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Westhampton’s Ellen Noble finishes 2nd at U23 cyclocross world championships

  • Westhampton's Ellen Noble races at the 2017 UCI Cyclocross World Championships in Bieles, Luxemborg, on Saturday. She finished second in the U23 women's race, the USA's best finish at the cyclocross world championships in any event since 2013. —Courtesy Molly Hurford

  • Westhampton's Ellen Noble races at the 2017 UCI Cyclocross World Championships in Bieles, Luxemborg, on Saturday. She finished second in the U23 women's race, the USA's best finish at the cyclocross world championships in any event since 2013. —Courtesy Molly Hurford

  • Westhampton's Ellen Noble races at the 2017 UCI Cyclocross World Championships in Bieles, Luxemborg, on Saturday. She finished second in the U23 women's race, the USA's best finish at the cyclocross world championships in any event since 2013. —Courtesy Molly Hurford

  • Westhampton's Ellen Noble races at the 2017 UCI Cyclocross World Championships in Bieles, Luxemborg, on Saturday. She finished second in the U23 women's race, the USA's best finish at the cyclocross world championships in any event since 2013. —Courtesy Molly Hurford



@kylegrbwsk
Sunday, January 29, 2017

Ellen Noble bought a silver dress in Spain before heading to Luxemborg for the cyclocross world championships.

She claimed a silver medal to match it.

The Westhampton resident took second in the women’s U23 race Saturday in Bieles, Luxemborg.

She finished 10 seconds behind Annemarie Worst of the Netherlands.

“Being on the podium as absolutely amazing,” Noble said. “I’m so excited.”

Noble, who took sixth last year in the inaugural U23 race, led by four seconds at the beginning of the final lap in muddy, sloppy conditions.

“It was crazy. It was quite an exciting day because the course conditions were changing every hour,” Noble said. “We didn’t know what we were going to be racing when we lined up.”

About halfway through the last lap, she powered through a descent and overran the corner afterward. Worst rode through cleanly and claimed the lead for good and the winners’ rainbow jersey.

“Some people thought I would be disappointed because I was in the lead on the last lap. My goal was to be on the podium. I didn’t leave a lot of room for disappointment,” Noble said. “I’d achieved the biggest goal of my career so far. I didn’t want to feel unhappy because I didn’t win.”

This is the USA’s first medal at a cyclocross world championships since 2013, when Katie Compton took silver on home soil in Louisville, Kentucky.

Kelly Matthew won gold in the men’s junior race in 1999, the only title ever for the U.S. in the discipline.

This was Noble’s final race at the U23 level. She’ll age up to the elite category next season after winning three straight national championships.

Her season ended with the world championships. She’ll take a break before a training session in Spain and will resume racing around May.

Hyde breaks top-20

Easthampton’s Stephen Hyde paced the American men in the elite field, finishing 18th in 1:07:49. He improved his placing from last year, when he was 23rd.

Hyde dealt with four flat tires throughout the race.

“I think I rode across the (finish) line with a flat,” he said. “There was a lot of changing conditions. It didn’t leave me with much preparation.”

Hyde was aiming for a higher finish in the 12th to 14th range but accepted the result. 

“You can only come back fromso many flats,” he said. “I’m totally happy with that (race).”

He still has three more races in Europe this week before he’ll take a vacation and do some traveling before resuming racing on mountain and road bikes.

Belgium’s Wout Van Aert repeated as world champion, finishing the course in 1:02:08. 

Jeremy Powers, also from Easthampton, took 32nd. He battled a head cold, getting caught in a crash and a flat tire caused by rocks on the course revealed under the mud.

“Bad luck, I tried to turn it. It was a race of attrition, dudes falling left and right,” Powers said. “I’m surprisingly happy with (the finish).”

Powers has one more race on his season calendar: Cyclocross Tokyo in two weeks.

“It’s more of an exhibition race than a title race,” Powers said. “It’s in a part of the world that is exciting for cyclocross and the growth of the sport.”

Westhampton’s Jeremy Durrin finished 59th. 

Kyle Grabowski can be reached at kgrabowski@gazettenet.com.