DEVO: Gaining Experience…and Podiums
A local Dutch race, the Omloop van de Maasvallei covers a 115-kilometer course that features small, twisty roads, wind and two steep ascents from the Maas River Valley: the Snijdersberg, and the Maasberg, which is paved with 700 meters of cobblestones.
“The course and competition makes for very hard racing, with the 17-18 men typically pushing close to 2400kj on the day,” said USA Cycling’s Junior Coach Billy Innes.
The U.S. team had its share of ups and downs as they took part in the 150-man field. Ruben Saatijan (Santa Barbara, Calif./LUX Cycling) crashed out early in the race leaving the squad with five riders. Conor Schunk (Charlotte, N.C./Masters Cycling Systems LLC) suffered from a mechanical brought on in the neutral zone and had to deal with an uncooperative derailleur pulley all day.
Despite the adversity, the five American riders made the front group of 30 after the field was whittled down from repeated ascents of the two major climbs. With three laps remaining, Quinn made the final selection of eight and capped off the effort with a well-earned third place behind Junior Tour of Flanders winner Maikel Zijlaard (NED) and Junior Paris Roubaix runner-up Daan Hoole (NED).
“Racing on small roads with large fields enhances the skills needed to compete at the higher levels and cannot be replicated on USA’s large roads,” added Innes. “The depth of talent at this local race gives the team an opportunity to sink or swim. Learning while racing provides the work and confidence needed to be competitive in the future.”
Evan Clouse (Park City, Utah/Hot Tubes Development Cycling Team) finished 24th, followed by Riley Sheehan (Boulder, Colo./LUX Cycling) in 28th, Matteo Jorgenson (Boise, Idaho/Hot Tubes Development Cycling Team) in 30th, and Schunk in 33rd.
See complete results from the Omloop van de Maasvallei here.
U23 MEN – Grand Prix Priessnitz spa
The first two days yielded the squad’s best results with Ian Garrison (Decatur, Ga./Axeon Hagens Berman) finishing eighth in the prologue and Zeke Mostov (San Francisco, Calif./Aevolo Cycling, Inc.) coming in 12th. On the second stage, Chris Blevins (Durango, Colo./Axeon Hagens Berman) put forth a good field sprint to take sixth place. Blevins was the top U.S. finisher in the general classification in 44th place.
“Our biggest takeaway from this race is to continue working on positioning together as a team, and communicating as a team,” said U23 Manager Nate Wilson. “For this week, drilling the fundamentals was the most important experience. Overall, I was really happy with how the guys improved through the week in the fundamentals. We’re on a multi-year project here, but this was a good investment for the years to come.”
See complete results from Grand Prix Priessnitz spa here.
Next up for junior athletes in the National Development Program is the sixth Junior Nations’ Cup of the year –Trofeo Karlsberg in Germany, June 9-11.
The women’s development program will take on the Tour de Feminin in Krasna Lipa, Czech Republic, July 6-9.
The U23 team will next be in action July 26-30 at the Tour of Alsace in France.
About USA Cycling’s National Development Programs
USA Cycling’s National Development Programs aim to achieve sustained success in international cycling competition for the United States by providing promising young athletes with a pathway to the top tier of the sport. Our athlete development programs begin with Talent ID Camps and move athletes all the way through to top international competition. Thanks to support from the United States Olympic Committee and to the generous support of our Foundation donors, we’re able to facilitate programs for junior and U23 cyclists in all five discipline of competitive cycling. If you want to help support the future of American cycling, click here to make a donation now.
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This Article Updated June 6, 2017 @ 06:28 PM For more information contact: