carmen. De Carmen could not hold the pace of the British champion and world champion, and faded back into the chasing group.

Behind, Katie Compton (Trek) avoided a stack-up involving series rival Helen Wyman (Kona), and made her way up to the leading duo.

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Cant, Compton and Brammeier traded blows until the penultimate lap, when a mistake from Compton set her back. She never rejoined the duo ahead.

Cant powered away from Brammeier on the final lap to win by nine seconds in the timed series, with Compton third at 25 seconds.

Former cyclo-cross world champion Pauline Ferrand-Prevot (Canyon-SRAM) made her return to the sport, riding from the back of the grid through almost the entire field to take fourth.

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Iserbyt wins U23 race in Essen

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Bellens tops juniors race in Essen

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NBX GP Day 2: Victory for Justin Lindine

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NBX GP Day 2: Clean sweep for Ruby West

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Day 2 Ruts N Guts win for Mani

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