The US National team made up of 34 riders in the U23, Junior, and Women’s teams made their way to Europe to race in a total of 24 races throughout western Europe in April.
The U23 men put 2 riders in the top ten in their first race, the 2.2-rated Triptyque des Monts et Chateaux race in Belgium. Chris Barton used a 16th-place result in the ITT followed by a pair of finishes amongst the lead group to hold on to 5th place in GC. After a sixth-place finish in the event’s stage two individual time trial, Taylor Phinney pulled in at 9th place overall.
Lea Davison was the highest placed rider from the US National team at the Women’s Ronde van Vlaanderen on April 5th. The next race on the schedule was the Drentse 8 Van Dwingelo where Kacey Manderfield, in her first race in Europe, won the berg competition (aka climbers competition).
The 14 riders on the U23 team are Chris Barton (BMC Racing), Kirk Carlsen (Garmin Slipstream), Austin Carroll (BMC Racing), Guy East (Trek-Livestrong), Cole House (BMC Racing), Ben King (Trek-Livestrong), Chris Monteleone (Hincapie-Gary Fisher), Peter Salon (Garmin-Slipstream), Bjorn Selander (Trek-Livestrong), Taylor Shelden (Garmin-Slipstream), Kevin Soller (Waste Management), Peter Stetina (Garmin-Slipstream), Taylor Phinney (Trek-Livestrong) and Tejay Van Garderen (Rabobank).
The US National junior team, consisting of 17 & 18 year old riders, will also live at the national team headquarters throughout the month, racing in several local Belgium events as well as the four-day Ster Zuid van Limberg stage race in the Netherlands. The juniors are Alex Battles-Wood (Power Train), Nathan Brown (Hot Tubes), Lawson Craddock (Hot Tubes), Adam Leibovitz (Nuvo Cultural Trail), Connor O’Leary (FFKR Architechts-SportsBaseOnline) and Jacob Rathe (CMG Racing).
USA Cycling is also sending two separate women’s squads to Europe to compete in races throughout Belgium, the Netherlands and France. the first group consists of Kat Carroll (Tibco), Katheryn Curi-Mattis (Webcor), Lea Davison (Rocky Mountain-Maxxis), Kacey Manderfield (Lip Smackers), Kristin McGrath (ValueAct Capital), Jessica Phillips, Amber Rais (Tibco) and Ally Stacher (Kenda), The second women’s team includes Ashley Anderson (FCS Cycling), Ashley Dymond (Proman), Casey Gale (Metro Volkswagen), Lauren Hecht (Webcor-Alto Velo), Shannon Koch (Metro Volkswagen) and Amanda Miller (Lip Smackers).
The next races for the US National Teams are Circuit des Ardennaises on April 10-12 in the Netherlands, Tour of Flanders Espoirs on April 11, where Carroll will wear the #1 bib and Cote Picardie on April 15 for the U23 squad. The juniors will face their first challenge at the Ster Zuid van Limberg on April 10-13 in the Netherlands.
The women’s schedule includes two races in the Netherlands, Novilion Eurocup Ronde van Drenthe on April 11 in the Netherlands and Unive Ronde van Drenthe on April 13, and two Coupe de France races, Berry on April 12 and Pujols on April 13. (Complete schedule and rosters here)
Continuing on the racing in Europe, Paris-Roubaix is coming up on Sunday which is my favorite one-day race, the suffering of the riders as they battle the cobbles and each other is a thing of beauty. Indulge me for a second…
There will be 9 American and 1 Canadian riders on the start line: Stephen Cozza, Mike Friedman and Will Frischkorn of Garmin-Slipstream, George Hincapie and Mike Barry for Columbia-High Road and Jackson Stewart, Tony Cruz, Jeff Louder, Ian McKissick and Brent Bookwalter for the BMC team. Keeping the form after his Redlands win, Louder finished 10th at the 2.1-rated Circuit Cycliste Sarthe in France in his preparation for Roubaix.
Dominique Rollin (Cervelo Test team) will not be starting. After finishing 19th at Gent-Wevelgem, where he fell twice and started to weaken with 40 km to do, Rollin told sportcom.ca that he would not be starting Paris-Roubaix
“I didn’t eat enough during this long day and I started to feel the first sign of weakness at about 40 kilometers to go. Due to the cold, the rain and the wind with 50 km.hr gusts, the race was very intense. The wind forced us to always work and I forgot to eat. On a 200km race, it does not forgive.” said Rollin.
Politics… meh. Disappointed at not being invited to the Tour de Suisse, the BMC team which can field 8 Swiss riders including current Road Race Champion Markus Zberg and Tour de Suisse stage winner Alex Moos, blames politics on their non-invite. But the team did get invited to the Dauphiné Libéré.
“Behind the scene whispers indicate that the real reason for the refusal rests with a private feud which is on-going between IMG director Armin Meier and BMC Racing Team Sponsor Andy Rihs. Rihs had been openly invited to purchase a place in the race for his team. However Rihs vehemently rejected this unethical offer. ”
Scott Zwizanski of the Kelly Benefit Strategies is now leading the Vuelta of Uruguay after 8 stages. After winning the first four stages which put Reid Mumford in yellow, the squad has had a battle on its hands to defend.
They lost the jersey after stage 5 but regained it on stage 7, the time trial when Zwizanski set the fastest time on the 33.6-km course followed by Mumford at 1:24 back, which put the leader’s jersey back on Mumford shoulders. But only for one stage, as Zwizanski finished at 6 seconds from the stage winner to take over the lead with 59 seconds over his closest competitors with 2 two stages to go.
Finally, the Nature Valley Grand Prix women’s race is joining the men’s as an invitational in 2009. Both races filled in 2008, with teams being turned away. The men’s race had filled for the past five years, but this was a first for the women.
Applications are now open and can be found on the event web site under NVGP > Racer Technical Info. The application deadline is May 1 and invitations will be issued by May 8. The Nature Valley Grand Prix will be held June 10 – 14.