By Jason Sumner, VeloNews Associate Editor
Dane Jankowiak has never been to Europe and Sara McLarty doesn’t consider herself a bike racer. But after both rode to surprise victories in the 17-18-year-old division road races at the junior national championships on a hot, drippy Saturday in muggy Florida, a trip to October’s road world’s in Portugal coutesy of an automatic berth on the U.S. national team has become reality.
Jankowiak, who says his primary sponsor is his parents, got away from the pack on the eighth of 10 laps, then barley held off the late charge of Rigo Meza to win the 102km race with a time of 2:27:26. The course was a 10.2km circuit that traveled several narrow country roads, 20 minutes south of Gainesville near the small rural town of Flemington.
“This is a total surprise,” the 18-year-old Jankowiak said. “I came here thinking I could podium, but I really didn’t expect this.”
Midway through the race it appeared the powerful Saturn Development team was going to have their way with things, as it managed to get a pair of riders, Saul Raisin and Kyle Wagner, into a three rider break, while several teammates defended the front of the peloton. But after seeing the gap grow to nearly a minute, the pack organized itself and reeled in the runaways with three laps to go.
A lap later, Jankowiak (Jax Racing-Trek-Volkswagen) made his move while the rest of the pack looked around nervously, wondering who would take on the chase.
“I just rode off the front,” Jankowiak explained. “I didn’t accelerate or anything. I just rode tempo and they never came.”
Rigo (Zero Wait) was the only rider who managed to track down Jankowiak, hooking on during the final lap. But after doing the majority of the work in the waning kilometers, Rigo was cooked, allowing Jankowiak to easily win the sprint.
“At the end I was dead,” Jankowiak admitted. “He pulled me to the finish, then I got him.”
Saturn’s Sterling Magnell won the field sprint for third place, followed by Guilloume Nelessen (CRC of A-Kopp’s) and Tyler Farrar (Mercury).
In the women’s race, which was held mid-afternoon during the hottest part of the day, it was a similar scenario that led to McLarty’s win. Through five laps of the seven-lap race, the 14-rider field was content to sit tight, spinning some of the slowest laps of the day. But on the second-to-last trip around, McLarty slipped away — apparently unnoticed — then steadily increased her advantage all the way to the end.
“I looked back three times and they kept getting further and further back,” said the 18-year-old, who is a triathlete by trade and was 23rd at the triathlon world’s held in Edmonton, Alberta, last week.
“We didn’t even know she was gone,” lamented second-place finisher Sarah Uhl (Trek). “There was so much looking around going on, somehow we missed it.”
Uhl finished 22 seconds behind McLarty, who posted a time of 2:11:14. Third place went to Odessa Osorio-McKenna (Trek-CYBC), followed by Lauren Franges (Tri-State Velo) and Sarah Hammer (Zero Wait).
The day’s other racing was a little more nip and tuck. In the boys 15-16 affair Clayton Peters (Ciclismo) barley held on to win the six-lap, 61.2km race, while Larssyn Staley (Saturn Development) took a tight sprint against Cassandra Osorio-McKenna for the win in the girls 15-16 race.
Other winners on Saturday included Ricardo Cruz (Valley Cycling-Sparkletts) in the boys 10-12; Spencer Beamer (Southern Cycling Operations) in boys 13-14; Samantha Schneider (Coyote) in girls 10-12; and Jeanne Eriksson (Stanislaus County Bike Club) in girls 13-14.
Racing concludes on Sunday with nine criteriums: espoir men, plus eight age-group races. Check back to VeloNews.com for a report, results and photos.
USCF JUNIOR/ESPOIR NATIONAL ROAD CYCLING CHAMPIONSHIPS, Gainesville, FL. August 2-5.; Boys 10-12; 1. Ricardo Cruz, Valley Cycling-Sparkletts, 10.2km in 18:19; 2. Nikolai Figueroa, Orlando Road Club, s.t.; 3. Alex Coelho, Fort Collins Cycling & Racing Club, s.t.; 4. Noah Buckley, Gregg’s- Trek-Volkswagen, at :12; 5. Karl Sachs, Unattached, s.t.; 6. Alex Garcia, Lipovitan B-3-Wings, at :20; 7. Michael Beard, Ann Arbor Velo, s.t.; 8. Jeremy Shirock, east Coast Velo, at :26; 9. Fletcher Farrar, Gregg’s-Trek-Volkswagen, at :32; 10. Kyle Foley, Laurel, at :49; Boys 13-14; 1. Spencer Beamer, Southern Cycling Operations, 30.6km in 52:33; 2. Chris Stockburger, Merlin-JDCT, s.t.; 3. Blake McMahon, Team Power Train, s.t.; 4. Chris Ruhl, East Coast Velo, s.t.; 5. Adam Switters, Sacramento Golden Wheelman, s.t.; 6. Nick Frey, Midwest Rolling Thunder, s.t.; 7. Hudson Smythe, Peninsula Velo, s.t.; 8. Lane Rogers, Southern Elite, s.t.; 9. Chase Renick, Major Motion, s.t.; 10. Max Hoener, Unattached, s.t.; Boys 15-16; 1. Clayton Peters, Ciclismo, 61.2km in 1:32:43; 2. Duke Schimmer, Swift, at :06; 3. Keith Norris, Jamis-Access Healthcare, s.t.; 4. Michael Proctor, Greenville Spinners, s.t.; 5. Ryan Mele, NECSA, s.t.; 6. John Eggebrecht, NOVA-IS Corp, s.t.; 7. Jesse Anthony, Saturn Development, s.t.; 8. Mike Rabe, NECSA, s.t.; 9. William Carter, Orlando Road Club, s.t.; 10. Andy Wiedrid, TRBC-Trek, s.t.; Boys 17-18; 1. Dane Jankowiak, Jax Racing-Trek-Volkswagen, 102km in 2:27:26; 2. Rigo Meza, Zero Wait, s.t.; 3. Sterling Magnell, Saturn Development, at :05; 4. Guilloume Nelessen, CRC of A-Kopp’s, s.t.; 5. Tyler Farrar, Mercury, s.t.; 6. Robby Ketchell, Mike Fraysse’s Sport Resort, s.t.; 7. John Hygelund, Saturn Development, s.t.; 8. Mike House, Go Mart, s.t.; 9. Nieko Biskner, Saturn Development, s.t.; 10. Bryan Merritt, Merlin-JDCT, s.t.; 11. Blake Caldwell, Mercury, s.t.; Girls 10-12; 1. Samantha Schneider, Coyote, 10.2km in 19:35; 2. Jessie Karriker, Asheville Bicycle Racing Club, s.t.; 3. Lauren Shirock, East Coast Velo, at :07; 4. Danielle Haulman, Lakewood Racing Team, at :14; 5. Jacqueline Kurth, Treasure Coast Cycling-Canari, at :31; Girls 13-14; 1. Jeanne Eriksson, Stanislaus County Bike Club, 20.4km in 36:02; 2. Kimberly Geist, East Coast Velo-Cycledrome, s.t.; 3. Shannon Koch, Exide Junior Team, s.t.; 4. Caitlin Gibbs, Beaverton Bicycle Club, s.t.; 5. Natalie Klemko, Coyote, s.t.; 6. Lauren Trull, JRVS-HDK, s.t.; 7. Kristi Henne, Mercy Cycling, s.t.; 8. Christine Levy, Front Rangers Cycling Club, at :17; 9. Nicole Matthews, Pen Velo, at :35; 10. Katie Neill, American Classic, at :53; Girls 15-16; 1. Larssyn Staley, Saturn Development, 51km in 1:31:47; 2. Cassandra Osorio-McKenna, s.t.; 3. Carla Wollum, Red Rocks Velo, at 3:16; 4. Sarah Levy, Front Rangers Cycling Club, s.t.; 5. Ashlee Armstrong, Future Champions Cycling Club, s.t.; 6. Meredith Gilland, Lakewood Racing Team, at 3:20; 7. Laura Danley, Lakewood Cycling Team, at 3:31; 8. Jenni Snavely, Hinkley Springs-IBRS, at 4:52; 9. Sierra Siebenlist, DMOS-Des Moines Cycle Club, at 29:02; Girls 17-18; 1. Sara McLarty, Orlando Road Club, 71.4km in 2:11:14; 2. Sarah Uhl, Trek, at :22; 3. Odessa Osorio-McKenna, s.t.; 4. Lauren Franges, Tri-State Velo, s.t.; 5. Sarah Hammer, Zero Wait, s.t.; 6. Laura Hanlon, Team Fuji, s.t.; 7. Clara Beard, Smart Cycling, s.t.; 8. Lana Eriksson, SCBC, s.t.; 9. Molly Cobb, Team Bike Pedlar, at :36; 10. Micki Buckley, Credit Suisse First Boston, at :40