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2012 world champion Rebecca Gross adds a national title to her cyclocross resume

January 14, 2014

Rebecca Gross becomes the new women's 30 - 34 national champion, in Valmont Bike Park

Rebecca Gross becomes the new women’s 30 – 34 national champion, in Valmont Bike Park

Rebecca Gross (Raleigh-Clement) out-paced BethAnn Orton (Team S&M) and then held off a charging Rebecca Blatt (Van Dessel Sports) to win her first national cyclocross championship on Friday.

“Typically it’s a little nerve-wracking to be at the front of the race,” Gross said after her masters 30 – 34 victory. “So that wasn’t really my game plan but it worked out.”

Rebecca Blatt leaves the off-camber "Pete's Plunge" and heads to the Glades section of Valmont Bike Park

Rebecca Blatt leaves the off-camber “Pete’s Plunge” and heads to the Glades section of Valmont Bike Park

Gross joined the Raleigh-Clement team and traveled to more UCI races this season after riding previously with the Colorado-based Tough Girls. She’s a former masters cyclocross world champion, winner of the 30 – 34 category in Louisville in 2012. Friday provided an opportunity for her to honor that title with another championship result.

“I’m really stoked,” she said on Friday. “I think last year I was the only masters world champion who did not win their national championship – I had a little incident at the front, the very start of the race and bent my derailleur, which kind of kept me off pace the whole race. So I was really hoping for a good result today.”

BethAnn Orton leads in lap one on the 5280 stairs

BethAnn Orton leads in lap one on the 5280 stairs

From the start Gross kept an eye out for Orton and Blatt. The rutty course with icy patches played to Gross’ strengths as a mountain biker. This is her third full ‘cross season. Before racing in the U.S., Gross lived overseas as a member of the military service.

“I felt really strong yesterday. I was really excited about the course and I just kind of sat smart and watched what was going on,” she explained. “And then when I saw the opportunity –  I think I was riding a couple of the off-camber things a little bit stronger so I took it. I went with it.”

Blatt went for it as well. She passed Orton for second, leaving the latter with third place. Melinda McCutcheon (Canyon Bicycles – Shimano) and BrittLee Bowman (Connecticut Yankee BC) completed the five-deep podium with fourth and fifth.

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