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A new men’s U.S. national road race champion was crowned in Knoxville, Tennessee on Sunday when Kyle Murphy defended Human Powered Health’s 2021 win in the absence of champion Joey Rosskopf due to COVID.
“This is just a special race for everyone racing,” Murphy said after the race. “Obviously, it’s nationals, but for our team especially. We’re over in Europe racing, but we’re still an American team, and it’s like a homecoming every year. You go get your butt kicked at Tour De Suisse, and you come here with the form of your life.”
The initial break formed quickly when Kelly Benefits Strategies riders Patrick Welch and Spencer Miller joined Ben King (Human Powered Health) off the front of the 121-man field. But even after they were absorbed, King fought his way into the next significant move of the day over the top of the Sherrod Road climb.
That group also featured Cooper Johnson (Aevolo), Michael Hernandez (Best Buddies), Matthew Riccitello (Hagens Berman Axeon), Kaler Marshall (Expeditors Elite Cycling Team), Lance Haidet (L39ION), and Christopher Uberti (3T/ Q+M Cycling). They established a 50-second gap with a hefty 164km of racing left and were eventually joined by Project Echelon Racing’s Zach Gregg.
After multiple attempts from a disorganized peloton, Gavin Mannion joined teammate Ben King, as did Hugo Scala Jr. and Gregg from Project Echelon, Hernandez, Kent Ross (Wildlife Pro Cycling Team), and Jared Scott (Aevolo).
This particular mix of riders seemed to sit well with the peloton, since the escapees were allowed to extend their gap to nearly three minutes. With just over 80km left, the field behind the leaders began to blow apart, and the peloton sent a message to the break by pulling back their lead to a much more manageable 2:10. At this point, Hernandez had to throw in the towel.
A group of three, including Kyle Murphy (Human Powered Health), Colby Simmons (Jumbo-Visma) and Tanner Ward (Best Buddies) left the peloton to shut down the escape, but the leaders clung desperately to their 1:35 gap. Once that trio was reabsorbed by the peloton, the break would shed Zach Gregg as they struggled to maintain their fluctuating advantage.
With two laps remaining, the break began to fall apart on the next to last climb up Sherrod Road. Behind them, the newly crowned criterium national champion Luke Lamperti began to pressure the chase group. After King and Mannion attacked up front, the breakaway was momentarily reduced to a trio that included only Kent Ross. Hugo Scala, however, was not willing to give up the fight just yet and returned to the break on behalf of Project Echelon.
Coming through the start/finish for the final time, the leading quartet was still able to hang on to a solid 60 seconds over the chasing field. That situation was not sustainable, however, as the climb claimed Mannion and Scala. That’s when it turned into anyone’s race. The descent put the breakaway to rest, and it was a guess who among the remaining riders would be able to pull out a win.
With three kilometres remaining, it was Murphy who had the advantage of having more teammates with him in the final selection and converted those odds into a victory. Murphy came up the final Clinch Avenue climb with a huge gap and an easy ride into the stars and stripes.
|1||8||Kyle MURPHY||Human Powered Health||4:27:48.||14:47.||17|
|2||186||Tyler STITES||Project Echelon Racing||4:27:51.||14:52.||17|
|3||11||Magnus SHEFFIELD||INEOS Grenadiers||4:27:51.||14:53.||17|
|4||6||Benjamin KING||Human Powered Health||4:27:53.||15:24.||17|
|5||14||Luke LAMPERTI||Trinity Racing||4:27:53.||14:53.||17|
|6||55||Kent ROSS||Wildlife Pro Cycling Team||4:27:53.||15:26.||17|
|7||42||Sean QUINN||EF Education – EasyPost||4:27:53.||14:55.||17|
|8||18||Finn GULLICKSON||CR4C Roanne||4:27:53.||14:53.||17|
|9||171||Jonathan BROWN||Miami Blazers||4:27:54.||14:54.||17|
|10||9||Keegan SWIRBUL||Human Powered Health||4:27:54.||14:55.||17|
|11||13||Lawson CRADDOCK||Team Bike Exchange – Jayco||4:27:55.||14:56.||17|
|12||16||Matthew RICCITELLO||Hagens Berman Axeon||4:27:56.||14:56.||17|
|13||291||Alexey VERMEULEN||Jukebox – ENVE||4:28:00.||15:01.||17|
|14||184||Hugo SCALA JR.||Project Echelon Racing||4:28:10.||15:42.||17|
|15||3||Robin CARPENTER||Human Powered Health||4:28:14.||15:15.||17|
|16||21||Colby SIMMONS||Jumbo Visma Development||4:29:01.||16:01.||17|
|17||4||Chad HAGA||Human Powered Health||4:29:02.||16:03.||17|
|18||7||Gavin MANNION||Human Powered Health||4:29:04.||16:37.||17|
|19||19||Lucas BOURGOYNE||WB-Fybolia Morbihan||4:31:07.||16:48.||17|
|20||263||Andrew DILLMAN||Texas Roadhouse Cycling Team||4:31:08.||16:49.||17|
|21||102||Tanner WARD||Best Buddies Racing||4:31:11.||17:25.||17|
|22||85||Griffin EASTER||Team Illuminate||4:31:12.||16:52.||17|
|23||93||Jared SCOTT||Aevolo Cycling||4:31:27.||18:26.||17|
|24||51||Noah GRANIGAN||Wildlife Pro Cycling Team||4:31:40.||17:52.||17|
|25||53||Scott MCGILL||Wildlife Pro Cycling Team||4:34:10.||19:51.||17|
|26||272||Isaac BRYANT||Above and Beyond p/b Bike world||4:34:32.||18:23.||17|
|27||2||Nathan BROWN||Human Powered Health||4:35:05.||17:29.||17|
|28||121||Sean CHRISTIAN||CINCH RISE||4:35:05.||17:31.||17|
|29||61||Max BIEN||Ferei-CCN Metalac||4:35:05.||17:30.||17|
|31||182||William HARDIN||Project Echelon Racing||4:35:06.||17:32.||17|
|32||94||Gabriel SHIPLEY||Aevolo Cycling||4:35:06.||17:32.||17|
|33||254||Robert PEARCE||Team Mikes Bikes p/b Equator Coffees||4:35:06.||17:32.||17|
|34||261||Fergus ARTHUR||Texas Roadhouse Cycling Team||4:35:06.||17:32.||17|
|35||131||Sean BURGER||CS Velo Racing||4:35:07.||17:32.||17|
|36||187||Matthew ZIMMER||Project Echelon Racing||4:35:07.||17:33.||17|
|37||5||Colin JOYCE||Human Powered Health||4:39:04.||18:30.||17|
|38||122||Matt JABLONSKI||CINCH RISE||4:39:04.||18:30.||17|
|39||231||Caleb CLASSEN||Team California||4:39:04.||18:30.||17|
|40||135||Wiliam GLEASON||CS Velo Racing||4:39:58.||17:46.||17|
|41||266||Kyle PERRY||Texas Roadhouse Cycling Team||4:39:59.||17:46.||17|
|42||204||James HILYER||Rio Grande Elite Cycling Team||4:40:00.||17:47.||17|
|43||191||Evan BAUSBACHER||Ride Bikes Bro||4:40:00.||17:48.||17|
|44||62||Seth JONES||Ferei-CCN Metalac||4:40:01.||17:48.||17|
|45||251||Ryan GORMAN||Team Mikes Bikes p/b Equator Coffees||4:40:01.||17:46.||17|
|46||95||Brooks WIENKE||Aevolo Cycling||4:40:01.||17:49.||17|
|47||113||Spencer MOAVENZADEH||ButcherBox Cycling p/b LOOK||4:40:03.||17:49.||17|
|48||253||Tim MCBIRNEY||Team Mikes Bikes p/b Equator Coffees||4:40:16.||18:04.||17|
|49||185||George SIMPSON||Project Echelon Racing||4:40:16.||18:03.||17|
|50||74||Lance HAIDET||L39ION of Los Angeles||4:40:16.||18:03.||17|
|51||91||William “”Cooper”” JOHNSON||Aevolo Cycling||4:40:17.||18:04.||17|
|52||234||Andrew LEVITT||Team California||4:40:17.||18:03.||17|
|53||15||Michael GARRISON||Hagens Berman Axeon||4:40:22.||18:08.||17|