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