By Justin Coons, For VeloNews.com
More than 500 riders will be on the roads of east Kansas this weekend,all vying for the title of “college cycling’s best” at the 2007 USA CyclingCollegiate Road National Championships.
For the third straight year, racers will travel to Lawrence, hometo the University of Kansas, for the three-day event, held May 11-13.The University of California-Davis (Division I) and Whitman College(Division II) will look to defend their team titles in the event, whichfeatures a team time trial, road race and criterium. Awards are given tomen and women in the individual events, and teams in the TT and omnium,for each division.Whitman’s Mara Abbott, who swept the DII women’s field in 2006, willattempt to close out her college career holding onto her national championshipsin the women’s DII road race, criterium and omnium.
In the men’s races, Mark Hardman (University of Virginia) will be lookingfor his second ever high-level win. Hardman, a second-year law student,surprised himself capturing the DI men’s road race and omnium last year.“I’ve never won something at the highest level of competition,” he saidlast year. “I’ve just been a perennial loser. I can’t put this into words.It’s a dream.”This year will also see perennial DII cycling juggernaut Lees-McRaeCollege moved to Division I, where it will be competing among the likesof other powerhouses like Cal-Davis and Wisconsin.
Racing begins Friday, May 11, with the team time trial. Teams willtraverse a fast, relatively straight 12-mile circuit along Highway 10,outside of Lawrence.The next day will see the road race, a 28-mile circuit around PerryLake, just outside of Lawrence. Men will race 85 miles (three laps) whilewomen race 57 (two laps).Racing will conclude Sunday with the criterium. Men will race for 65minutes and three laps on the one-mile circuit in Downtown Lawrence, whilewomen will race for 55 and three.Immediately after the criterium, awards will be awarded to men and women.As well, the first-ever Ryan Collegiate Women’s All-Star Team will be announced.The top eight women in the individual omnium rankings will be chosen forthe group and will compete at Minnesota’s Nature Valley Grand Prix in lateJune.“This isn’t just an honor for the best collegiate women cyclists,” USACycling national collegiate manager Dan Matheny said. “All of the country’stop professional and amateur teams attend the Nature Valley Grand. Teammanagers will be watching and collegiate women who ride well have a greatshot at a pro contract.”Check VeloNews.com this weekend for daily coverage of the races.
CALENDAR OF EVENTS
Friday, May 11
Team Time Trial8:30 a.m.Saturday, May 12
Road Race – Lake Perry, KansasWomen start 8:00 a.m.Men start 11:30 a.m.Sunday, May 13
CriteriumWomen start 8:00 a.m.Men start 9:20 a.m.