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Colorado rider lineup in the 2014 cyclocross national championship elite races

January 3, 2014
For 2014 cyclocross nationals, Valmont's 5280 runup will be the "Bonk Breaker Heart Breaker"

For 2014 cyclocross nationals, Valmont’s 5280 runup will be the “Bonk Breaker Heart Breaker”

Read on for more local Colorado riders to watch when the cyclocross national championships comes to Boulder’s Valmont Bike Park in less than one week. This collection expands on the elite riders mentioned in the Elevation Outdoors guide to top talents and local heroes.

Men

In addition to Denver’s Danny Summerhill (K-Edge/Felt), Boulder resident Allen Krughoff (Raleigh-Clement) can contest for one of the five podium slots.

Allen Krughoff

Allen Krughoff

Krughoff became the new Colorado state champion two weeks ago. The state championship course in Castle Rock suited riders with all-around skills; the nationals course should as well, although it will run faster if it’s entirely dry. The Raleigh-Clement rider placed seventh at October’s Boulder Cup which took place in Valmont.

Also a Boulderite, Mitch Hoke (Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies) finished eighth at the 2013 Boulder Cup. Hoke’s ‘cross schedule this season hasn’t been as packed at Krughoff’s. But this tough and popular guy can’t be overlooked; in December he raced and finished in Bend’s sub-freezing temperatures and snow at the Deschutes Brewery Cup and he’ll benefit from a sizeable cheering section.

Steven Stefko was a regular solid performer at local 2013 elite races

Steven Stefko was a regular solid performer at local 2013 elite races

Additional strong local riders in the men’s elite field include Brady Kappius (Clif Bar) – watch for his fast start as well as Tim Allen’s (Feedback Sports), Evol Foods’ Spencer Powlison and Ken Benesh, and Chris Case (Boulder Cycle Sport). Based on registration at this time it appears Case’s teammate Pete Webber is dedicating his nationals efforts to the masters 40 – 44 race.

Fort Collins will be represented by First City Cycling Team’s Steven Stefko. Jake Wells (Stan’s NoTubes) and Troy Wells (Clif Bar) should put in good rides too.

Of special note is John Klish (Feedback Sports) from Grand Junction. Klish is deaf and this year won cycling gold in the Deaflympics.

Women

The Elevation Outdoors piece left out Luna Pro Team’s Georgia Gould because she was on a sabbatical from cyclocross racing.

Georgia Gould, the 2013 Colorado state cyclocross champion

Georgia Gould, the 2013 Colorado state cyclocross champion

But she surfaced to compete for the first time in three months at December’s state championships and won over a field including Meredith Miller (California Giant Berry Farms/Specialized) and Nicole Duke (Marin/Spy). She’s registered for this weekend’s two-day Altitude Adjustment ‘Cross event as well as nationals.

Gould’s freshness could supply a significant advantage; she’ll need it to overcome the disadvantage of a near-back-row starting position and the momentum of top-ranked in the world Katie Compton (Trek Cyclocross Collective). Gould has won at Valmont before, in the 2012 Boulder Cup.

Duke typically benefits from a more technical course. But she can pull out something special even when she doesn’t expect it. That includes third place in cyclocross nationals last year after a challenging up-and-down season which included a team change in November. Sketchy conditions at Valmont would highlight her bike handling skills and fearlessness.

Judy Freeman looks back for Kristin Weber in the final lap of the Feedback Cup

Judy Freeman looks back for Kristin Weber in the final lap of the Feedback Cup

Boulder’s Kristin Weber (Boulder Cycle Sport) will thrive if the course is messy. A dry, sunny day will stoke Raleigh-Clement’s Rebecca Gross. Crankbrothers Race Club rider Judy Freeman should be a podium threat as well as potentially teammate Chloe Woodruff; the latter isn’t listed as registered but indicated in October that she planned to race nationals. Also look for Denver resident Rebecca Blatt (Van Dessel) and Team Kappius’ Karen Hogan, who at 48 years-old can leave most of the field struggling behind her.

At least two Colorado juniors are entered in the women’s elite race: Laurel Rathbun (Exergy Twenty16) and Ksenia Lepikhina (Tokyo Joe’s).

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From → Cyclocross

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