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Whitman, Lees McRae, Fort Lewis and UC-Davis rule collegiate TTT

The 2006 collegiate national road cycling championships kicked off Friday with the team time trial competition. The course sent riders on a rolling 14-mile out-and-back course along Kansas’ Highway 10, which runs along the western end of Lawrence, home of the University of Kansas. USA Cycling rules required teams to compete with either three or four riders, with the third rider to cross the finish line determining the team’s final time. Stiff winds kicked up before competition began at 8:30 a.m., blowing parallel to the course. Riders began with the winds at their backs, but after two miles

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By Fred Dreier

The Whitman women line up for their start

The Whitman women line up for their start

Photo: Fred Dreier

The 2006 collegiate national road cycling championships kicked off Friday with the team time trial competition. The course sent riders on a rolling 14-mile out-and-back course along Kansas’ Highway 10, which runs along the western end of Lawrence, home of the University of Kansas. USA Cycling rules required teams to compete with either three or four riders, with the third rider to cross the finish line determining the team’s final time.

Stiff winds kicked up before competition began at 8:30 a.m., blowing parallel to the course. Riders began with the winds at their backs, but after two miles had to turn around and face the breeze head on before once again switching directions. The gusting conditions forced teams to occasionally shift into echelon across the road to maximize drafting.

The women were first to take the course, with 2005 Division II omnium champion Whitman College (Kate Ceronsky, Laura Vallas, Rebecca Jensen and Mara Abbott) stopping the clock at just over 40 minutes — a time that proved fast enough to withstand the rest of the field. Lees McRae College of Banner Elk, North Carolina, took the runner-up spot.

“I think our team benefits when the conditions are harder,” said Jensen, a junior art major at Whitman, of Walla Walla, Washington.

Finishing order was reversed in the men’s D-II race, with the Lees McRae men’s team (Scott Jackson, Luke Winter, Ed Burress and Brent Bookwalter) collecting the top prize after beating second-place Whitman by nearly a minute.

“We made it a point to go out conservative with the tailwind and then really give a lot of effort into the wind,” said Bookwalter, who won Virginia’s Tour of Shenandoah on May 2 and claimed the 2005 collegiate cross-country mountain bike championship.

Fort Lewis en route to victory

Fort Lewis en route to victory

Photo: Fred Dreier

The Division I men’s race saw an equally impressive performance with last year’s TTT champion, Fort Lewis College of Durango, beating the early fastest time set by the University of Colorado-Boulder. The team of Troy Wells, John Hayes, Matt Shriver and Chris Kuhl stopped the clock in just over 33 minutes and nearly caught the University of Indiana, which left the gates two minutes ahead.

“We were pretty much spinning out in our 53-11 on the way back in, the tailwind was so fast,” said FLC’s Troy Wells, the reigning U-23 cyclo-cross national champ. “We practice our time-trialing about once a week. It took a while for us to feel comfortable riding with each other this year. At our first race we lost to our school’s ‘B’ team by like 14 seconds.”

The University of California-Davis (Amanda Seigle, Marisa McAdler, Linnea Nasman and Amy MacKay) took the women’s D-I prize, topping Midwestern State by 13 seconds.

After one event, the school points omnium is tied in both divisions. Fort Lewis College and the University of California-Davis are all even in D-I, as are Whitman and Lees-McRae in D-II. Total omnium points totals were not available.

On Saturday, riders will tackle the road race around Perry Lake, just north of Lawrence. The 28.2-mile course is composed mostly of flat sections, with a few rolling hills found on the run-in to the finish line. Weather calls for clear skies — however, windy conditions could once again factor into the race. Stay tuned to VeloNews.com for updates from the event.

2006 USA Cycling Collegiate National Road Championships
Lawrence, KS
May 12
Team time trial
Division I
Men

1. Fort Lewis College (Wells, Hayes, Shriver, Kuhl), 33:04.1
2. University of Colorado (Blanchard, Bingham, Stockberger, Kneuren), 33:41.9
3. UC Davis (Dibble, Switters, Moore, Rossenthal), 34:14.9
4. University of Wisconsin-Madison (Hatch, Jacobsen, Schlozen, Hatch), 34:17.0
5. Colorado State University (Ketchell, McGlynn, Ruzanski, Workman), 34:45.0

Women
1. UC Davis (Siegle, McAdler, Nasman, Mackay), 40:25.7
2. Midwestern State University (Jordan, Miucic, Purcell, Whittle), 40:39.7
3. Fort Lewis College (Pelham, Swan, Danley, Hummel), 40:53.54
4. University of Florida (Garcia, Larson, Heal, Williams), 41:50.2
5. Indiana University (Lebig, Church, Cooper, Kovac), 42:01.9

Division II
Men

1. Lees-McRae College (Jackson, Bookwalter, Winger, Burress), 34:15.0
2. Whitman College (Thomas, Bell, Johnson, Weil), 35:09.1
3. Western Washington University (Walker, Daifuku, Clayville, Nelson) 35:17.3
4. Princeton University (Wynnyk, Bennette, Frey), 35:41.5
5. Colorado College (Boyle, Gerwitz, Faciszewski, Merk-Wynne), 35:56.7

Women
1. Whitman College (Ceronsky, Valaas, Jensen, Abbott), 40:25.5
2. Lees-McRae College (Beard, Conklin, Hein, Henne), 41:32.8
3. MIT (Bever, Buckley, Cates, Humblet), 42:23.3
4. Depauw University (Boyd, Couch, Hutton), 42:35.1
5. Western Washington University (Varland, McPhee, Ruskell, Stouder), 44:42.3

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