Koch, Stetina ride to junior national titles


Koch rode to a win with a little show of sportsmanship by Geist (Photo: Casey B. Gibson)
Park City, Utah (June 23, 2005)—The Park City Cycling Festival continued Thursday as Kimberly Geist (Emmaus, Pa.) sacrificed her shot at a national title in the junior women’s 17-18 race, instead opting for a classy display of sportsmanship towards her breakaway companion and eventual race winner Shannon Koch (Flower Mound, Texas).

After 53 miles of racing, Koch and Geist were together inside of the final mile calculating their strategies and preparing for a possible two-up sprint when Koch’s chain suddenly dislodged itself from the chainring – a move that should have ended her hopes right then and there. But instead of making a selfish dash to the finish line, Geist sat up and waited for Koch to get assistance from the caravan before continuing on.

From there, the two riders continued towards the finish where Koch barely outsprinted Geist to take the national championship and an automatic nomination to represent the United States at the junior world championships this August in Austria.

Factor in the fact that Koch also narrowly edged Geist by 13 seconds one day earlier to capture the junior women’s 17-18 time trial national title and Geist’s gesture becomes even more impressive.

“It was awesome that she waited for me because I was freaking out,” said Koch afterwards. Right before the roundabout, maybe like 3k to go, my chain fell off and I couldn’t get it back on without getting off my bike and Danny jumped out of the car and put it back on for me. It was really nice of her, because she really didn’t have to do that.”


Stetina led the Team 5280 Magazine 1-2 punch (Photo: Casey B. Gibson)
By Koch’s estimation, she had a decent shot at taking home the stars and stripes jersey anyway given the nature of the final uphill finishing stretch. “I figured all day long I was leading up every single climb so I figured if I went on that last little pitch up to the finish that I’d probably have a little better chance that Kimberly. I just went as hard as I could and didn’t look back.”

Koch improved upon her third-place finish in 2004 as the 18-year-old competes in her final year of eligibility in the junior ranks.

In the other internationally recognized category held on Thursday, Peter Stetina (Boulder, Colo.) was the first rider across the line in the junior men’s 17-18 race. Stetina crossed the line hand-in-hand with teammate and last year’s junior men’s 15-16 champion Tejay Van Garderen (Fort Collins, Colo.).

A field of 133 riders endured a windy day that made the already challenging course more difficult. Early on in the 78 mile race, a small collection of top junior riders escaped from the main field. After an earlier failed attempt at an initial solo breakaway, Spencer Beamer (Knoxville, Tenn.) attacked the group again and successfully mounted a significant advantage. Still 14 miles and two serious climbs to the finish, the altitude, terrain and severe headwind doomed the chances of Beamer as Stetina and Nick Frey (Des Moines, Iowa) caught and passed Beamer near the top of the first climb.

Near the top of the second and longer climb, Van Garderen had bridged across to the two leaders and it became a simple game of numbers.


Park City continues to provide a stunning backdrop for nationals (Photo: Casey B. Gibson)
“There were just team numbers and Tejay and I are both climbing specialists and Nick is more of a time trialist so we were just able to work him over on the hills,” said Stetina. “It was great because we were both taking strong pulls.”

Van Garderen and Stetina dropped Frey and arrived at the finish line together with Van Garderen giving the elder Stetina the win in an uncontested sprint.

“I’ve never won a national championship before and he has nine,” said Stetina of the decision on which of the Team 5280 Magazine riders would take the win. “He’s already got a more guaranteed spot for the world championships, but now if we have two teammates over there it would be a lot better. He was just extremely strong. I think he was actually a little stronger that I was today.”

In total, eight junior national championships were awarded today. Other winners included Hannah Hayduck (Kutztown, Pa.) in the junior women’s 10-12, Justin Koelbl (Fairfax Station, Va.) in the junior men’s 10-12, Katlin Antonneau (Racine, Wis.) in the junior women’s 13-14, Stephen Koelbl (Fairfax Station, Va.) in the junior men’s 13-14, Danielle Haulman (Denver, Colo. ) in the junior women’s 15-16, and Daniel Summerhill (Centennial, Colo.) in the junior men’s 15-16.

The Park City Cycling Festival continues on Friday with criterium racing in the junior and U23 categories.

COMPLETE RESULTS

Junior Men’s 17-18

Junior Women’s 17-18

Junior Men’s 15-16

Junior Women’s 15-16

Junior Men’s 13-14

Junior Women’s 13-14

Junior Men’s 10-12

Junior Women’s 10-12



This Article Published June 23, 2005 For more information contact:
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