Sprinters Grasp Spotlight in Augusta for Road Race Events at Collegiate Nationals
Augusta, Ga. -- The second day of the 2019 USA Cycling Collegiate Road National Championships featured four road race events on the multi-mission, multi-service military installation at Fort Gordon. Women and men used a 14.72-mile (23.7-kilometer) looped course that rolled over undulating, tree-lined roads on the Army base property with long straightaways, few sharp corners and a decisive climb 500 meters from the finish.
Club and Varsity Women raced four laps for a total of 60 miles (96.6 kilometers). The Club and Varsity Men completed four laps as well, having the race shortened by one lap because of severe weather approaching the Augusta area.
A field of 42 women started the morning in the Club Division. By the final lap, a group of 22 riders jostled for position on the final climb, nicknamed Mount Fort Gordon. The rights to the Stars-and-Stripes jersey was taken at the line by 20-year-old Cara O’Neill (Tucson, Ariz./University of Arizona). She scored the win in 2 hours, 53 minutes, 16 seconds.
Three riders finished on her wheel, just one second back. Anna Christian (Minneapolis, Minn./University of Colorado-Boulder) grabbed the silver, Emma Edwards (Cambridge, Mass./Massachusetts Institute of Technology) took the bronze. Finishing fourth was Margot Clyne (Boulder, Colo./University of Colorado-Boulder), who was the Women’s Club champion in the road race last year.
“This is the first national championship I have won. It’s going to be very cool to have the (Stars-and-Stripes) jersey all year,” said O’Neill, who is used to sprint finishes. She has had four criterium wins so far this season. “It was pretty much easy endurance for most of the course. The hills broke it up. Then a couple of flyers, and a sprint was the deciding moment.”
In the Varsity Division, Olivia Ray (Auckland, NZL/Savannah College of Art and Design-Savannah) made it two-for-two with a victory in the road race, finishing in 2 hours, 52 minutes, 10 seconds. The race started with 54 total riders. Friday’s individual time trial champion outpaced 13 competitors in the final bunch sprint, who all finished one second behind a speeding Ray. Crossing the line for the silver was Madeline Bemis (Corona, Calif./Milligan College) and for the bronze was Samantha Runnels (Austin, Texas/Lindenwood University). Marian University teammates, Emma Swartz (Madison, Wisc.) and Laurel Rathbun (Monument, Colo.) took fourth and fifth, respectively.
“It was pretty difficult again today. The course is very hilly and punchy. There were a lot of attacks towards the last one and a half laps. Everyone was holding back and waiting for the last climb,” said Ray, 21, who has three collected three collegiate track titles over the past two years. “I think everyone was sort of saying ‘she can only do track.’ I wanted to prove to everyone, and myself, that I’m not just a one trick pony. I can do a couple of disciplines.”
The largest field of the day featured 105 riders for the Men’s Club Division showdown. A total of 90 riders finished a weather-shortened 60-mile race, led by new national champion Evan Bausbacher (Richardson, Texas/University of Texas at Austin). He held off 10 charging riders for the victory, in a time of 2 hours, 53 minutes, 3 seconds. Closest to the 21-year-old’s wheel were Fred Vincent (Flower Mound, Texas/University of North Texas) and Chaz Hogenauer(Boise, Idaho/Colorado State University), who finished with the same time for the silver and bronze, respectively.
Approximately three miles into the first lap of this race, more than 30 riders went down in a large pileup. The race was stopped for more than 15 minutes to allow for mechanical support, while the Men’s Varsity event that had just started on the course was neutralized and delayed for a restart. During the Men’s Club and Varsity races, severe thunderstorms were detected in the area, so both events were shortened from five to four laps.
The Men’s Varsity Division finish also came down to a decisive sprint. Cade Bickmore(Longmont, Colo./Marian University) out-dueled a 10-rider bunch to take his first collegiate title on the road. He finished in a time of 2 hours, 15 minutes, 12 seconds. The silver went toScott McGill (Fallston, Md./Brevard College). Collecting the bronze was Jonah Meadvancort (Ithaca, N.Y./Lindenwood University), the winner of last year’s Varsity criterium.
“It’s unreal,” the 21-year-old Bickmore said about his win on Saturday in the road race. “We had really good communication today, which I think was key. We had a game plan to make it harder in the last couple of laps. Without that last lap, it threw a wrench in our spokes. But you know, we could see that the course really wasn’t letting any breaks get away. So we knew it was going to come down to a sprint. I think that really worked out well for us.”
The Omnium points for teams are determined from all three days of racing. After the first two days, the Club Team Omnium standings are led by University of Colorado Boulder with 292 points. Colorado State University is second overall with 254 points. Stanford University is currently third with 245 points.
In the Varsity Team Omnium standings, Marian University has 354 total points. Colorado Mesa University follows in second with 290 points, and Milligan College has 252 points.
Individual Omnium points will be combined for road race and criterium events, with winners determined for men and women on Sunday. Omnium standings can be found online.
Criterium Events - Sunday
Collegiate Road National Championships conclude Sunday in downtown Augusta, Ga. with four criterium events. Club Women will race at 9 a.m., and Varsity Women will race at 9:15 a.m. Both of these events will be 70 minutes on a 1.4-kilometer course. Club Men will race at 12:15 p.m., followed by Varsity Men at 1:15 p.m. These events will be 80 minutes. The start/finish for each criterium will be located on Reynolds Street across between 8th and 9th streets alongside Augusta Commons. The awards ceremony for all 16 national championship races, which began on Friday, will take place at 3:30 p.m. at Augusta Commons.
For results, maps and start lists, visit the resource page for the USA Cycling Collegiate Road National Championships - click here. Follow information about the races on Twitter @USACyclingLive and hashtag #CollNats.
Visit USACycling.org for more information on the athletes, events and membership programs, and follow @USACycling across all channels for the latest on Team USA.