Emerging from a late race break, Robin Farina (NOW & Novartis) outsprinted her breakmates to win the USA National Road Championships to close out the USA Cycling Juniors, U23, Elite & Para Road National Championships in scorching hot Augusta, Georgia.
Also on Sunday, Alexey Vermeulen (Prochain) won the Men Jr 17.18 title and and Max Korus (BikeReg.com-Cannondale), the Elite Men.
As the winners of the elite women’s and junior men’s 17-18 races, Farina and Vermeulen will receive an automatic nomination to the 2011 squad to represent the United States at the UCI Road World Championships in Copenhagen, Denmark, September 21-25.
The marquee event of the day was the women’s elite road race and it came down to a photo finish. In the early stages of the 120-kilometer race, Alison Starnes (Peanut Butter & Co. TWENTY 12) went on an early break with Jennifer Wheeler (Team TIBCO to the Top II) and Kasey Clark (Primal MapMyRider). The trio opened a lead that grew as large as three minutes with three laps remaining. Anna McLoon (Missing Link Coaching Systems) bridged to the lead group before those four riders were absorbed back into the peloton.
Late in the last lap, a five-rider break broke away and held on to the finish. Joining Farina in the move were Amanda Miller (HTC-Highroad), Kathleen Billington (Danbury Audi), 2009 National Road Champion Meredith Miller (TIBCO/To The Top) and Andrea Dvorak (Colavita/Forno d’Asolo). Farina won the sprint, edging Dvorak by a wheel. A. Miller took third.
“I knew I had to be patient,” Farina said. “I knew this was going to be a race of attrition, especially today with it being so hot. So I just wanted to wait and let some early moves go and just follow a couple certain people. It just happened to pan out today.”
Finishing tenth, Samantha Schneider (Team TIBCO to the Top) adds the U23 National Road Champion to her list of titles.
In the men’s junior 17-18 road race, Vermeulen broke away with Colin Joyce (Hot Tubes Development Team) from the pack with 16 of the 96-km race remaining. The two stayed away to duel for the Stars & Stripes won by Vermeulen, for his first national title. Gregory Daniel (Chipotle Junior Development Team) won the field sprint for third place.
“The team was unreal. They were working and chasing stuff down. Apparently, my teammate Andrew Dillman just chased everything down. It allowed Colin and I to get away. From there, it was up to me.” Vermeulen said.
In the hottest part of the day, with the temperatures crossing the 100 mark, five riders broke away from the large 219-rider men’s elite field at the start of the second lap. The group, now up to nine riders, managed to build up a gap of one minute by the fourth lap before being reeled in a lap later. With two laps to go, a 15-ride break powered away, building a 30-second lead.
“With two laps to go, we knew it was time to be attentive so as a team we moved up, working for our protected rider Alister Ratcliff . I just happened to cover the lucky move. I tried to sit on as much as possible until it was clear it was the move.” Korus said.
That was the move of the day. With one lap to go, an isolated Jesse Moore (CalGiant) attacked on the three short climbs that pepper the start of the 23.7-km loop.
“I started putting pressure on people on all those bumps because a lot of guys were trying to sit on, so I just kept on trying to split it apart, and the field started getting closer.” Moore said. His attack brought out four other riders.
The five worked together to keep the field at bay, all rotating through until the final kilometer.
“We saw 50 seconds gap at 1 km to go and people started to sit on and play cat and mouse, sit up and waiting to see who was going to lead out the sprint. ” Korus said. “Almost a slow-pace sprint at the base of the climb with Jesse Moore ultimately getting a good gap, I saw him going and ended up on his wheel.”
Moore made the first move on the uphill section which dropped everyone but Korus who was able to stick to his wheel. On the last flat 500 meters, Korus took the front and opened a small gap which he was able to hold to the finish.
“I felt good. felt that I was on top of the gear, I felt like that there was nothing more I could have done. I’m thankful it turned out to be enough, he’s a great rider, I wasn’t sure I had enough to come around him.” said Korus, who has only been racing for two years.
“I was coming on him real fast but he had too much of a gap. It was tailwind sprint and I couldn’t draft, I needed 30 more meters. It was an exciting finish.” Moore added.
Top 5 Elite Women – 120 kilometers (Complete Results)
1. Robin Farina (NOW and Novartis) 3:16:34
2. Andrea Dvorak (Colavita-Forno d’Asolo) 3:16:34
3. Amanda Miller (HTC Highroad Women) 3:16:34
4. Kathleen Billington (Team Danbury Audi) 3:16:39
5. Meredith Miller (Team TIBCO to the Top) 3:16:41
U23 Women – 120 kilometers
1. Samantha Schneider (Team TIBCO to the Top) 3:16:55
Top 5 Elite Men – 168 kilometers
1. Max Korus (BikeReg.com-Cannondale) 4:04:08
2. Jesse Moore (California Giant Cycling) 4:04:08
3. Timothy Rugg (Battley Harley Davidson-XO Comm) 4:04:16
4. Greg Krause (Groove Subaru) 4:04:18
5. Austin Roach (Press Forward Cycling) 4:04:24
Top 5 Junior Men 17-18 – 96 kilometers
1. Alexey Vermeulen (Prochain) 2:19:20
2. Colin Joyce (Hot Tubes Cycling Team) 2:19:20
3. Gregory Daniel (Chipotle Junior Development Team) 2:19:32
4. Paul Lynch (Hot Tubes Cycling Team) 2:19:32
5. Ben Bertiger (Major Motion Cycling Club) 2:19:32