The USA Cycling National Development Team’s Cole House of Oneida, Wisconsin, won the 130km G.P. Waregem in Belgium Wednesday. Cole also is a member of the U23 BMC team.
Around 50 kilometers into the UCI 1.12 race, the 20-year-old joined a 20-rider breakaway. With his teammates Austin Carroll and Taylor Shelden helping control a chase group, House’s group stayed out front through several climbs and cobblestone sections. In the final kilometers House outsprinted the remaining 15 riders.
The race was held in difficult weather conditions that led to just 38 riders finishing, of more than 200 starters.
House becomes the first American ever to win this event. Tyler Farrar, now racing for Garmin-Slipstream previously was the best placed American, having finished second four years ago.
“Looking at what Tyler is doing now, it’s a pretty good indicator for Cole’s potential,” USA National Developmental Team Coach Noel Dejonckheere said.
“I certainly didn’t have many friends in that lead group!” House joked. “I just tried not to do more work than I had to, and watched out for the teams that had 3 or 4 guys still in the front group.”
“With around 20 km to go, a group of five guys managed to breakaway, and at that point I figured the race was probably over,” House said. “But luckily on the final lap just after the cobbled section everything came together again.”
“When we got to the corner 1 km from the finish, that’s when I thought ‘shoot, I can actually win this!'” House said. “People were still attacking, but I just put my head down with about 300 meters to go; I thought I was going to get caught but when I looked back between my legs, I had won by 3 or 4 bike lengths.”