Sport Joey Rosskopf wins USA men's road title
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( ) used multiple attacks in the final 15 kilometres of the to win his first men’s elite road race crown.
In the closing metres in downtown Knoxville, Tennessee, Brent Bookwalter (Team BikeExchange) held on for silver and Kyle Murphy (Rally Cycling) claimed bronze.
Alexey Vermeulen (Canyon-Shimano-Q+M) took fourth, followed by Thursday’s time trial champion Lawson Craddock (EF Education-Nippo) in fifth and Chad Haga (Team DSM) in sixth from an elite group of breakaway riders.
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In the final kilometre, five riders surged ahead with big efforts and multiple attacks. Rosskopf gave it everything on the final downtown turns to go free on Clinch Avenue, not seeing anyone close behind him. The remnants of the breakaway crossed the line just seconds later, Bookwalter three seconds back and Murphy five seconds back.
“Well I was all-in with a lap and a half to go, and spent a lap out front alone. I thought that was my move. I got brought back and was a little fried, but everybody was. We just had such good numbers all day. The team was amazing,” Rosskopf said before receiving his stars-and-stripes jersey on the podium.
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“The last lap was just anyone’s race. Kyle was unbelievable; he was out there all day. I have no idea how he had the legs to do that, and he even got on the podium. It was just unbelievable. This feels a little bit sweeter, a lot has to align to get the road race.”
Rosskopf, a two-time US Pro time trial national champion, wining both times in Knoxville in 2017 and 2018, was fourth on Thursday in the time trial.
“I’m over the moon. I’m so happy Joey won. It’s just the best. It’s what we are supposed to do. We are one of the strongest teams here. It was challenging, but it was what we needed to do,” third-placed Murphy told Cyclingnews at the finish. “Joey is such a classy rider, and we had total faith in him. We knew he was on good form, and he made the right move. Then it was just a matter of making sure no one else could get up to him.”
Rally Cycling had strength in numbers, starting with nine riders and putting three riders in the final breakaway that formed with three of the 15 laps to go in the 190.9km road race.
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“The goal was to isolate the WorldTour teams by getting in a move. I was on the climb in a good position, riding next to [Alex] Howes and I figured if I went he would have to follow and spent a bullet on the climb,” Murphy said about the original move.
“So I went for it over the top, and luckily Sam Boardman [L30ION of Los Angeles] came along, he’s so strong. And then George [Simpson of Project Echelon] bridged up and we had a really smooth ride. We could cruise it, and forced the WorldTour teams to chase.
“In the finale it came back together and we had numbers, and then it was just a matter of throwing bombs and following moves.”
Bookwalter, who announced his retirement for the end of this season, was flying solo at his final national championships.
“The whole race I was trying to follow everything, it’s overwhelming being alone out there. Rally had those big numbers, and they were in the driver’s seat the whole race. Joey is a dear, dear friend so if one of those three guys [from Rally] who had to stay away, I’m happy to see him pull it off,” Bookwalter said about another miss at the title. Since 2008 he’s lined up at the US Pro road race 10 times now, finishing in the top 10 five times.
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How it unfolded
The weather continued to cooperate after the elite women’s road race with clouds rolling across eastern Tennessee to provide some relief from rising temperatures and humidity.
The peloton rolled out of downtown Knoxville on Gay Street en force, with 146 starters. On the schedule was 15 laps of a 12.6 kilometre course for a total of 190.9 kilometres. The twisty course began with a first pass over the Tennessee River, views of the University of Tennessee’s Neyland Stadium on the right and the Great Smoky Mountains in the distance on the left.
After the opening kilometre the peloton hit the only significant climb of the race of Sherrod Road, a 1 kilometre ascent with sections of 10 per cent gradient.
A small group of riders tried to make a move, including Will Barta (EF Education-Nippo), Eric Brunner (Aevolo), Chad Haga (Team DSM) and Jack Bardi (Gateway Devo). The next two laps remained status quo through the start/finish.
On the third lap a breakaway formed that included EF Education-Nippo riders Tejay Van Garderen and time trial champion Lawson Craddock, two Rally Cycling riders Colin Joyce and Magnus Sheffield, Haga, Ty Magner (L39ION of Los Angeles), Aevolo’s Gage Hecht and Matthew Zimmer (Project Echelon).
Heading out for lap four, the lead group had grown to 11, with George Simpson (Project Echelon), Jack Bardi (Gateway Devo) and Jonny Brown (Evo Pro Racing) joining the other eight. Alexey Vermeulen (Canyon-Shimano-Q+M) was just 13 seconds back and made the catch on the climb.
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With 138 kilometres to go and the riders all together, it was time for Murphy to give it a go. He was joined by Sam Boardman (L30ION of Los Angeles) on the descent of Sherrod to head out on the out-and-back straightaway of James White Parkway. Four miles later, Sean Guydish (Kelly Benefit Strategies Elite Cycling) moved off the front of the peloton to try to bridge to the Murphy-Boardman duo, who had a 1:10 cushion.
With 10 laps remaining, Drake Deuel (Team California) was by himself, 44 seconds behind the leaders, before dropping back to the peloton. George Simpson (Project Echelon) had joined forces with Guydish in a chase, 59 seconds back. The field had not given up by any means, but had fallen back to 2:50.
Heading to the halfway point of the race, the midday temperatures climbed close to the 90-degree mark making ice bags a necessity in the feed zones. Simpson was 52 seconds back of Murphy and Boardman, and Guydish was beginning to lose touch with Simpson. A threesome of Innokenty Zavyalov (Guillotine Cycling-Cervelo) Liam Flanagan (Kelly Benefit Strategies Elite) and Deuel were working together 3:53 back and the peloton was down another 1:11.
On the eighth climb of Sherrod Road, Simpson was trying to make the catch of the two leaders, which he accomplished after the descent.
Simpson, Boardman and Murphy were back to a 3:20 lead over the peloton with six laps to go, with Chris Riekert (Team Mike’s Bikes p/b Equator Coffees) and Barry Miller chasing 2 minutes back and Sean Gardner (CS Velo Racing) creating a small gap of 21 seconds in front of the main field.
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EF Education-First, with all four riders at the front, worked to eat away at the leaders’ time, bringing it down to just under a minute with five laps to go. Three of the EF group continued on for the 10th climb of Sherrod Road, however, it was the end of the day for Will Barta, who decided not to continue.
Two Rally Cycling riders, Robin Carpenter and Nathan Brown, were next to push the pace with Haga of Team DSM as a fractured peloton headed to the 11th climb of Sherrod Road, making the catch of Simpson. Only seconds behind were another 24 riders, but Murphy and Boardman were still surviving at the front, but reeled in by a group of seven to form nine – Haga, Vermeulen, Craddock, Gavin Mannion, Murphy, Boardman, Hecht, Simpson and Bookwalter. Rosskopf then became the third Rally Cycling rider trying to join, from what was left of the peloton trailing another 45 seconds back.
With two laps to go, Simpson was no longer in the lead group and back in the reduced peloton. Howes was in a time trial mode and trying to chase down the leaders, towing Scott McGill (Aevolo).
Rosskopf launched an attack with 17.7 kilometres to go and held a lead of just 17 seconds on the bell lap of the road circuit, which he held until 6.5 kilometres to go. Then after multiple attacks, Rosskopf launched his final, and winning, attack to take the victory solo.
|Pos.||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Joey Rosskopf (USA) Rally Cycling||4:38:11|
|2||Brent Bookwalter (USA) Team BikeExchange||0:00:03|
|3||Kyle Murphy (USA) Rally Cycling||0:00:05|
|4||Alexey Vermeullen (USA) Canyon-Shimano-Q+M||0:00:06|
|5||Lawson Craddock (USA) EF Education-Nippo||0:00:10|
|6||Chad Haga (USA) Team DSM||0:00:13|
|7||Gavin Mannion (USA) Rally Cycling||0:01:13|
|8||Samuel Boardman (USA) L39ion of Los Angeles||0:01:41|
|9||Gage Hecht (USA) Aevolo||0:01:43|
|10||Scott McGill (USA) Aevolo||0:02:32|
|11||Alex Howes (USA) EF Education-Nippo||0:02:33|
|12||Jonathan Brown (USA) Evopro Racing||0:02:34|
|13||Nathan Brown (USA) Rally Cycling||0:02:53|
|14||Brendan Rhim (USA) Evopro Racing||0:04:03|
|15||Ben King (USA) Rally Cycling||0:05:20|
|16||Magnus Sheffield (USA) Rally Cycling|
|17||Matthew Riccitello (USA) Hagens Berman Axeon|
|18||Alex Hoehn (USA) Wildlife Generation Pro Cycling||0:05:21|
|19||Kevin Vermaerke (USA) Team DSM|
|20||Quinn Simmons (USA) Trek-Segafredo||0:05:22|
|21||Sean McElroy (USA) Aevolo||0:06:44|
|22||Tyler Williams (USA) L39ion of Los Angeles|
|23||George Simpson (USA) Project Echelon|
|24||Gregory Daniel (USA) Groove Subaru|
|25||Lance Haidet (USA) L39ion of Los Angeles||0:06:45|
Kendall Ryan wins women's criterium title at US Pro Road Championships .
L39ION of Los Angeles sprinter beats Team DSM teammates Megan Jastrab and Coryn Rivera“I came out here with a mission, I didn’t make the Olympic team, so I just wanted to prove a point. And I think I did that. My teammates hung out a lot. It was super-hard competition out there and everyone came out to destroy us [L39ION of Los Angeles]. I’m just really happy and it was a really good day," said Ryan, who last won the criterium national title in 2015.