USA Criterium champions were crowned on day three of the USA Cycling Juniors, U23, Elite & Para Road National Championships. Shelley Olds (Diadora Pasta Zara), Robert Bush (Chipotle Development Team) and Coryn Rivera (Peanut Butter & Co. TWENTY 12) took home the Stars-and-Stripes in the day’s marquee contests on the four-corner course in beautiful downtown Augusta.
Before the day’s final race, rain clouds floated ominously and wind gusts swept through downtown Augusta. The women’s elite and under-23 riders were prepared to make 47 circuits of the 1.2-km course, but the race was shortened to no more than 20 laps due to weather. Olds, the defending criterium national champion, pulled away from the pack in the final stretch to win the women’s elite criterium.
With two laps remaining, Carmen Small (TIBCO/To The Top) built a small lead but just as the bell rang for one lap to go, rain began to slowly drizzle on the course. As the riders emerged around the final turn, Olds edged Theresa Cliff-Ryan (Colavita-Forno d’Asolo) at the finish line.
“When the announcers called 5 laps to go, the race got a little frantic and fast,” Olds explained. “I stayed in the front for the last laps, never more than five riders back; more so to be safe than anything. Coming through the last two turns, I was third wheel. Jen Purcell (Team Danbury Audi) jumped first with me on her wheel. Theresa Cliff-Ryan then opened her sprint on the left and I had to jump to match her. It was a match sprint to the line between the two of us and I was just able to edge her out at the line.”
“It feels really good to repeat the victory from last year. I am so proud to wear the Stars-and-Stripes and it will be an honor to wear them again for another year.”
Rivera, who claimed third place in the elite women’s race, won her 33rd USA Cycling national title as the winner of the women’s U23 contest.
“It feels good. I’ve won at least one per year and it’s good to continue that streak,” Rivera, who is USA Cycling’s most-decorated national championship rider, said. “I’m very proud and honored to win another national championship.”
Overcoming temperatures approaching 90 degrees, the men’s U23 race featured strategic games of cat and mouse as riders gauged each other’s strength. Bush, who won the omnium at the 2010 USA Cycling Collegiate Road National Championships. made his way into an early break that was bought back with three laps to go. Then it was every man for himself in a final dash to the finish.
“In the beginning I got into the breakaway, we rotated for a while, but I honestly was not super confident in that move. I wish I had another teammate up there with me. I soft-pedaled through to save my energy. The other guys were going hard, so they softened a little bit. Before long, I started feeling better and better. At the end, it was touch-and-go there with the field. My teammate, Jacob Rathe, attacked and drove a group of five away. I attacked that group with one to go and went as hard as I could to the finish.”
Luke Keough (MT Khakis) earned the silver medal ahead of Ty Magner (Team Type 1-Development), who took the bronze.
Late in the men’s elite race, USA Cycling’s Southwest Regional Development Camp Manager David Wenger (Super Squadra) made a move to the front of the peloton. He succeeded and found himself leading a two-man breakaway with Rahsaan Bahati (SKLZ/Pista Palace). With a half-lap remaining, Wenger attacked and narrowly edged a hard-charging Bahati.
“I wasn’t too concerned. It was a calculated risk in that you have to take a chance in some of these races,” Wenger explained. “I have one other teammate in Phil Wikoff (Super Squadra). We knew we were going to have to let some riders go up the road early in the race and race their own race. We’re going to race our own race staying at the back until about 15 laps to go I was back about 10 riders until then.”
The youngsters put out everything in the early morning racing with Olivia Lyons (Frazier Cycling) riding aggressively early in the 12-lap junior women’s 10-12 crit, but it was Veda Gerasimek (Young Medalists) emerging from a lead group of eight to earn her first Stars-and-Stripes. Orlando Racing Club’s Ann Weigel was second in the small bunch sprint earning the silver and Emilia Field (Nova Cycle Sports) finished third.
“Two years ago, I came to road nationals and got last in every race. I was so inexperienced,” said the 12-year-old Gerasimek. “Now I came and I just wanted it so bad and just joined a new team, Young Medalists, and I just wanted to be the first to get a gold medal.”
Displaying the depth of the 44-man 10-12 men’s field, nearly 25 riders were still in contention for the title with two laps remaining. Following in the footsteps of his older brother Grant, who won this event last year, Sean McElroy sprinted to the win and added a criterium title the road race win he earned on Wednesday. Hans Vandenberg (Velobrew Cycling) took the silver in a near dead heat with Adam Croft (James River Velo).
The women’s 13-14 race started out fast and ended up just as Wednesday’s road race with Skylar Schneider (Team TIBCO II) taking the gold. This time it came down to a two-woman near photo finish however with Schneider nipping Emma White (Capital Bicycle Racing Club) to earn her fourth national title.
“It means a lot for me to win another national title,” explained Schneider, who has lost only one national championship race entered. “I do a lot of training against women and then you come here and the juniors are just as good, so it’s a feat.”
Ethan Reynolds (BYRDS) rode his teammate’s wheel in the late phases of the junior men 13-14 criterium. With approximately a half-lap remaining in the race, Reynolds pulled around his teammate and used the momentum to cross the finish line ahead of silver-medalist Annan Hildebrand (Southern California Velo).
Sarah Huang (Nova Cycle Sports) made it a clean sweep as she collected her third gold in as many events by winning the junior women’s 15-16 criterium. Tara McCormick (Team TIBCO II) was second and Michelle Blake (Colavita Racing Inc.) third.
Eventual winner Daniel Parks (Chipotle Development) and Logan Owen (Hagens Berman) opened up a 15-second lead with seven laps to go. While Parks and Owen maintained their lead, Michael Dessau (Chipotle Development_ controlled the front of the chasing peloton. With three laps remaining, Parks attacked, leaving Owen behind. Parks secured the win and Dessau edged Owen, who placed third, in a field sprint for second place.
The women’s junior 17-18 field remained mostly intact throughout the 20-km race. Alexis Ryan (Team TIBCO II) won the bunch sprint ahead of Kayla Sterling (Rouse Bicycles) and Stephanie Cucaz (Frazier Cycling).
After dropping back from a break, Thomas Wrona (Hot Tubes Development Cycling) found himself working with John Piasta (All-Sport-Team Swift) in the final three laps in the junior men’s 17-18 race. Early in the last lap, Wrona pulled away from Piasta and held on to take the title. Piasta won the silver medal and Lucas Wardein (Orlando Road Club) took the bronze.
“I attacked on the first corner of the last lap,” Wrona said. “I just dove into it as fast as I could and sprinted to the finish on the back side and tried to hold through the line. I’m happy that I did.”
Racing continues at the USA Cycling Juniors, U23, Elite and Para Road Cycling National Championships Saturday with the para-cycling, junior men 15-16, junior women 17-18 and the men U23 road races at Fort Gordon.
Elite Women (Complete Results)
1. Shelley Olds (Gilroy, Calif./Diadora Pasta Zara) 34:29
2. Theresa Cliff-Ryan (Cedar Springs, Mich./Colavita-Forno d’Asolo) 34:29
3. Coryn Rivera (Tustin, Calif./Peanut Butter & Co. TWENTY 12) 34:29
4. Jennifer Purcell (Austin, Texas/Team Danbury Audi) 34:29
5. Samantha Schneider (West Allis, Wisc./WPT TIBCO to the Top) 34:29
Elite Men – 80 kilometers
1. David Wenger (Austin, Texas/Super Squadra) 1:53:40
2. Rahsaan Bahati (Los Angeles, Calif.) 1:53:40
3. Timothy Mitchell (Ashland, Mass./CCB Racing) 1:53:40
4. Jesse Moore (Sacramento, Calif./California Giant Berry Farms-Specialized) 1:53:40
5. Phil Wikoff (Austin, Texas/Super Squadra) 1:53:40
1. Coryn Rivera (Tustin, Calif./Peanut Butter & Co. TWENTY 12) 34:29
U23 Men – 60 kilometers
1. Robert Bush (Louisville, Ky./Chipotle Development Team) 1:23:20
2. Luke Keough (Sandwich, Mass./Mt Khakis) 1:23:20
3. Ty Magner (Athens, Ga./Team Type 1) 1:23:20
4. Eric Young (Bloomington, Ind./Bissell Pro Cycling) 1:23:20
5. Gavin Mannion (Dedham, Mass./Trek Livestrong U23) 1:23:20
Junior Women 17-18 – 20 kilometers
1. Alexis Ryan (Ventura, Calif./Team TIBCO II) 35:42
2. Kayla Sterling (Allen, Texas/Rouse Bicycles) 35:42
3. Stephanie Cucaz (Lawrenceville, Ga./Frazier Cycling) 35:43
4. Addyson Albershardt (Matthews, N.C./NOW and Novartis for MS) 35:43
5. Kaitlyn Lawrence (Emmaus, Pa./Genesee Valley Cycling Club) 35:43
Junior Men 17-18 – 50 kilometers
1. Thomas Wrona (Pinehurst, N.C./Hot Tubes Development Cycling) 1:14:16
2. John Piasta (Santa Rosa, Calif./All-Sport-Team Swift) 1:14:18
3. Lucas Wardein (Naples, Fla./Orlando Road Club) 1:14:20
4. Cory Williams (Los Angeles, Calif./Major Motion Cycling Club) 1:14:22
5. Colin Joyce (Pocatello, Idaho/Hot Tubes Development Cycling) 1:14:22
Junior Women 15-16 – 20 kilometers
1. Sarah Huang (Kenosha, Wisc./Nova Cycle Sports) 36:32
2. Tara McCormick (Long Beach, Calif./Team TIBCO II) 36:32
3. Michelle Blake (Orlando, Fla./Colavita Racing Inc.) 36:32
4. Laurel Rathbun (Monument, Colo./Chipotle Junior Development Team) 36:32
5. Corrie Osborne (Mequon, Wisc./Nova Cycle Sports) 36:32
Junior Men 15-16 – 25 kilometers
1. Daniel Parks (Dallas, Texas/Chipotle Junior Development Team) 35:01
2. Michael Dessau (Boulder, Colo./Chipotle Junior Development Team) 35:07
3. Logan Owen (Bremerton, Wash./Hagens Berman) 35:08
4. Miguel Bryon (Miami, Fla./Blue Star-Rosetti Development Team) 35:08
5. Alec Aldape (San Antonio, Texas/Bike World Racing) 35:08
Junior Women 13-14 – 20 kilometers
1. Skylar Schneider (West Allis, Wisc./Team TIBCO II) 36:50
2. Emma White (Delanson, N.Y./Capital Bicycle Racing) 36:50
3. Abigail Aldridge (Duluth, Ga./Frazier Cycling Juniors) 36:50
4. Marta Morris (Grand Junction, Colo./) 36:51
5. Hannah McDade (Tigard, Ore./Beaverton Bicycle Club) 36:52
Junior Men 13-14 – 20 kilometers
1. Ethan Reynolds (Boise, Idaho/BYRDS) 31:42
2. Annan Hildebrand (Fontana, Calif./Southern California Velo) 31:42
3. Adrien Costa (Los Altos, Calif./San Jose Bicycle Club) 31:43
4. Jonathan Brown (Covington, Tenn./TriStar Cycling Team) 31:43
5. Dominic Suozzi (Fountain Hills, Ariz./Strada Racing Club) 31:44
Junior Women 10-12 – 15 kilometers
1. Veda Gerasimek (Transfer, Pa./Young Medalists-Team Rothrock) 29:49
2. Ann Weigel (Clermont, Fla./Orlando Road Club) 29:49
3. Emilia Field (Lake Forest, Ill./Nova Cycle Sports Foundation) 29:49
4. Moriah Swan (Alpine, Calif./Strive Racing) 29:49
5. Mackenzie Collins (Clermont, Fla./Orlando Road Club) 29:51
Junior 10-12 Men – 15 kilometers
1. Sean McElroy (Palmdale, Calif.) 26:43
2. Hans Vandenberg (Saint Augustine, Fla./VeloBrew Cycling Club) 26:43
3. Adam Croft (Toano, Va./James River Velo Sport) 26:43
4. Matteo Jorgenson (Boise, Idaho/BYRDS) 26:44
5. Sandor Delgado (Hialeah, Fla./Team Cocos) 26:44