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Yannick Eckmann: new U.S. citizen, new U.S. national cyclocross champion

January 13, 2013
Yannick Eckmann, center, at the U23 'cross nationals line-up, behind teammate Cody Kaiser

Yannick Eckmann, center, at the U23 ‘cross nationals line-up, behind teammate Cody Kaiser

[updated 1/14/2013]

Yesterday Yannick Eckmann (California Giant Berry Farms / Specialized) won the event he’s been dreaming of racing all season.

Riders can only enter the U23 contest in the U.S. Cyclo-cross National Championships if they are U.S. citizens or members of the U.S. armed forces. Born in Germany, Eckmann gained U.S. citizenship last November, which allowed him to race U.S. ‘cross nationals for the first time this year.

2013 U23 start at Cyclo-Cross Nationals

2013 U23 start at Cyclo-Cross Nationals

He lined up in the second row of the U23 field and began the fifty minute race with what he later described as a bad start. “I didn’t want to be first right away, so I just slowed up, but I slowed up too much.” This put him midfield when the pack left the pavement for the gooey mud that lined much of the course and rapidly covered nearly every surface on the bike.

But he passed riders quickly, reaching the barriers over half-way through the first lap in the lead, with Skyler Trujillo (Boo Bicycles) close behind. Andrew Dillman (Bob’s Red Mill Cyclocross), Joshua Johnson (Indianapolis Cycling Club), Eckmann’s teammate Tobin Ortenblad, and two other riders who would soon drop back in position chased.

Yannick Eckmann's shoe spikes

Yannick Eckmann’s shoe spikes

In the second lap Eckmann consolidated his lead to about a minute’s distance to the second-placed rider Dillman. “I went hard the whole time, as hard as I could,” Eckmann said after the race. His effort increased his lead to about two minutes when he crossed the finish line.

As team staff rubbed mud off his face, he said, referring to his win, “It’s good to finally have it.”

The night before Eckmann and his father attached spikes to the toes of his shoes; they improved traction on the muddy, slippery hills when he needed to run the bike.

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From → Cyclocross

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