Knoxville, Tenn., June 25, 2017 – – Amber Neben (Lake Forest, Calif./Team Velo Concept) made it two for two at the 2017 Pro Road & Time Trial National Championships in Knoxville by winning the road race on Sunday. Larry Warbasse (Traverse City, Mich./Aqua Blue Sport) won his first Stars-and-Stripes jersey in the men’s road race.
The women covered eight laps of the 7.9-mile course for a total of 63 miles, punctuated by a steep climb on Sherrod Road reaching a maximum gradient of 14 percent. Neben won with a solo attack on the eighth and final lap by doing what she does best, time trialing to the finish. The newly-crowned women’s time trial national champion won by 30 seconds ahead of the chasing pack of 64 riders. She finished in a time of 2 hours, 49 minutes, 34 seconds.
Coryn Rivera (Tustin, Calif./Sunweb) won the reduced bunch sprint in Old City Knoxville to secure second place, 11 seconds behind Neben in a time of 2:49:45. It was the third year in a row that Rivera has finished as the runnerup in this event. Ruth Winder (Lafayette, Calif./UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling) finished with the same time as Rivera in third.
“Today was beyond my expections. So, I’m excited for my team, Team Velo CONCEPT, to be able to represent those guys. I just came out to ride hard and play hard. I felt really good about being out there. So, it’s a special day,” said Neben, the reigining UCI ITT World Champion. The only other woman who has won multiple national titles in road cycling championships in one year was Allison Powers of UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling in 2014, when she captured all three U.S. pro championships in road cycling – road race, individual time trial and criterium.
The attacks came early in the women’s race, with Monica Volk (Kempton, Penn./Rally Cycling) Janelle Cole (Rockford, Mich./UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling), Abby Mickey (Aspen, Colo./Colavita-Bianchi), Holly Breck (Santa Ynez, Calif./Sho-Air TWENTY20), Emily Newsome (Ft. Worth, Texas/Team Elevate) and Jen Tetrick (San Francisco, Calif./Team TIBCO-Silicon Valley Bank) getting up the road on the first lap.
This group of six rideres extended their advantage to more than two minutes and 30 seconds with six laps to go, when Elevate’s Emily Newsom, Texas state time trial champion and 12th yesterday in the individual time trial, attacked. Newsom was solo for almost four laps and slipped back into the peloton. From there, counter-attacks flew, but Neben was the one who took control on the final climb up Sherrod Road and timed her break perfectly.
The men’s road race Sunday afternoon took the riders on 14 laps of the circuit for 109 total miles. It took Aqua Blue Sport’s Warbasse 4 hours, 20 minutes, 45 seconds to secure the victory, outsprinting Neilson Powless (Roseville, Calif./Axeon Hagens Berman) and LottoNL-Jumbo’s Alexey Vermeulen (Pinckney, MIch./Team LottoNL-Jumbo), who finished second and third, respectively.
“It’s insane. I’m still shocked and I’m going to be so incredibly happy to wear the jersey for a year,” said Warbasse, who competed in his first Professional Road Race Championship of his five-year career.
The three riders escaped in the latter part of the race, and gained a 30-second gap over a chasing group of pre-race favorites. Around the final bend to the downhill finish, the three-person sprint saw Warbasse coming out on top.
“I rode the course earlier in the week, and I knew that last riser (in the final kilometer) was where the race would be decided if it was a small group. I know I don’t have the greatest sprint and so I had to hit them (Powless and Vermeulen). I knew if I got enough of a gap on that downhill (at the finish) I might be able to hold them off. Yeah, I just put my head down and didn’t look behind and I was able to do it.”
The road race was highlighted by a steep ascent on Sherrod Road, with the first real break of the day taking place four laps into the event. Ian Garrison (Decatur, Ga./Axeon Hagens Berman), Sean Bennett (El Cerrito, Calif./Jelly Belly presented by Maxxis) and Daniel Eaton (Boulder, Colo./UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling) broke off the front, and gained a maximum of two minutes on the 146-rider field before getting reeled back by Holowesko-Citadel and Rally Cycling.
After multiple counter attacks and surges from the peloton, the winning break emerged. From there, no team could match the power of Warbasse, Powless and Vermuelen. After the trio crossed the line, Robin Carpenter (San Diego, Calif./Holowesko-Citadel) led a reduced field of 78 riders home for fourth place.
“We were all looking at each other at 400 meters to go. At that point, we were trying to figure out when to go,” added Powless, who finished third the day before in the individual time trial. “The first person to go had the big or best advantage in a downhill finish. I thought Alexey would jump on (Larry’s) wheel, but he hesitated and that’s all Larry needed and he took it to the line.”
In the women’s Under-23 category, 19-year-old Emma White (Delanson, N.Y./Rally Cycling) repeated as the women’s champion for a second day, adding the road race championship to the individual time trial award she captured Saturday. White finished in the bunch sprint with Rivera and Winder in fifth position. Janelle Cole (Rockford, Mich./UnitedHelathcare Pro Cycling) was second in the U23 standings, finishing 15th overall.
For a complete schedule, results, course maps and photo galleries, please visit the event web page. Follow the action on Twitter using #USPRO.
Amber Neben (Lake Forest, Calif.) Team Velo CONCEPT – 2:49:34
Coryn Rivera (Tustin, Calif.) Sunweb – 2:49:45
Ruth Winder (Lafayette, Calif.) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling – 2:49:45
Emma White (Delanson, N.Y.) Rally Cycling – 2:49:45
Janel Cole (Rockford, Mich.) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling – 2:52:01
Skylar Schneider (West Allis, Wisc.) ISCorp powered by Progress – 2:52:01
Larry Warbasse (Traverse City, Mich.) Aqua Blue Sport – 4:20:45
Neilson Powless (Roseville, Calif.) Axeon Hagens Berman – 4:20:45
Alexey Vermeulen (Pinkney, Mich.) Team LottoNL – Jumbo – 4:20:45
Images By Cathy Fegan-Kim