AUGUSTA, Georgia (VN) — Theresa Cliff-Ryan, Tyler Magner, Adam Farabaugh and Samantha Schneider sprinted into stars-and-stripes jerseys on Saturday during the criteriums at the USA Cycling Elite, U23, Juniors and Paralympic Road National Championships.
The races were run on a six-corner, pan-flat, 1.25km course in downtown Augusta.
The stunner of the day came in the 60km U-23 men’s race, where it certainly seemed as though Luke Keough (Team Mountain Khakis-SmartStop) was racing toward a national title.
California Giant Berry Farms-Specialized had spent the day on the attack, sending rider after rider away from the 125-man field, seemingly intent on setting up newly minted time-trial national champion Evan Huffman for the win. But the bunch snuffed each attack and prepared for a field sprint.
Keough shot around the final corner with a slight gap, then sat up and began his celebration — a little prematurely, as things turned out, because Magner (BMC-Hincapie Sportswear Development Team) hadn’t conceded defeat.
Remembering his third-place finish in this race in 2011, Magner lit it up, overhauling and passing Keough at the line to collect his first stars-and-stripes jersey.
“Luke had a good gap on me,” Magner said. “I could tell that I was gaining on him. Luckily, he just sat up a little too early and I had just that much left to get him right at the end.”
Farabaugh (XO Communications-Cisco) had a 10-second advantage going into the bell lap of the 80km elite men’s race.
The 23-year-old, who hadn’t raced in the national championships since he was a junior, was not sure he could hold his lead through the last lap. Still, he put his head down and drilled it.
Behind, Justin Williams (CashCall Mortgage) was coming up fast. But Farabaugh held on to earn his first national title. Williams finished second and Eric Marcotte (Elbowz Racing) took third.
Elite and U-23 women
Thirty-nine women lined up for their 50km event, the last of the day, on a mild evening in Augusta.
Andrea Dvorak (Exergy-Twenty12), who had been working to chase down threatening moves, throughout the race, led the group into the penultimate lap. Seventy-five meters before the sixth turn, her teammate Cliff-Ryan —second in the national-championship criterium in 2011, punched it, grabbed a gap and held on through the finish, edging Lauren Hall (TIBCO-To the Top). Carmen Small (Team Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies) finished third.
Schneider (TIBCO-To The Top) finished fifth to claim the U23 national title.
The win marks Cliff-Ryan’s second national championship, the first coming in 2006.
“It’s great!” she said. “The team did an awesome job of keeping me out of trouble, keeping the breaks in, so it would come down to a sprint. It’s great to finally get another one under my belt.”