The Chipotle Development Team went 1-2 in the scorching hot USA U23 National Road Race Championships earlier today in Augusta, Georgia. Rob Squire and Jacob Rathe escaped a select front group with two laps to go and never looked back. Squire claimed the Stars & Stripes.
“I usually do pretty well in the heat,” Squire said. “I was hoping for it to be hot. I got the heat so we brought the pace.”
Evan Huffman (CalGiant) took a flyer from the front with one lap to go to take third.
All the categories on day four of the USA Championships raced on the 23.7-km rolling loop which offered very little shade as the temperatures inched up, hitting the 100 mark during the U23 race.
The seven-lap 168-km U23 race became quickly a race of attrition with the heat taking a major toll on the racers. Making it even worse neutral support ran out of water during the race. Two laps into the race, a group of 16 off the front swelled quickly to 25 and that was all she wrote for the rest of the field. The move included 5 Chipotle Development riders, 5 Trek-Livestrong riders, 3 CalGiant riders, and ones and twos from other teams.
A game of tactics in the break. At the start of the third lap, Friday’s U23 men’s criterium champion, Robert Bush (Chipotle) was away solo with a gap of about one minute until a mechanical issue slowed him down and he was reeled back in.
“My strategy was to try to get them to work against each other which kind of worked out, Rob Bush went off the front by himself, Trek-Livestrong chased and they ended up burning most of their guys. We caught him and there was a lot of attacking, people were tired, the group came down to 10 guys real quick, people were just getting dropped.” Huffman said.
The group was back together but not working well with many looking at both Trek-Livestrong and Chipotle to do the work. With three to go, attacks were flying and the lead group imploded leaving around 10 riders off the front. The group included Squire, Rathe and teammate Danny Summerhill, Gavin Mannion and Carter Jones (Trek-Livestrong) and Huffman, now solo.
With less than two laps to go, Squire and Rathe both attacked and escaped the select group.
“There was a group of about 8 guys and some people weren’t rolling through. It was obvious they were hurting and I attacked on the left and I looked over and Jacob Rathe was on the right and as soon as we hit that, we gave it. As soon as we were together, we both had the strength and we were fueled by each other and kept pushing it and pushing it.” Squire told USA Cycling.
With some riders sitting in and with Summerhill dis-organized what chase there was, the gap grew quickly to two minutes. With one lap to go, Huffman put in his solo flyer to take third.
“I think I did the best that I could, got the best result that I could hope for given the situation so I’m really happy with the way I rode. I gave it everything I had, I did the best I could do so I’m happy.” Huffman said about his race.
Two familiar names led the pack into the final lap on the 72-km Jr Women 17-18 race. Friday’s criterium champion, Alexis Ryan (Team TIBCO II), and Thursday’s time trial winner, Grace Alexander (BYRDS), were waiting to see who would make the first move. Alexander attacked first and Ryan sat on her wheel. Ryan waited for the right moment to come around Alexander and drill it into the wind and push it into finish.
“It feels so good. I almost started tearing up on the podium,” Ryan said. “This is the race I wanted to win. This is my crown jewel, I guess you could say. In order to go to Denmark for the worlds, I had to win this one because I got fifth in the time trial so this was it. I was looking to win.”
The winners of the U23 men’s and junior women’s 17-18 road races, Squire and Ryan, will receive automatic nominations to the 2011 squad representing the United States at the UCI Road World Championships in Copenhagen, Denmark, Sept. 21-25.
The USA Cycling Juniors, U23, Elite and Para Road Cycling National Championships conclude on Sunday with the junior 17-18 (96 kilometers) and elite men (168 kilometers ) as well as the U23 and elite women (120 kilometers) road races.
Top 5 U23 Men – 168 kilometers (Complete Results)
1. Rob Squire (Sandy, Utah./Chipotle Development Team) 4:07:19
2. Jacob Rathe (Portland, Ore./Chipotle Development Team) 4:07:19
3. Evan Huffman (Elk Grove, Calif./California Giant Berry Farms-Specialized) 4:10:03
4. Danny Summerhill (Centennial, Colo./Chipotle Development Team) 4:20:28
5. Joey Rosskopf (Decatur, Ga./Team Type 1) 4:10:28
Top 5 Junior Women 17-18 – 72 kilometers
1. Alexis Ryan (Ventura, Calif./Team TIBCO II) 2:16:49
2. Emily Shields (Salisbury, N.C./Carolina Masters-Painpathways Cycling) 2:16:50
3. Katherine Shields (Salisbury, N.C./Carolina Masters-Painpathways Cycling) 2:16:50
4. Grace Alexander (Boise, Idaho/BYRDS) 2:16:50
5. Annika Johannesen (Bend, Ore.) 2:16:51
Top 5 Junior Men 15-16 – 72 kilometers
1. Jake Silverberg (Pembroke, Fla./ZMotion) 1:52:41
2. Stephen Bassett (Knoxville, Tenn./Prochain Cycling) 1:53:14
3. Brandon Pruett (Silver Creek, Ga.) 1:53:15
4. Logan Owen (Bremerton, Wash./Chipotle Junior Development Team) 1:53:17
5. Michael Dessau (Boulder, Colo./Chipotle Junior Development Team) 1:53:17