Larry Warbasse survived out of the three-rider breakaway and sprints to a U.S. Pro national road race championship in Knoxville, Tennessee to earn the right to wear the Stars and Stripes jersey for the next 12 months.
The 26-year-old Aqua Blue Sport cyclist overpowered fellow break mates Neilson Powless (Axeon Hagens Berman) and Alexey Vermeulen (Team LottoNL-Jumbo) in that order to take the win just a little more than a week from taking a stage win at the Tour de Suisse.
“I’m in disbelief,” said the former BMC Racing and IAM Cycling rider following the 109.9-mile (176.8km) road race consisting of 14 7.9-mile (12.6km) laps, including a little more than baker’s dozen trips up a nasty hill on Sherrod Road with gradient spikes of 13 percent inside a half a mile on a stretch that reaches 1,100 feet in elevation. “It’s been the best two weeks of my life. I had a really great race in Suisse a couple of weeks ago, and yesterday I felt pretty bad and in the time trial I was pretty disappointed. I told some friends ‘I guess I work well with disappointment, so hopefully tomorrow will be good’ and honestly I dint feel good the whole day.
“At the start I was suffering, actually I was suffering the whole time,” continued Warbasse, who was 24 hours removed from a fifth-place finish at the national time trial championship on Saturday. “I don’t think I was the strongest but I was the smartest. I can’t believe it, I am so happy.”
With five laps remaining (39.5 miles/63.5km), a three-man break consisting of Daniel Eaton (UHC), Ian Garrison (Axeon Hagens Berman) , Sean Bennett (Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis) held a 1 minute 20 second lead that was quickly closing due to a surging peloton.
After the field came together with four laps to go, the three-man attack launched and rode to the finish, with Robin Carpenter (Holowesko-Citadel Racing) taking fourth in a selective sprint 35 seconds behind the winner.
Colin Joyce (Rally Cycling), Brent Bookwalter (BMC Racing), Alex Howes (Cannodale-Drapac), Kiel Reijnen (Trek-Segafredo), Eric Young (Rally Cycling) and newly crowned time trial national champion Joey Rosskopf (BMC Racing) rounded out the top 10 in that order.
Full race report and results to follow …
Results, top 10
- 1. Lawrence WARBASSE, AQUA BLUE SPORT, in 4:20:45
- 2. Neilson POWLESS, AXEON HAGENS BERMAN, at :00
- 3. Alexey VERMEULEN, TEAM LOTTONL-JUMBO, at :00
- 4. Robin CARPENTER, HOLOWESKO | CITADEL RACING TEAM, at :35
- 5. Colin JOYCE, RALLY CYCLING, at :35
- 6. Brent BOOKWALTER, BMC RACING, at :35
- 7. Alex HOWES, CANNONDALE-DRAPAC, at :38
- 8. Kiel REIJNEN, TREK-SEGAFREDO, at :47
- 9. Eric YOUNG, RALLY CYCLING, at :47
- 10. JOEY ROSSKOPF, BMC RACING, at :47