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It was like deja vu today in downtown Knoxville as Luke Lamperti (Trinity Racing) took an astounding repeat win at the 2022 US Pro Criterium National Championships in Knoxville, Tennessee. Gavin Hoover (Legion of Los Angeles) took second place, and Scott McGill (Wildlife Pro Cycling) rounded out the podium in third.
This win marks the second year in a row 19-year-old Lamperti has upset juggernaut crit squads Legion and Best Buddies — an accomplishment made even more impressive as the solo representative of Trinity Racing Team.
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With Kendall Ryan (Legion of Los Angeles) repeating her 2021 victory earlier in the evening, there was a fair amount of speculation when the men’s field rolled to the start line that Luke Lamperti (Trinity Racing) might follow suit, repeating his prior strategy to claim a second title.
“You have a little bit more knowledge coming back a second year and how it plays out,” Lamperti said. “I think you have to come out of that last corner ideally in first. And with two guys off the front, it kind of came down to the two bigger teams Best Buddies and Legion to bring it back, so there can be benefits riding by yourself. When you win something, you always want to go back and win it the next year. So it was definitely a goal.”
As the temperatures began to dip, Lamperti wasted little time trying to roll off the front of the field, despite having no teammates in the 91-man field to help him along. Next, it was Aevolo’s turn to try and put some pressure on the peloton by sending Cooper Johnson off the front. Speeds were hovering near 50 kph when a break of six riders managed to put a full five seconds on the field. You could tell, however, from the way Miami Blazers’ Jonathan Brown was eyeing his companions that the rest of the group wasn’t as committed to the cause.
With that group reabsorbed, it was single file as they approached the halfway point. Kaler Marshall (Expeditors Elite Cycling Team) was the next rider to attempt an escape, and with Riley Sheehan (Premier Tech U23 Cycling Project) along with him, the duo suddenly found themselves within ten seconds on the pack. Ethan Moyer of Rio Grande Elite Cycling Team later would make it a trio. But that break would also implode, and the table would be reset as thunderclouds began and temperatures cooled.
With 10 laps to go, Project Echelon Racing sent Will Hardin on a solo mission, but, once again, it was Cooper Johnson responding for Aevolo. That set alarm bells ringing for Lamperti, who wasn’t interested in watching his title roll away and moved to the front of the field. L39ION was next to respond as the gap moved dangerously close to 20 seconds. The increasing tension resulted in the day’s only major crash, which involved at least eight to 10 riders.
Cooper and Hardin were left to dangle off the front while the laps wound down. The catch was finally made with two remaining laps, and then it fell to the Best Buddies team to spar with L39ION for control of the race.
Going up the climb for the final time Lamperti, with no teammates, emerged out of the final turn just as he did in 2021 to shock the bigger squads once again.