The North American season has long finished, so we are revisiting the five North American (really just American) riders we picked to watch this season. If we look strictly at the end of the season (US Nationals) you will see that these riders were the top five finishers. However, each rider took a different path to get there and had varying amounts of success.
Here’s a breakdown of our five riders to watch:
After an up and down 2018/19 season that was filled with injuries and bad luck, Hyde managed to capture another US National Championship in Louisville. For this season, we were curious to see how the three-time champion would rebound and go after a fourth-straight title. Hyde kicked off the season in Rochester, with a pair of podium places. However, in Iowa City, bad luck once again saw Hyde drop out of the race. Another paired down US schedule saw Hyde only win two races. The “curse” of a fourth-straight title struck again in Tacoma – both Jonathan Page and Jermey Powers won three titles back-to-back, but failed in their attempt at number four – but Hyde did finish on the podium in third. Once again, it just didn’t seem to be Hyde’s year, but he rallied with an impressive finish at nationals.
After a breakout season in 2018/19, White skipped the road season this year to focus solely on cross. That clearly paid off, as White instantly became a threat for the win in every race he started. In North America White picked up nine victories (including the first race of the season), and had another six podium appearances. White ended up as the top North American rider in the World Championships and UCI Rankings. He was often the top rider at most European races and the World Cups. With that said, he failed to pick up a jersey this year finishing second at both the Pan-American and US National Championships. However, White and Kerry Werner (more on him later) brought North American cross the dynamic battles that have been missing for years.
The first two UCI races of the season saw White and Werner swap first and second place. Little did we know that it was a trend that would continue all season. As we mentioned with White, the White versus Werner dynamic was, perhaps, the only narrative of the Elite Men’s season in North America. Werner picked up eight victories in North America and another five podium places. Including racing in Europe, White got the edge in the head-to-head. However, Werner left Canada the Pan-American Champion, giving him his first ever elite jersey. The most impressive part about Werner is he is the only (North American) elite man to race in Europe in February. For the second year in a row, he raced an entire season. Along with White, he will be the man to beat next season.
Hecht was a rider to watch after a solid 2018/19 season. The U23 rider mixed it up with the Elite Men, culminating with a third place at the US National Championships. Once again Hecht raced a full season on the road with the Aevolo team this year. Perhaps overshadowed by the White/Werner battle, Hecht got very little press during the North American season. Heading into the National Championships his lone victory came in the U23 race at the Pan-American Championships. With only five elite podium appearances, Hecht was a long shot at Nationals. After once again racing with the Elite Men, Hecht would leave Tacoma with the Elite National Championship after leading the race wire-to-wire. Despite some controversy (Google it ;p), it was an amazing performance from the young rider.
Haidet is on this list because he has shown steady progression over the years. As a first year Elite, we thought it would be interesting to see how the young rider would do. After a slow start, Haidet came on strong in October winning the US Open of Cyclocross Day 1 and finishing on the podium in four out of six races. After a somewhat disappointing Pan-American Championships, he came on strong finishing first and second at the Ruts n’ Guts weekend before finishing fifth (behind Werner) at Nationals.