Stellar racing over five days awaits Augusta
With over 800 riders already registered, the streets of Augusta, Ga., will be filled with high quality racing for the 2012 USA Cycling Juniors, Under-23, Elite & Paralympic Road National Championships, Wed., June 20 until Sun., June 24.
Over the five days, riders will compete for national titles in the time trial, criterium and road race. Competition begins Wednesday at 9 a.m. with the short road race at Fort Gordon before all age groups contest the time trial at Strom Thurmond Dam on Thursday starting at 8 a.m. Riders are slated to compete in Downtown Augusta in the criterium beginning Friday morning at 8 a.m. before they battle in the longer road races on Saturday and Sunday at Fort Gordon.
RIDERS TO WATCH
The elite women’s field features many of the top American women bicycle racers in the world, including another nominee to the Olympic team, Amber Neben (Lake Forest, Calif./Specialized-lululemon). Neben, who, in 2008, won the time trial world championship after competing in the Olympic Games in Beijing, China, won the time trials at the Vuelta El Salvador as well as the Pan American Championships earlier this year.
Among the riders who will challenge Neben are several members of the 2012 women’s road Olympic long team, including Theresa Cliff-Ryan (Cedar Springs, Mich./Exergy Twenty12), Megan Guarnier (Mountain View, Calif./TIBCO-To the Top), the winner of the 2011 USA Cycling National Racing Calendar women’s standings Janel Holcomb (San Diego, Calif./Optum Pro Cycling p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies), Kristin McGrath (Boise, Idaho/Exergy Twenty12) and Carmen Small (Durango, Colo./Optum Pro Cycling p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies).
The elite men’s field is comprised of very stiff competition. Among the riders competing in Augusta are local riders Justin Eppenbrock (Appling, Ga.) and Timothy Henry (Atlanta, Ga./Litespeed-BMW). The 29-year-old Eppenbrock won the 2012 Tundra Time Trial in February while Henry placed ninth in the 2012 Macon Cycling Classic in April. Also competing in the elite men’s field is former Air Force Misseleer who served with the 319th Missile Squadron at F.E. Warren Air Force Base Ian Holt (Fort Collins, Colo./Juwi Solar Cycling). Noted former professional rider Roy Knickman (Newbury Park, Calif./Breakaway from Cancer Masters), who placed third in the 45-and-up criterium at the 2012 Sea Otter Classic and young, noted criterium rider Justin Williams (Thousand Oaks, Calif./CashVall Mortgage).
There are also several heavy hitters in the men’s under-23 field. The winners of each of the three races are registered to compete in Augusta. The winner of the U23 road race, Rob Squire (Sandy, Utah/Chipotle-First Solar Development Team), is expected to attempt to duplicate his 2011 effort as U23 road race winner. Also attempting to repeat the feat are Nathan Brown (Covington, Tenn./Bontrager-Livestrong Team), who won the time trial with a time of 36:10.6 and Robert Bush (Louisville, Ky./Chipotle-First Solar Development Team), who rode away with the U23 criterium national championship last year. Those three will face still competition as the country’s best young riders will be gunning for Stars-and-Stripes jerseys. Chief among that competition are Lawson Craddock (Austin, Texas/Bontrager-Livestrong Team), the runner-up in the time trial, last year, and Joshua Berry (Coeur D Alene, Idaho/Chipotle-First Solar Development Team), who finished third in April’s U23 Liege-Bastogne-Liege in Belgium. Other riders capable of making noise in the U23 contests are Evan Huffman (Elk Grove, Calif./California Giant Berry Farms-Specialized), Adam Leibovitz (Indianapolis, Ind./Chipotle-First Solar Development Team), Ty Magner (Athens, Ga./ BMC-Hincapie Sportswear Development Team), Tanner Putt (Park City, Utah/BMC-Hincapie Sportswear Cycling Team) and Larry Warbasse (Traverse City, Mich./ BMC-Hincapie Sportswear Development Team).
The juniors men 17-18 field is also loaded with talent. As the fields for the juniors 17-18 criterium and road race are full, all of that talent will be on display. Two of the riders have earned a nomination to represent the United States of America at the 2012 UCI Road World Championships in Maastricht, Netherlands from Sept. 16-23. T.J. Eisenhart (Lehi, Utah/Velosport Racing), who placed third at Trofeo Karlsberg and won Pays de Vaud will be joined by Geoffrey Curran (Tustin, Calif./Surf City Cyclery-Sterling BMW) in the Netherlands. Challenging Eisenhart and Curran for podium spots will be the winner of the road race in 2011, Alexey Vermeulen (Pinckney, Mich./Bissell-ABG-NUVO), Colin Joyce (Pocatello, Idaho/Hot Tubes Development Cycling Team, Inc.), who narrowly lost to Vermeulen last year, Logan Owen (Bremerton, Wash./ Lake Washington Velo), who has collected seven consecutive national titles in cyclo-cross and Michael Dessau (Boulder, Colo./Boulder, Colo./Slipstream-Craddock Junior Development), who earned a spot on the podium in each of the three contests in 2011. Dessau finished second in the criterium and fifth place in the road race and time trial last year.
Among the other returning national champions is Sarah Huang (Kenosha, Wisc./Exergy Twenty12), who is now racing among juniors women 17-18 after sweeping the three races among juniors women 15-16 in 2011. Courtney Comer (San Diego, Calif./San Diego Bicycle Club-Acqua Al 2) won the time trial and road race among juniors women 10-12 and will test her meddle against juniors women 13-14 this year. Also moving up in age is Sean McElroy (Palmdale, Calif./Team Specialized Racing Juniors), who took two gold medals home from this event after winning the road race and criterium among juniors men 10-12 in 2011.
Competition begins with the short road race contested by juniors women 10-16 and men 10-14 on Wednesday at 9 a.m. The race will be comprised of varying numbers of laps (depending on age group) around a course of nearly 11 kilometers. At the end of each lap, competitors will ascend 125 feet in less than a half of a mile.
The time trial course, which will be used on Thursday by all competitors, stretches as long as 30 kilometers and narrowly crosses the state border into South Carolina. The course features an overall elevation of 561 feet, gaining 205 feet from the start to the midway point. The course is shortened to 10 kilometers for men and women ages 10-14. The elite and U23 men and women as well as the juniors men 17-18 years of age will compete on the full 30-kilometer course, while women 15-18, men 15-16 and the para-cyclists will race against the clock on 19 kilometers of the course.
On Thursday evening, the podium ceremonies for Wednesday’s road races and Thursday’s time trials will be held at Wild Wing Café (3035 Washington Road, Augusta, Ga. 30907) at 7 p.m..
The long road race course, which will be contested on Saturday and Sunday on the Major Matthew P. Burke, M.D. Championship Course on Fort Gordon by men ages 15-elite and women 17-elite as well as various groups of para-cyclists, consists of varying amounts of laps (depending on age group) of a 23.7-kilometer loop. The course features two climbs within the first eight kilometers of each lap. The second – steeper – of those two climbs gains 194 feet in less than one mile.
Results from the Paralympic time trial on June 21 will help determine the athletes selected for the team that will compete in the time trial at the Paralympic Games in London later this summer. The team will be announced during one of the podium ceremonies on June 22.
The six-corner criterium course in Downtown Augusta will highlight the nation’s top sprinters featuring a varying amount of laps (depending on age group) around a 1.25-kilometer course with a maximum elevation gain of only three feet. The 2011 edition of the criterium was certainly memorable as officials decided to shorten the race to avoid an incoming thunderstorm. The decision proved correct as thunder cracked and rain poured just as Shelley Olds (Gilroy, Calif./AA Drink-Leontien Cycling Team.NL) crossed the finish line to earn the Stars-and-Stripes in that event for the second consecutive year.
The winner of the U23 men’s road race, provided he has finished in the top 10 of a UCI Nation’s Cup event will meet one of the criteria of being nominated to the American contingent contesting the UCI Road World Championships in Maastricht, Netherlands from Sept. 16-23. Similarly, the winner of the U23 men’s time trial, provided he has a top-five result in an individual time trial of at least 15 kilometers at a European time trial (UCI 2.2, 2.1, 2.HC, 2.NCup) or the Tour of California, Tour of Utah or USA Pro Cycling Challenge in 2012 is eligible for nomination to that team. In the juniors men and women’s 17-18 road race and time trial, the winners are eligible for selection to the team contesting the world championship.
View the full list of registered riders on the event's official information page. Fans are also encouraged to follow all of the action from Augusta on Twitter using the hashtag #RoadNats. Please find daily recaps, results, videos and a photo gallery from Augusta on www.usacycling.org.
This Article Updated June 18, 2012 @ 02:05 PM For more information contact: