Five U.S. riders finish in top 20 of Junior Worlds road race

 

Aguascalientes, Mexico (August 13, 2007) Competition wrapped up at the 2007 UCI Junior Road and Track World Championships with the United States posting one of its best overall finishes ever, placing all four riders in the top 20 of the men’s 134-kilometer road race. Danny Summerhill (Centennial, Colo./TIAA-CREF-5280) led the U.S. men, crossing the line in seventh place, only thirty seconds back from the Italian victors who stole the show by sweeping the podium for the first time in the event's history.

 

Both U.S. women also completed their 84-kilometer contest in the top 40 alongside the world’s best junior female road cyclists. Lauren Shirock (Emmaus, Pa./BMW-Bianchi) was the top finisher in 20th place.

 

Facing eight laps of a 17-kilometer course in the sweltering sun of central Mexico, the men’s competition was destined to be a race of attrition. Other than a few early attacks on the pair of backstretch hills, the main group remained mostly together throughout the first five laps. Things began to heat up on lap six when a Russian rider who escaped off the front was joined by a rider from the Dutch squad. With only a 20-second gap, the pair was quickly caught on the seventh lap before three Italian riders, including last year’s winner Diego Ulissi, Daniele Ratto and Elia Favilli, along with Peter Sagan of Slovakia, went on the attack.    

 

In the final lap, the American squad of Nick Bax (Bethesda, Md./Hot Tubes), Ben King (North Garden, Va./Hot Tubes), Taylor Phinney (Boulder, Colo./TIAA CREF-5280) and Summerhill pushed the pace in the pursuing peloton to keep the leaders in sight. With time running out in the final kilometers, a chase group of five riders, including Summerhill, turned on the gas in attempt to catch the lead group. The Italian trio however was too strong and sprinted across the line in first, second and third place to sweep the podium for the first time in the history of the UCI Junior Road World Championships.          

 

“We were closing the gap on the leaders when the four of us were on the front of the pack, but when we hit the hill the leaders accelerated. A small group went off the front of the field and I didn’t want it to get away, so I knew I had to bridge to it then,” explained Summerhill. “With about one kilometer left we could see the leaders, but we lost some time jockeying for position. As we got closer to the finish we knew it was going to be a sprint for fifth.” 

 

Thirty seconds behind the winners, Summerhill was able to sprint to a seventh-place finish. All three of his teammates were not far behind either. Time Trial World Champion Phinney finished just out of the top ten in 11th place. Bax and King sprinted to 14th and18th place respectively, making the U.S. the only country other than Italy to place four riders in the top 20.      

 

“I’m pretty stoked for our team, but I know that we are very strong as a unit and could have done even better,” said Summerhill. “We are proud to represent to U.S. and hope that future teams can build on this success.”     

 

In the women’s race, 48 of the world’s best lined up to contend for the title of world champion. In similar fashion, all was quiet in the five-lap contest until the fourth lap on the identical circuit. Then, a group of seven riders, including a pair of Italians and Australians, were able to break away. Recognizing the strength of the riders off the front, the main group immediately responded but the Italian team was prepared to defend the break.    

 

“I really tried to close the gap going into the last lap, but the Italians were doing a great job of protecting their teammates. With no help from the pack, I knew it wasn't going to come down to a field sprint,” said the U.S.' top finisher Shirock.

 

On the last lap, the leaders, including three-time world champion Josephine Tomic (AUS) and last year’s bronze medalist Eleonora Patuzzo of Italy, continued to grow their lead. In the end another strong performance from the Italian squad yielded first- and third-place finishes with Patuzzo claiming this year’s rainbow jersey. Cherise Taylor of South Africa sprinted to the silver while Valentina Scandolara gave Italy its fifth medal of the day with a third-place effort.

 

Shirock was able to maintain her position near the front and crossed the line in 20th, 1:23 back from the winner. In her first international road race, Sinead Miller (Pittsburgh, Pa./UMPC) fought her way to a 39th-place finish for Team USA.

 

This year’s UCI Junior Road World Championships will go down in the books as one of the most successful ever for the United States with a world championship in the men’s time trial, a bronze medal in the women’s time trial and five top-20 finishes in the road race.


2007 UCI Junior Road World Championships
Aguascalientes, Mexico
August 12, 2007

Men’s Road Race
1. Diego Ulissi (ITA) 3:07:05

2. Daniele Ratto (ITA) s.t

3. Elia Favilli (ITA) +0:03

7. Danny Summerhill (Centennial, Colo.) +0:30

11. Taylor Phinney (Boulder, Colo.) +0:45

14. Nick Bax (Bethesda, Md.) +0:46

18. Ben King (North Garden, Va.) +0:46

 

Women’s Road Race

1. Elenora Patuzzo (ITA) 2:17.40

2. Cherise Taylor (RSA) s.t

3. Valentina Scandolara (ITA) s.t.

20. Lauren Shirock (Emmaus, Pa.) +1:23

39. Sinead Miller (Pittsburgh, Pa.) +10:00

 

*Complete Results available at www.usacycling.org

  

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