Sprint finishes of all kinds highlighted the third day of the 2012 USA Cycling Elite, U23, Juniors & Paralympic Road National Championships as riders contested the criterium portion of the event on a six-corner course in Downtown Augusta, Ga. (Read replay of live updates for play by play of the races).
The six-corner criterium course in Downtown Augusta showcased the nation’s top sprinters featuring a varying amount of laps (depending on age group) around a 1.25-kilometer course with a maximum elevation gain of only three feet.
Elite and U23 Women. The day’s final contest pitted 39 of the country’s best racers for 50 kilometers against each other on a gorgeous, mild evening in Downtown Augusta. After different riders took turns pulling the pack around the course. Andrea Dvorak (Crozet, Va./Exergy Twenty12), who worked hard chasing down threatening moves throughout the race, led the group into the penultimate lap. Seventy-five meters before the sixth turn, Theresa Cliff-Ryan (Cedar Springs, Mich./Exergy Twenty12), a noted sprinter who finished second in the criterium at this event in 2011, kicked in a higher gear and held on through the finish line, narrowly edging Lauren Hall (Dolores, Colo./TIBCO to the Top), who earned the silver medal. Carmen Small (Durango, Colo./Team Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies) rode away with the bronze medal. The win marks Cliff-Ryan’s second national championship after she earned a national title in 2006.
“It’s great!” an excited Cliff-Ryan said. “I’ve got a national title under my belt. It feels great. The team did an awesome job of keeping me out of trouble, keeping the breaks in, so it would come down to a sprint. It’s great to finally get another one under my belt.”
Samantha Schneider (Milwaukee, Wisc./TIBCO to The Top), who placed fifth in the elite women’s race, was the top-finishing under-23 rider to earn the women’s U23 national championship.
U23 Men. The 125-rider U23 men’s criterium race ended with a valuable cycling lesson. Throughout the 60-kilometer contest different riders from the California Giant Berry Farms-Specialized rotated turns attacking the field, seemingly setting up the newly-minted 2012 USA Cycling U23 Men’s Time Trial National Champion Evan Huffman (Elk Grove, Calif./California Giant Berry Farms-Specialized) for a sprint finish. It wasn’t meant to be as the field answered each of those attacks, setting up a field sprint to the finish.
Luke Keough (Sandwich, Mass./Team Mountain Khakis p/b SmartStop) came around the final corner with a slight gap on the field, but Tyler Magner (Athens, Ga./BMC-Hincapie Sportswear Development Team) hadn’t given up. Remembering his third-place finish in this race in 2011, Magner drilled. Not realizing Magner’s proximity, Keough sat up and began his celebration prematurely as Magner sped around him barely beating him to the finish line to collect the first Stars-and-Stripes jersey of his career.
“Luke had a good gap on me,” Magner said. “I could tell that I was gaining on him. Luckily, he just sat up a little too early and I had just that much left to get him right at the end.”
Elite Men. The 80-kilometer elite men’s race came down to the last few laps. Adam Farabaugh (State College, Pa./XO Communications p/b Cisco-Battley Harley-Davidson) opened a 10-second lead as the race turned into its last lap. The 23-year-old Farabaugh, who hadn’t raced in the national championships since he was a junior rider, was not sure if he could hold his lead through the last lap so he buried his head, put the bike in a high gear and drilled it. Farabaugh was not aware of a sprinting Justin Williams (Thousand Oaks, Calif./CashCall Mortgage) narrowing his advantage. Farabaugh held on to earn his first national title while Williams finished second and Eric Marcotte (Scottsdale, Ariz./Elbowz Racing) earned the bronze medal.
Juniors Men 17-18. In the juniors men 17-18 race, 142 riders started the 50-kilometer race as afternoon turned into early evening. A late breakaway by Brendan Rhim (Norwich, Vt./Woodstock Bicycle Club-Killington Mountain School) stuck as he rode away with the national championship. Alex Darville (Santa Barbara, Calif./Hammer Nutrition-CMG Racing Team) broke away early, building a lead that approached 30 seconds. Eventually, the peloton chipped away at his advantage before he returned to the field. Different attempted breakaways were short-lived as the peloton refused to let anything get away until Rhim’s move with three laps remaining in the race. Darville finished second, narrowly edging Matt Schaupp (Watsonville, Calif./Ritte Elite U23 Development Team) for the silver medal.
Juniors Women 17-18. The 25-rider, 20-kilometer contest in the teeth of the Augusta heat featured list of riders of the up-and-coming American women. After several attempted breakaways were somehow answered by the peloton, a field sprint was going to the settle the race. After seeing the speed of her competition in the juniors women 17-18 field on display in Thursday’s time trial, Alexis Ryan (Ventura, Calif./Team TIBCO II) knew she had to start her sprint early. Her sprint worked as she edged the the time trial national champion, Addyson Albershardt (Matthews, N.C./NOW and Novartis for MS), and Grace Alexander (Boise, Idaho/BYRDS (Boise Young Rider Dev Squad)), who earned the silver and bronze medals, respectively.
“I came here to win,” Ryan said. “I knew it was going to be difficult because Addy (Albershardt) won the time trial yesterday and I knew a couple of the other girls wanted to win. I just played it smart. I came out of the last turn in first place and I just let my sprint go. I was hoping nobody came by me and noone did. It was great!”
Juniors Men 15-16. The 25-kilometer juniors men 15-16 criterium came down to a 25-rider sprint. Austin Vincent (Simsbury, Conn./C.F. Racing p/b Trek Portsmouth) held off the defending national champion Ethan Reynolds (Boise, Idaho/BYRDS (Boise Young Rider Dev Squad)), who finished third, and silver-medalist Philip O’Donnell (Suwanee, Ga./Hot Tubes Development Cycling Tubes).
Juniors Women 15-16. As the morning sun yielded to the afternoon heat, the 27 riders comprising the juniors women 15-16 field toed the line for their 20-kilometer criterium. The runner-up in Wednesday’s road race, who finished seventh in Thursday’s time trial, Laurel Rathbun (Monument, Colo./JETCycling), surged late in the finishing stretch to ascend to the top step of the podium and secure the national championship. Janelle Cole (Rockford, Mich./West Michigan Coast Riders) finished second while Kirsten Williams (Lone Tree, Colo./Natural Grocers Cycling Team) earned the bronze medal.
Juniors Men 13-14. Gage Hecht (Parker, Colo./International Christian Cycling), who won the road race on Wednesday and the time trial on Thursday, added the Stars-and-Stripes jersey for his criterium win on Friday, boosting his career total to eight national championships. Hecht moved to the front of the field late in the 20-kilometer contest and rode away won the gold medal, edging silver-medalist Mathew Ly (Fountain Valley, Calif./Tru Cycling) and Christopher Blevins (Durango, Colo./Durango Devo), who earned the bronze medal.
Juniors Women 13-14. Skylar Schneider (West Allis, Wisc./Team TIBCO II), whose older sister Samantha would later win the U23 women’s criterium, brought a second Stars-and Stripes jersey back to Wisconsin after winning the juniors women’s 13-14 criterium. After 20 kilometers of racing, Schneider, who won the road race on Wednesday, edged Julyn Aguila (El Paso, Texas/Major Motion Cycling Club) in a two-rider sprint to the finish line. Salma Huque (Douglasville, Ga./Junior Flyers) won a bunch sprint to win the bronze medal, two seconds behind Schneider and Aguila.
Juniors Men 10-12. In the day’s second criterium, local rider David Branyon (Gainesville, Ga./Frzier Cycling Juniors) won a bunch sprint to the finish line to win the 15-kilometer juniors men 10-12 criterium. Branyon, who has been racing his bike for less than a year collected his first national championship while Ben Clark (Portland, Ore.) won the silver. Adam Croft (Toano, Va./Slipstream-Craddock Junior Development), who won the previous two contests in this age group, finished third.
“I sat in the pack the whole time because I knew it was going to be very fast,” Branyon said. “In the end, I just went for the split.”
Juniors Women 10-12. Megan Doherty (Boise, Idaho/BYRDS (Boise Young Rider Dev Squad)) completed her sweep of the national championships by winning the juniors women’s 10-12 criterium. Doherty finished her 15-kilometer criterium 27 seconds faster than her closest competitor and teammate Abigail Youngwerth (Boise, Idaho/BYRDS (Boise Young Riders Dev Squad)). Katie Clouse (Park City, Utah/Cole Sport) earned her third medal of the week by finishing third on Friday.
The plan heading into the race was for Doherty to attack the field early. If the field was able to chase Doherty down, Youngwerth would counterattack. The field was unable to catch Doherty as she rode to victory.
Road Race. Saturday’s action begins at 8 a.m. with the paracycling road races on the Major Matthew P. Burke, M.D. Championship Course on Fort Gordon. Each age group contesting the long road race will complete varying numbers of laps (depending on age group) of a 23.7-kilometer course. The course features two climbs within the first eight kilometers of each lap. The second – steeper – of those two climbs gains 194 feet in a span of less than a mile. Following the para-cyclists (various distances) will start the day before the juniors men 15-16 (72 km) contest the course at 10:30 a.m., the juniors women 17-18 (72 km) follow them five minutes later. The U23 men (168 km) road race beginning at 1:30 p.m., closes the day’s action.
Elite Women – 50 kilometers
1. Theresa Cliff-Ryan (Cedar Springs, Mich./Exergy TWENTY12) 1:09:27
2. Lauren Hall (Dolores, Colo./UCI WPT: TIBCO to The Top) 1:09:27
3. Carmen Small (Durango, Colo./Team Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies) 1:09:29
4. Alison Powers (Pinecliffe, Colo./NOW and Novartis for MS) 1:09:31
5. Samantha Schneider (Milwaukee, Wisc./UCI WPT: TIBCO to The Top) 1:09:31
U23 Women – 50 kilometers
1. Samantha Schneider (Milwaukee, Wisc./UCI WPT: TIBCO to The Top) 1:09:31
Juniors Women 17-18 – 20 kilometers
1. Alexis Ryan (Ventura, Calif./Team TIBCO II) 0:31:32
2. Addyson Albershardt (Matthews, N.C./NOW and Novartis for MS) 0:31:32
3. Grace Alexander (Boise, Idaho/BYRDS (Boise Young Rider Dev Squad)) 0:31:32
4. Allison Arensman (Rutherford College, N.C./Pepper Palace/Spin-Tech Training) 0:31:32
5. Sarah Huang (Kenosha, Wisc./Exergy TWENTY12) 0:31:32
Juniors Women 15-16 – 20 kilometers
1. Laurel Rathbun (Monument, Colo./JETCycling) 0:30:23
2. Janelle Cole (Rockford, Mich./West Michigan Coast Riders) 0:30:23
3. Kirsten Williams (Lone Tree, Colo./Natural Grocers Cycling Team) 0:30:23
4. Danielle Mullis (Rochester, Mich./Wolverine Sports Club) 0:30:23
5. Payton Thomas (Grapevine, Texas/FCS Cycling) 0:30:23
Juniors Women 13-14 – 20 kilometers
1. Skylar Schneider (West Allis, Wisc./Team TIBCO II) 0:32:22
2. Julyn Aguila (El Paso, Texas/Major Motion Cycling Club) 0:32:22
3. Salma Huque (Douglasville, Ga./Junior Flyers) 0:32:24
4. Gina Johnson (Park Ridge, Ill./Village-Verdigris Cycling) 0:32:24
5. Ann Weigel (Clermont, Fla./Orlando Road Club Inc) 0:32:24
Juniors Women 10-12 – 15 kilometers
1. Megan Doherty (Boise, Idaho/BYRDS (Boise Young Rider Dev Squad) 0:23:39
2. Abigail Youngwerth (Boise, Idaho/BYRDS (Boise Young Rider Dev Squad)) 0:24:06
3. Katie Clouse (Park City, Utah/Cole Sport) 0:24:06
4. Isabella Brookshire (Hendersonville, N.C./DIY Junior Development Team p/b ABRC) 0:24:06
5. Sarah Swan (Alpine, Calif./Strive Racing) 0:24:06
Elite Men – 80 kilometers
1. Adam Farabaugh (State College, Pa./XO COMMUNICATIONS p/b CISCO) 1:43:22
2. Justin Williams (Thousand Oaks, Calif./CashCall Mortgage) 1:43:22
3. Eric Marcotte (Scottsdale, Ariz./Elbowz Racing) 1:43:22
4. Frank Travieso (Winterville, Ga./Team Coco’s/Team Cocos) 1:43:22
5. Colin Jaskiewicz (Montclair, N.J./Champion System p/b Stan’s NoTubes) 1:43:22
U23 Men – 60 kilometers
1. Tyler Magner (Athens, Ga./BMC/Hincapie Sportswear Development Team) 1:14:21
2. Luke Keough (Sandwich, Mass./Team Mountain Khakis p/b SmartStop) 1:14:21
3. Colton Barrett (North Saint Paul, Minn./UCI CT: Team Optum p/b Kelly Benefits) 1:14:21
4. Jesse Goodrich (Louisville, Colo./Juwi Solar Cycling) 1:14:21
5. Tanner Putt (Park City, Utah/BMC/Hincapie Sportswear Development Team) 1:14:21
Juniors Men 17-18 – 50 kilometers
1. Brendan Rhim (Norwich, Vt./Woodstock Bicycle Club-Killington Mountain School Cycling Team) 1:06:21
2. Alexandre Darville (Santa Barbara, Calif./Hammer Nutrition-CMG Racing Team) 1:06:21
3. Matt Schaupp (Watsonville, Calif./Ritte Elite U23 Development Team) 1:06:21
4. Michael Dessau (Boulder, Colo./Slipstream-Craddock Junior Development) 1:06:21
5. Geoffrey Curran (Tustin, Calif./Surf City Cyclery/STERLING BMW) 1:06:21
Juniors Men 15-16 – 25 kilometers
1. Austin Vincent (Simsbury, Conn./C.F. Racing p/b Trek Portsmouth) 0:31:53
2. Philip O’Donnell (Suwanee, Ga./Hot Tubes Development Cycling Tubes) 0:31:53
3. Ethan Reynolds (Boise, Idaho/BYRDS (Boise Young Rider Dev Squad)) 0:31:53
4. William Barta (Boise, Idaho/BYRDS (Boise Young Rider Dev Squad)) 0:31:53
5. Grayson Brookshire (Hendersonville, N.C./Chainheart Cycling Studio) 0:31:53
Juniors Men 13-14 – 20 kilometers
1. Gage Hecht (Parker, Colo./International Christian Cycling) 0:27:47
2. Mathew Ly (Fountain Valley, Calif./Tru Cycling) 0:27:47
3. Christopher Blevins (Durango, Colo./Durango Devo) 0:27:47
4. Alexander Dijkema (Lawrenceville, Ga./Frazier Cycling) 0:27:47
5. Sean McElroy (Palmdale, Calif./Team Specialized Racing Juniors) 0:27:47
Juniors Men 10-12 – 15 kilometers
1. Davis Branyon (Gainesville, Ga./Frazier Cycling Juniors) 0:23:47
2. Ben Clark (Portland, Ore.) 0:23:47
3. Adam Croft (Toano, Va./Slipstream-Craddock Junior Development) 0:23:47
4. Eduardo Cruz (San Diego, Calif./ACQUA AL 2-SDBC) 0:23:47
5. Michael Hemmerlin (Mesa, Ariz./Strada Racing Club) 0:23:47