Knoxville, Tenn., June 24, 2017 – – Amber Neben (Lake Forest, Calif./Team Velo Concept) and Joey Rosskopf (Decatur, Ga./BMC Racing Team) scored the first Stars-and-Stripes jerseys of the 2017 Pro Road & Time Trial National Championships. The race aganist the clock was held in Knoxville, Tenn. for the first time, the first for two days of USA Cycling road national championships.
Neben, the reigining UCI ITT World Champion, was the final woman in the field of 38 in the field to leave the starthouse in the revitalized Old City section of downtown Knoxville. She crossed the line in 30 minutes, 27.45 seconds for a dominating win. Neben, the reigning UCI women’s world champion in the ITT, redeemed her second place result at last year’s championships.
Lauren Stephens (Dallas, Texas/Team TIBCO-Silicon Valley Bank) earned silver, 31 seconds back in a time of 30:59.08, and Leah Thomas (Boulder Creek, Calif./Sho-Air TWENTY20) claimed bronze at 31:31.86. The professional women covered 14.4 miles, completing three laps of a 4.8-mile circuit in Knoxville.
“This course was tricky. There was really no rhythm or flow to it. Mentally, I had to ride it a lot more than physically ride it,” said Neben, a California native who said she was not used to the heat and humidity of eastern Tennessee. “It was a challenge to figure out how to pace it, and then factor in the heat. The humidity was hard. So to be able to factor that in and take care of the hydration, and then understanding there were three laps, and how important the second and third laps were going to be. I had to make sure I stayed in formation in the beginning, so that I could nail the second laps.”
Saturday’s event also crowned the women’s Under-23 ITT national champion, captured by 19-year-old Emma White (Delanson, N.Y./Rally Cycling). White finished 14th overall in the women’s event.
Rosskopf outpaced his teammate Brent Bookwalter (Asheville, N.C./BMC Racing Team) and 34 other competitors on the four-lap course for the men’s title in the 19.2 mile event, winning in a time of 36:25.37.
“It’s the most satisfying win for me,” Rosskopf said. “I’ve never been this close to a national championship before, never been able to put together a good ride. Yeah, I’m super excited, a little unexpected.”
Bookwalter, in his 11th year with BMC Racing Team, took his second silver medal in the ITT (2013) and moved up from a fourth-place finish in the event last year. Twenty-one-year-old Neilson Powless (Roseville, Calif./Axeon Hagens Berman) finished 17 seconds behind Bookwalter for third.
“I’m probably the least surprised today at his performance. He may be one of the most under-rated riders on the team,” added Bookwalter about his teammates victory.
On Sunday, the road races will begin for the women at 9 a.m., followed by the men’s road race at 1:15 p.m. This 7.9-mile circuit will be covered eight times by the women for a total of 63 miles and 14 times by the men for a total of 109 miles.
Images By Cathy Fegan-Kim
1. Amber Neben (Lake Forest, Calif.) Team Velo CONCEPT – 30:27.45
2. Lauren Stephens (Dallas, Texas) Team TIBCO-Silicon Valley Bank – 30:59.08
3. Leah Thomas (Boulder Creek, Calif.) Sho-Air TWENTY20 – 31:31.86
1. Emma White (Delanson, N.Y.) Rally Cycling – 33:02.93
2. Margot Clyne (Boulder, Colo.) Groove Subaru Excel – 33:32.28
3. Sara Youmans (Ketchum, Idaho) Therapueutic Associates Racing – 34:54.19
1. Joey Rosskopf (Decatur, Ga.) BMC Racing Team – 36:25.37
2. Brent Bookwalter (Asheville, N.C.) BMC Racing Team – 37:22.80
3. Neilson Powless (Roseville, Calif.) Axeon Hagens Berman – 37:39.76
For a complete schedule, results, course maps and photo galleries, please visit the event web page. Follow the action on Twitter using #USPRO.
Broadcast and Social Media
The Professional Road National Championships for women and men will be webcast on Sunday, June 25 on the USA Cycling YouTube Channel – https://youtu.be/t5VvWxLcYFI
The men’s 109-mile race on Sunday afternoon will be broadcast live by media partner WATE-TV, the local ABC affiliate, and provide highlights of the women’s 63-mile race.
Follow updates on Twitter @usacycling and #USPRO.