Right after the juniors, it was the U23 men’s turn to take on the Zolder World Cup in what US U23 National Champion Danny Summehill called epic conditions.
“That was epic.” Summerhill said right after the race. Summerhill was the top American finishing in 13th. “Like I keep saying time and time again, this weather that we’re experiencing here in Belgium is nothing I have ever seen in the last six or seven years I’ve been racing this Christmas time series. It was just absolutely brutal, the ice, no one knew what tires to wear, I wore mud tires in the snow, they worked out alright but there’s still some ice so that no matter what tire you have, it’s not really going to be catching too much.”
The battle for the win came down to a 3-way fight between Belgian Wietse Bosmans, Dutch Tijmen Eising and Mathieu Boulo of France. Boulot quickly went to the front but was soon caught by the other two and then dropped. An ecstatic Bosmans took the win beating Eising in the final sprint. Boulot took third. World Cup leader Vincent Baestaens, of Belgium, finished 6th and remains in the lead.
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Following Summerhill were Zach McDonald in 17th doing his trademark wheelie over the finish line, Jerome Townsend in 31st and Cody Kaiser in 35th. Both Chris Hurst and Steve Fisher were one lap down.
After a third row start, Summerhill found his way into the top 20. “It’s hard to say but it’s almost a little bit easier starting from the back because you know you can only go forwards. Because the times that I started front row here and then watched hundreds of guys pass me and it’s so demoralizing but starting from third row and making it up to 13th, you feel a little bit better, starting back there and ending up there.”
Even though everyone was going down left and right, Summerhill managed to stay up most of the time in the beginning laps. “I wasn’t really counting where I was, I just assumed I was in the top 20 or 30 at the start but apparently I was higher than that but it was all a matter of attrition and staying upright. I managed to stay upright a lot at the beginning of the race.”
But not so much in the final. “Literally the last two laps where it really started to matter to get the top 10, I must have crashed at least four times and the last lap, three times within four minutes of each other and just let four guys pass me which was a real bummer because I thought I could have gotten top 10 but I got a couple of them back and managed to get 13th so got some UCI points and then some World Cup points too.”
One of the difficult sections was the backside by the church. “There was a lot of stuff out there just because it was a little bit more loose snow so you couldn’t really pick a line, there weren’t ruts, it was just all loose snow, you had no idea where the bike was going to go.”
But all in all, it was a good day. “It was nice to hear so many American voices and English voices cheering for me so that was definitely cool for sure.” And his name, Daniel Summerhill was even mentioned a couple of times by the race announcer. Pretty sweet.
U23 MEN (Complete results)
1. Wietse Bosmans (Belgium) 0:48:56
2. Tijmen Eising (Netherlands) st
3. Matthieu Boulo (France) +00:09
4. Elia Silvestri (Italy) +00:23
5. Lars Van Der Haar (Netherlands) +00:44
13. Daniel Summerhill (United States Of America) +01:53
17. Zach Mcdonald (United States Of America) +02:44
31. Jerome Townsend (United States Of America) +05:22
35. Cody Kaiser (United States Of America) +07:10
-1lap Chris Hurst (United States Of America)
-1lap Steve Fisher (United States Of America)