Devo Wrap: U23 squad leads Perrin to victory at Arden Challenge


Jeff Perrin is resplendent in yellow after winning the Arden Challenge
Jeff Perrin is resplendent in yellow after winning the Arden Challenge. (photo by Billy Crane)
(April 23, 2014) – The USA Cycling National Development Program (NDP) hit a high note last week as a team of U23 riders displayed aggressive riding and teamwork to earn hard-fought first- and third-place finishes in the general classification at the four-day Arden Challenge in Belgium. Other U23 riders contested a pair of races in France and the Netherlands, while the women's team raced in Holland and Belgium after returning from a recon trip of the world championship course in Spain, and the juniors men's team also competed in Belgium.

Arden Challenge

Seven U.S. riders competed at the G-Skin Arden Challenge, a series of one-day races in Belgium, April 18-21, with the overall classification determined by the best cumulative placing over the four days.
With over 275 riders taking to the line on the opening day in Erezee, it was anybody's guess how the race would play out. The American squad showed that they've learned to ride well together and steered clear of the many crashes on the day. The race came down to 180-plus riders battling it out on the final uphill kick to the finish line, and the U.S. squad was able to get Daniel Eaton (Mesa, Ariz./Canyon Bicycles-Shimano) across for a fifth-place finish and into the Best Young Rider jersey.

Stage 2 of the Arden Challenge saw Jeff Perrin take the win and Daniel Eaton finish third.
Stage 2 of the Arden Challenge saw Jeff Perrin take the win and Daniel Eaton finish third. (photo by Billy Crane)
The second day in Etalle saw the race break apart in crosswinds and more exposed hills. The team's goal for the day was to get Eaton and/or Jeff Perrin (Lakewood, Colo./Hagens Berman Cycling) up the road and have the team break up the race in the crosswind. Early aggressive riding paid off and saw Willy Zellmer (Missoula, Mont./Gateway Harley-Davidson - Trek) create a break of 10 riders, with Eaton and Perrin bridging across a few kilometers later. Zellmer drove the break until the final 15 kilometers when Eaton attacked to create a further selection that included Perrin who launched his own attack over the final climb and soloed to the victory. Eaton came in third on the day and moved into the leader's jersey.
The team's goal on day three was to maintain the overall lead and ride for Eaton and Perrin. More crosswinds shattered the field and Perrin attacked in the closing kilometers but was caught within the last 100 meters. A chaotic bunch sprint saw Eaton lose the wheel of teammate Eamon Lucas (Pebble Beach, Calif./Hagens Berman Cycling) and slip to 19th place on the day. Lucas came across the line in second place while Perrin hung on for 12th. That put Perrin in third place in the general classification and Eaton in fourth.
The final day was the toughest one, with two King of the Mountain climbs in the first 30 kilometers. Having slipped to third and fourth in the general classification, the team's plan was to attack early and often, and it paid off with Perrin getting up the road after 50 kilometers of attacking the climbs. While Perrin was pushing the pace of his breakaway, the rest of the team covered any attempts to bridge the gap by the other threats to the overall title. Perrin ended up third on the day and claimed the overall victory as well as the Best Young Rider jersey. Eaton made it two USA National Team athletes on the final podium as he finished third in the general classification as well as second in the Best Young Rider standings.
The podium finishes by Perrin and Eaton were made possible by strong team support from Zellmer, Lucas, Robin Eckmann (Boulder, Colo./California Giant Cycling), Yannick Eckmann (Boulder, Colo./California Giant Cycling) and Justin Oien (Escondido, Calif./California Giant Cycling).
La Cote Picarde
Round two of the UCI U23 Nations Cup series was held April 16 in the Picarde region of France. The United States was represented by Ryan Eastman (Santa Rosa, Calif./Bissell Development Team), Geoffrey Curran (Tustin, Calif./Bissell Development Cycling), Logan Owen (Bremerton, Wash./Bissell Development Team), Robin Carpenter (Philadelphia, Pa./Hincapie Sportswear Development Team), Yannick Eckmann and Oien.
A clear and warm day saw a group of 24 riders escape the peloton in a crosswind section. The U.S. team chased for 20 kilometers and eventually brought the group back. The race finished with two laps that included two climbs each lap. A group of nine that did not include any American riders escaped on the last climb, 10 kilometers from the finish, and remained off the front until the end.
ZLM Tour
Zeeland, Holland, was the setting for round three of the UCI U23 Nations Cup and another clear, warm and windy day greeted the riders for the 177-kilometer race. The race quickly split into four groups and stayed that way for most of the day. A front group of 21 riders included Americans Miguel Bryon (Miami, Fla./Hincapie Sportswear Development Team) and Owen.
Eventually the race came back together and Team USA took control at the front. A break of 10 riders, including Oien, was established which made it to the finish ahead of the field and Oien crossed the line in eighth place. Bryon took 18th place.
Ronde van Gelderland
Five members of the U.S. women's team raced in the Ronde van Gelderland on April 20 in Holland. The team was active from the start as they used the race to prepare for today's La Fleche Wallone World Cup. The main focus for the team was learning the process of getting to the base of the climbs in the best position.
The peloton split apart over the fifth and sixth climbs but came back together prior to the feed zone. Over the next 50 kilometers the crosswinds helped split the field into several smaller groups once again.
A group of 20 escaped off the front and Team USA had representation in the second group of 15 that was eventually joined by another group of 30. The top finishers for the U.S. on the day were Lauren Komanski (Winston-Salem, N.C./Twenty16 Pro Cycling) in 37th place and Tayler Wiles (Fairfax, Calif./Specialized-lululemon) in 45th. Also contesting the race for Team USA were Lauren Hall (Dolores, Colo./Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies), Ruth Winder(Lafayette, Calif./UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Women's Team) and Katie Donovan (Oxnard, Calif./Twenty16 Pro Cycling).
See results from the Ronde van Gelderland.
Prior to the Ronde van Gelderland, the team traveled to Ponferreda, Spain, to conduct recon rides of the time trial and road race courses to be used in September's UCI Road World Championships.
La Fleche Wallone
In today's UCI World Cup event in Belgium, Hall was the top finisher for the U.S. National Team in 20th place, followed by Komanski in 40th. Evelyn Stevens (San Francisco, Calif./Spezialized-lululemon), riding for her trade team, placed fourth while Megan Guarnier (Mountain View, Calif./Boels-Dolmans Cycling Team), also riding for her trade team, was 17th.
See full results from La Fleche Wallone.
Ster van Zuid Limburg

Jonny Brown and Seth Veenbaas race the 2014 Ster van Zuid Limburg
Jonny Brown and Seth Veenbaas race the 2014 Ster van Zuid Limburg. (photo by Billy Innes)
The juniors men's riders tackled the three-stage Ster van Zuid Limburg in Belgium, April 19-21, and came away with several top-20 finishes and a top 20 in the general classification.
The opening 6.8-kilometer prologue time trial saw Gavin Hoover (Manhattan Beach, Calif./SKLZ-Swami's Development Elite Team) finish 14th, followed closely by Jake Silverberg (Pembroke Pines, Fla./Interactive Metronome Development) in 16th place. Both riders were 29 seconds behind winner and juniors world time trial champion Igor Decrane.
Hoover was again the United States' best-placed rider in the 113-kilometer stage 2 road race in Landen, finishing 32nd.
On the final stage, a 120.9-kilometer trek from Buvilingen to Borlo, the wind and climbs in Wallonie played havoc with the peloton, causing multiple splits and seeing a large group get off the front and stay away. Hoover and Neilson Powless (Roseville, Calif./Team Specialized Juniors) made the split but Powless dropped off and finished in a small chase group in 39th place. Hoover, meanwhile, had his second top-20 finish of the week in 19th position and ended up 17th in the final overall classification, 45 seconds behind the winner.
Jonny Brown (Covington, Tenn./Hot Tubes Development Cycling Team) was 40th, Silverberg finished 51st, Seth Veenbaas (Chino Hills, Calif./Monster Media Junior Development) placed 56th and Powless ended up 106th.
The U23 men in the USA Cycling National Development Program will have one squad heading to France to compete in Le Tour de Bretagne, April 25-May 1. That squad, led by Team Director Mike Sayers, will consist of Oien, Carpenter, Eaton, Curran, Owen and Perrin.
Another U23 group will take on Zuid Oost Drenthe, a one-day race in the Drenthe region of the Netherlands on April 26. Directed by Billy Crane, those riders will include Alex Darville (Santa Barbara, Calif./Bissell Development Team), Robin Eckmann, Bryon, Zellmer, Lucas and Paul Lynch (Colchester, Conn./BMC Development Team).
Want to be part of USA Cycling’s Development Program? The first step is getting on USA Cycling’s radar. One of the best ways to do this is by attending a USA Cycling Regional Talent Identification Camp. The primary goal of the Talent ID Camps is to recognize athletes who, at an early age, show signs of potential future success in cycling. Receiving instruction from some of USA Cycling’s finest coaches, the camps also provide the necessary framework to improve the athletes' skill set thus helping them progress in their talent development. In some cases, the Regional Talent ID Camps assist in selecting riders for international competition and/or a national development camp.
For more information and the full 2014 schedule of USA Cycling’s Regional Talent ID Camps, please click here.
USA Cycling's National Development Programs are supported by the USA Cycling Development Foundation. Support the future of American cycling today with an online donation.

Related Articles

This Article Updated April 24, 2014 @ 09:23 PM For more information contact: