Team Maxxis-Shimano Completes Debut Cyclocross Season with Top-10 Finish at USA Cycling National Championships

Asheville, NC, provides fitting finale to the program’s first season.

The 2015-2016 Cyclocross Season came to a close this past weekend with the USA Cycling National Cyclocross Championships in Asheville, North Carolina. Yannick Eckmann led the team’s results, with an impressive 9th place in the Elite Men’s field. For Eckmann, the result was validation of a season of hard work and improvement. After a slow start to the ‘cross season, where he struggled to break the top-20, Eckmann worked to improve focus and condition in the later half of the season to prepare for the national championships.

With a second row starting position, Eckmann had to battle to get towards the front of the race, “I had a couple of small mishaps on the first lap, but after that I fought back strongly into the top 10.” As riders began to tire on the challenging course, Eckmann stayed focused and moved steadily through the field, “Towards the end I found a good rhythm again and just kept pushing forward and started to close some gaps to the riders in front of me,” Eckmann continued. The determination paid off, as Eckmann crossed the line in 9th, a standout performance for the rider against the best in the United States. Teammate Danny Summerhill finished just a handful of positions back, in 17th. In the women’s field, Erica Zaveta also claimed a solid 17th place, with teammate Cari Higgins further back, but showing great promise and progress as a first-year cyclocross racer at the top level of American competition.

“The support team was the deciding factor in today’s race. The equipment was flawless and I could focus on just racing” – Yannick Eckmann

The historic Biltmore Estate outside of Asheville provided a fitting venue for the championship race. The course was widely heralded as the most entertaining and challenging track ever seen in the USA, and with slick conditions, the terrain was a worthy battleground for the fierce competition.

The Maxxis-Shimano Professional Cyclocross Team was launched in September of 2015, by Momentum Sports Group, as a tool to promote the valuable team sponsors and partners involved with the program. In their first season of racing, the program earned consistently impressive results, including back-to-back wins by Danny Summerhill at the North Carolina Grand Prix of Cyclocross.

  • Danny Summerhill

    "My season highlight was winning back-to-back races at the North Carolina Grand Prix. Racing with a fully supported team made this season extra special!"

    Danny Summerhill
  • Erica Zaveta

    "Having my two Parlee bikes to race each day made a huge difference in my season. I could compete knowing that the bike and my equipment was totally dialed. The team's support really pushed my racing to the next level this year."

    Erica Zaveta
  • Cari Higgins

    "For a first year-team and a first-year cyclocross racer, I have been spoiled by the outstanding equipment and support. Having Parlee, Shimano, and Maxxis as sponsors for this team was incredible! And, for me, the mentorship from my teammates was the defining factor on making this year a success."

    Cari Higgins
  • Yannick Eckmann

    "My season highlight was racing into the top 10 at USA National Championships! I worked hard for it, but I couldn't have done it without the support of the team through the season."

    Yannick Eckmann

Coming Up Next!

For the riders of the Maxxis-Shimano Professional Cyclocross Team, attention now turns to the 2016 road racing season. Danny Summerhill and Cari Higgins will continue with the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team on the road, also owned and managed by Momentum Sports Group. Erica Zaveta and Yannick Eckmann will also race on the road in 2016, before hitting the dirt again in September for the start of the North American cyclocross season. To follow the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team on the road in 2016, click here.

Double Wins for Danny Summerhill at North Carolina GP of Cyclocross

The North Carolina Grand Prix of Cyclocross spanned two days over the past weekend in Hendersonville, NC. Revealing his great form coming into nationals, Danny Summerhill of the Maxxis Shimano Cyclocross Team won both days of the event after some tactical and hard fought racing.

In what proved to be dry conditions in North Carolina, the fast and open course at Jackson Park created unusual dynamics for cyclocross racing in the US. With little to break up the field, the front of the Elite Men’s race stayed together on Day 1. With both Yannick Eckmann and Summerhill representing Team Maxxis Shimano, the riders had a distinct advantage. As experienced road-racers in their own right, Summerhill and Eckmann worked strongly to control the moves and set Danny up for a strong finish, “Travis Liverman was a fierce competitor today. Without the help of Yannick, it would have been more difficult to come away with the win”
Danny Summerhill sprinted from the lead group to take the win, with Eckmann also sprinting to a very strong 4th place finish.

The second day of racing followed a similar playbook to the first, albeit with tired riders. For Summerhill, it was again a race of patience, “There was so much back and forth in the last lap. I thought I’d lost the race so many times in the last few corners, but I had just enough horsepower to overcome Liverman once again for the win.” The dual victories are testament to Summerhill’s combined road racing knowledge with smooth technical riding. He was once again helped onto the top step of the podium by teammate Eckmann, who rounded out the weekend’s racing with 5th place on Sunday.

“Hendersonville was a fun weekend for the whole team. The riders and mechanics are really clicking at this point in the season, and that made for smooth sailing both days” –  Danny Summerhill

The Elite Women’s race followed a similar story both days. The strong lead group got away early, and made Erica Zaveta chase for most of the race, “I was riding the technical parts well and able to put down good power, but I missed the lead group on both Saturday and Sunday” Stuck in no-man’s land, Zaveta worked hard alone for a strong 4th place on Saturday, and a fifth place on Sunday.


Coming Up Next!

For the riders of the Maxxis Shimano Cyclocross team, attention is now turning to Elite Cyclocross Nationals. With just over a month to go, the opportunity for the team to race in North Carolina was useful, as nationals will be held just down the road in Asheville.

Summerhill, with dual goals of cyclocross nationals and the road season in 2016 is currently putting in the miles to gain fitness, “It’s easy to train hard right now with the focus on nationals coming up. I’m really committed to doing well in Asheville, and I hope it sets me up well for the rest of the season”.

Zaveta is also in the middle of a hard bout of training, “My training load has been high but even so I can feel the power coming around.” As a local of North Carolina, the chance to race on home turf at a National Championship is an added incentive for Zaveta, ” Living in Brevard, only 40 minutes from the national course doesn’t hurt either!”

 

Danny Summerhill Takes Third at Derby City Cup

The USA Pro CX tour moved from Ohio to Kentucky this weekend, with the famous Derby City Cup. The course in Louisville gained fame after the 2013 World Championships were held at the Eva Bandman Park. The challenging terrain suited the Team Maxxis-Shimano riders well, with Danny Summerhill claiming a place on the podium on day two, and Erica Zaveta riding a successful and consistent race on Saturday to break into the top 10.

For Summerhill, it was a great feeling to be back at the head of the race, “From the start I stayed at the front covering Jeremy [Powers] and the Cannondale boys, and it was basically attack after attack all race long.” As the moves started flying towards the end of the race, Summerhill was perfectly positioned in the lead group. A small tangle with Raleigh-Clement rider Jamey Driscoll was enough for the lead to disappear, but Summerhill fought for the final position on the podium.

Summerhill was pleased with the race, and is looking forward to the second half of the season, “All in all it was a great weekend with some great new bikes to race on. I can’t wait to race again.”

For Erica Zaveta, racing in the top 10 of the UCI C1 event on Saturday was a huge confidence boost, “I like technical courses that have multiple lines to chose from, it makes for a more thoughtful approach.”

As in all cyclocross races, the start can determine the rest of the race, and Zaveta rode a flawless first lap to set up her strong finish, “I had a good start and kept myself away from the crash on the pavement start and the mud pit. I rode smooth and efficiently and worked my way closer to the front, finishing for 9th.”

In a race that weighed power and skill equally, the result is validation that Zaveta can race with the best in the US for the rest of the year.

“As the weeks go by the team gets tighter and even more dialed every time. This weekend was no different – the staff killed it for us both days” – Danny Summerhill

yannick

Yannick Eckmann, who joins Team Maxxis-Shimano as a mid-season addition, raced strongly on both days, and reacted well to his brand new Parlee Chebacco. The German born rider is now based in Boulder, Colorado, and will be racing the remaining Pro CX calendar building up to US National Championships in January.

See more photos here

Riders Gain Points at Pan-American Cyclocross Championships

Danny Summerhill in the top 10 at the UCI C1 Kings Cup

The USA Cycling Pro CX Calendar traveled to Cincinnati, Ohio this weekend for the classic Cincy3 weekend of racing. In addition to the UCI events, the Sunday races also served as the Pan-American Cyclocross Championships, an important opportunity for American riders to gain UCI points in a strong field. With two days of fierce racing, the competitors were exposed to challenging conditions rarely seen outside of Europe, with slick mud and treacherous off-camber sections. During Saturday’s UCI C1 race, Danny Summerhill held his own to finish in 9th position, a solid result against the strongest riders on the continent.

In the women’s field, Erica Zaveta was looking for redemption after a late race crash at Colorado’s US Open of Cyclocross two weekends ago. Having previously raced the Kings course in the dark, it was a change for Zaveta to see it in daylight, “It was different this year riding Kings course in the daytime! Kings is always a challenging course with punchy climbs and long grass sections.”

With the goal of moving into the UCI points, which extend to 15th place, Zaveta started conservatively, “I knew the course would pull you backwards if you went out too hard. My plan worked and I kept moving forward as the race went on, passing more people each lap to finish in 15th place.”

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The valuable UCI points, which are used to stage riders on the start line, will help ensure that Zaveta can be competitive for the rest of the season.

For Cari Higgins, in her first year of Pro Cyclocross, the European-style courses were a true challenge, “with a big overnight rain, Sunday’s course quickly became the most technical course on the pro cyclocross circuit. For this newbie, it pushed my limits of comfort, for sure.” Staying composed and focused, Higgins stayed in the race and moved up throughout. For Higgins, every race is a learning experience, “Each week I’m gaining skills and confidence when faced with new riding conditions. I finally feel like it’s all coming together.”

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Danny Summerhill came into the Cincinnati weekend with great form, but after finding himself in the lead group of Saturday’s UCI C1 event, a stroke of bad luck saw Summerhill a few seconds behind the leaders. On such a demanding course, the lead group was gone, but Summerhill fought his way back into the select chase group, and held onto a strong 9th place finish. In the strongest field in North America, 9th place and the UCI points that go with it will ensure Summerhill can maintain his front row starting position for the rest of the season.

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The Maxxis-Shimano Pro Cyclocross Team will travel to Louisville, Kentucky next weekend for another classic weekend of cyclocross at the Derby City Cup. The courses in Kentucky are known across the globe after hosting the Cyclocross World Championships in 2013, and have seen generations of stars take to the starting line.

Find out more about the Derby City Cup.

 

Photos: Dejan Smaic

Danny Summerhill Wins US Open of Cyclocross, Day 2

Summerhill proves form leading up to Pan-Am Championships with 2nd place on day 1, followed by Victory in Boulder

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Danny Summerhill turned the tables on his opposition on day 2 of the US Open of Cyclocross in Boulder, CO., this weekend. After a close-fought 2nd place result on Saturday, Summerhill took control on Sunday and rode at the front of the race to earn a confident win at Valmont Bike Park.

Lining up on the front row of the UCI C2-ranked event, Summerhill quickly took the lead and set a pace that few could match. On a course that tested technical skills and strength equally, Summerhill stayed at the front of the race, content to choose his own lines and make the pack follow.

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With two laps to go, the lead pack had been reduced to just four riders; the Raleigh-Clement duo of Jamey Driscoll, winner of day 1, and Fernando Paez, along with Allen Krughoff of the Noosa CX team. Not wanting the race to come to a bunch sprint, Summerhill upped the pace on the front. Driscoll was the only rider to follow. Coming into the last lap, Summerhill went to the front again, “I felt confident that if I could get through the stairs first there was almost no way Driscoll could come around by the finish, just due to the technical decent and corners leading into the finish.” Summerhill’s tactics paid off with a resounding win in front of a large crowd of spectators.

Summerhill was happy but exhausted after his win on home turf in Colorado, “It definitely took its toll on me by the end of Sunday, spending that much time at the front, but I think it was really a tactical decision towards the finish. It gave me the jump on Jamie. The day earlier I had a touch of bad luck a couple corners before the finish so it was nice to get some redemption today and also in a race I’ve finished 2nd at so many times!”

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In the women’s race, both Cari Higgins and Erica Zaveta had a weekend tinged with bad luck and crashes, but still had positive things to say about the experience and weekend of tough racing. “It was awesome racing in Boulder with so many friends on the sidelines,” said Higgins, a Colorado resident with many fans and friends in the area. There are plenty of people pleasantly surprised to see Higgins on the dirt following her success on the track and road, “I’m looking forward to learning more through this season and getting better on the technical sections.”
The USA Cycling Pro Cyclocross calendar continues on October 31st with the Cincy After Dark race in Mason, OH., followed by the Pan-American Cyclocross Championships in Covington, KY., on November 1st.

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