DEVO: Team USA Tunes up for World Championships with races in Switzerland, Belgium


Conor Schunk rides the time trial at the GP Ruebliland
Conor Schunk rides the time trial at the GP Ruebliland.
(September 12, 2017) – The USA Cycling National Development Program’s Junior and U23 teams got in some last-minute preparation for the upcoming UCI Road World Championships with some highly-competitive racing in Switzerland and Belgium. The teams look well-prepared as they turned in two top-five finishes in the three races.
JUNIOR MEN – G.P. Ruebliland & SteraGas Vlaams-Brabant Classic
The Juniors squad of Matteo Jorgenson (Boise, Idaho/Hot Tubes Development Cycling Team), Cole Davis (Folsom, Calif./Team Specialized Racing), Kendrick Boots (Centennial, Colo./Groove Subaru Excel Sports), Riley Sheehan (Boulder, Colo./LUX Cycling), Conor Schunk (Charlotte, N.C./Masters Cycling Systems LLC)  and Sean Quinn (Sherman Oaks, Calif./LUX Cycling) competed in the G.P. Ruebliland, a UCI MJ 2.1 stage race held near Lenzburg, Switzerland, Sept. 1-3. It was the last stage race for many European-based teams to sharpen up the form before the Sept. 18-24 UCI World Championships in Bergen, Norway.
Held over three days and comprised of four stages, G.P. Ruebliland was a combination of hilly road circuits and a challenging time trial. The riders also battled the elements the entire weekend. Rain, cold and wind battered the peloton throughout the race, allowing the riders good insight into the conditions that they'll face at the world championships in Norway.
Multiple crashes on super slick roads took its toll on both Sheehan and Boots, leaving Team USA down to four riders with two stages to go. Jorgenson rode the ITT well enough to move him up to seventh overall with a day to go, and the team supported him throughout stage 4 to move him up two more places to fifth in the final GC.
Complete results from the G.P. Ruebliland can be found here.
The team then tackled the the SteraGas Vlaams-Brabant Classic on September 10 for one last road race opportunity before they head off to worlds. The race featured a flat and fast course with a 700-meter section of cobblestones that the riders went over six times during the race. Team USA was active all day with Schunk in the early move before a flat tire sent him back to the pack. Boots and Sheehan attacked the field many times along with Quinn. Then, after multiple reshuffles, Jorgenson and Schunk found themselves in the winning move of 20 riders that consolidated after small groups off the front finally came together for the run to the line. Jorgenson was the team’s highest finisher in 15th, and Schunk placed 22nd.
“This race is an excellent event that captures the essence of racing in Belgium and is an excellent one-day race, one of the final interclub events on the Belgian calendar,” said Junior National Program Director Billy Innes. “With a highly motivated field in a challenging environment, compounded with cobblestones, it makes for a great day of racing. Fighting and finishing in the lead group is an accomplishment in and of itself and I was happy to see this final test go well before we head north to Bergen, Norway, to contest the World Championships.”
Complete results from the SteraGas Vlaams-Brabant Classic can be found here.

U23 MEN – G.P. Marcel Kint
On September 11, Team USA’s U23 squad raced in the GP Marcel Kint in Belgium. The race was a flat, 168-kilometer course, but featured rain and wind all day long. Of 110 starters, only 34 finished.
The U.S. team started with Will Barta (Boise, Idaho/Axeon Hagens Berman), Ian Garrison (Decatur, Ga./Axeon Hagens Berman), Justin Oien (Escondido, Calif./Caja Rural – Seguros RGA), Neilson Powless (Roseville, Calif./Axeon Hagens Berman) and Eric Voigt (Vienna, Va.). Oien joined the winning breakaway of 11 riders that split in the last lap, where he sprinted to a fourth-place finish. Garrison and Voigt also rode to solid top-20 results, finishing in 13th and 17th, respectively. Barta provided good team support all day and got in key preparation for the World Championships.
“GP Marcel Kint was a key piece of our World Championship preparation, and we got just what we needed,” said U23 Manager Nate Wilson. “Transitioning from the big climbs at l'Avenir, it was key for us to get some high-intensity speed work in. It couldn't have been better prep for Bergen. Our team rode forward and was in the action all day, which is exactly what we will need to do in Bergen.”
Complete results from GP Marcel Kint can be found here.
Coming Up
Team USA takes on the world’s best at the 2017 UCI Road World Championships in Bergen, Norway, Sept. 17-24.
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 September 12, 2017 @ 05:12 PM For more information contact: