Freddie Rodriguez gets fourth USPRO men’s road race
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Monday, May 27, 2013

Freddie Rodriguez gets fourth USPRO men’s road race

by Kyle Moore at 7:00 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Race Reports and Results
 
Outsprints Bookwalter and Reijnen after Gaimon closed down in final kilometre

USA CyclingFreddie Rodriguez (Jelly Belly-Kenda) scored one for the old guard in the USPro men’s road race championship in Chattanooga, Tennessee on Monday, tallying his fourth American road race championship by outsprinting Brent Bookwalter (BMC Racing) and Kiel Reijnen (UnitedHealthcare).

Rodriguez was the only true sprinter to survive four trips up Lookout Mountain, and got help from a team-mate in chasing down the tenacious Phil Gaimon (Bissell), who looked for a while as if he would solo in to a victory from more than 20 kilometres out. The Bissell rider was closed out inside the final kilometre as early breakaway rider Tom Zirbel (Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies), several Garmin-Sharp riders, and Bookwalter surged toward the final left-hand bend.

But Rodriguez was perhaps best positioned as he opened his sprint and just edged out Bookwalter for his fourth stars-and-stripes jersey. The runner-up finish capped a bittersweet weekend for Bookwalter, who also took second in the time trial championship, behind Zirbel.

Chattanooga, Tennessee plays friendly host:

The 161km Chattanooga course featured a short and long circuit, with the shorter one being tackled four times to open the day, followed by four times around the longer circuit, culminating with three more short loops to the finish. Oscar Clarke (Hincapie Development) made the first real move once racing had gotten underway, and he was chased by Alex Howes (Garmin-Sharp) and Ben Jacques-Maynes (Jamis-Hagens Berman). The entirety of the field eventually moved across to the trio, and later, a nine-man break was also unsuccessful.

Eventually, Zirbel, Chris Jones (UnitedHealthcare), James Stemper (5-Hour Energy), Tyler Wren (Jamis-Hagens Berman), and Brad Huff (Jelly Belly-Kenda) were given some room. Curtis Winsor (SmartStop-Mountain Khakis) embarked on a chase, trying to close down the minute of advantage that the quintet had already been granted.

The breakaway hit the last of the initial four short circuits with an advantage of 2’15”, with Winsor in the middle of that gap, and with a new breakaway trying to form. Clark, Tyler Magner, Joey Rosskopf, all of the Hincapie Development squad, moved quickly away from the peloton and had soon picked up Winsor. This group would never be able to bridge to the front, although it spent much of the first half of the race trying.

After 40km of racing, the break was on Lookout Mountain for the first of four ascents, and Huff was dropped from the escapees. In the chasing group, Winsor and Magner were left back as well, leaving a break of four and a chasing group of two. Wren led the breakaway over the top with a three-minute advantage. Meanwhile, Huff had joined up with the two remaining Hincapie riders, who were still sitting in the middle of the gap with 100km left to race.

The chasing trio continued to lose ground on the four men out front, and as Lookout Mountain kicked up a second time, both Rosskopf and Huff were dropped by Clark. Wren, seeking the mountains jersey, led over the top again, as Clark was soon picked up by the peloton, leaving the traditional set-up of breakaway and peloton on the road. Bissell led the peloton alone with 80km to go, facing a three-minute deficit, although it was cut to 2’45” across the finish line with two big loops left to ride.

Bontrager pitched in to keep the escapees within range on the third climb of Lookout Mountain, which had Zirbel and Stemper struggling behind Wren and Jones. There were 20 seconds between the two breakaway groups as Wren secured the mountains jersey over the top, but they were a quartet again at the bottom of the descent, with 50km to go.

The fourth time up Lookout provides the shake out:

With the peloton closing in on the tiring escape, the nine percent gradient of Lookout Mountain proved too much for the quartet out front on the fourth and final ascent. 2011 national champion Matthew Busche (Radioshack-Leopard) set off the first of the fireworks, accelerating and chewing up the breakaway’s advantage in a matter of seconds. Busche was chased and eventually caught by Chris Butler (Champion System) and Lucas Euser (UnitedHealthcare), while behind, groups were split all over the road.

However, the final climb crested more than 40km out from the finish line, and multiple groups consolidated off the descent. Amongst the contenders were the Busche trio, Zirbel, Bookwalter, Reijnen, Gaimon, Jacques-Maynes, Caleb Fairly (Garmin-Sharp), Chris Baldwin (Bissell) and Nathan Brown (Bontrager). Just a few kilometres later, several other riders were able to come up from behind, including Rodriguez, Howes, Ted King (Cannondale), Carter Jones (Bissell), Jamey Driscoll (Jamis-Hagens Berman), Alexander Hagman (Jelly Belly-Kenda), and Gavin Mannion (Bontrager). With 30km to go, it was this group of 19 riders who would decide the finish.

One of the Garmin-Sharp riders kicked off the attacking as the group began the final three short circuits, but nothing stuck until Gaimon achieved 15 seconds on a few chasers. With 20km to go, it was Gaimon dug in up front and the rest of the group behind, with Gaimon padding his advantage all the time. Nearing the finishing straight with two laps to go, Busche accelerated, covered by King and others, but Gaimon continued to move away. With two laps to race, his advantage was 16 seconds.

At 12km to go, the Bissell rider had moved out to 25 seconds, and 3km later, with one lap to race, the crowd cheered him through with a 30-second lead. But the short lap was somewhat undulating, and the road race national championship ended up being one lap too long for Gaimon. He still held 30 seconds with 3km to go, but the group behind was biding its time and Gaimon was wearing down up front. Again, Busche was the first to attack, covered by Gaimon’s Bissell team-mate Baldwin.

With 2km to go, Gaimon’s lead was rapidly fading, but it wasn’t until there was less than a kilometre to go that he was hauled in for good. Hagman played an important role for Rodriguez and Jelly Belly-Kenda down the stretch, doing much of the work to close down Gaimon for his aging but on-form sprinter.

Rodriguez finished the job that Hagman had started, closing out Bookwalter, who dropped his head in disappointment, and Reijnen, who banged his handlebars in frustration.

USA Cycling National Championship - Men’s Road Race Results:

1, Freddie Rodriguez (Jelly Belly-Kenda) in 4h06’56”
2, Brent Bookwalter (BMC Racing) in s.t.
3, Kiel Reijnen (UnitedHealthcare)
4, Ben Jacques-Maynes (Jamis-Hagens Berman)
5, Gavin Mannion (Bontrager)
6, Caleb Fairly (Garmin-Sharp)
7, Ted King (Cannondale)
8, Alex Howes (Garmin-Sharp)
9, Matthew Busche (Radioshack-Leopard)
10, Chris Baldwin (Bissell)
11, Tom Zirbel (Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies)
12, Nathan Brown (Bontrager)
13, Carter Jones (Bissell)
14, Chris Butler (Champion System) at 9”
15, Lucas Euser (UnitedHealthcare) at 12”
16, Jamey Driscoll (Jamis-Hagens Berman) at 16”
17, Phil Gaimon (Bissell) at 33”
18, Alex Hagman (Jelly Belly-Kenda) at 4’08”
19, Chris Jones (UnitedHealthcare)
20, Timmy Duggan (Saxo-Tinkoff) at 5’44”
21, Maxim Jenkins (5-Hour Energy)
22, John Murphy (UnitedHealthcare)
23, Jesse Anthony (Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies)
24, Morgan Schmitt (Jelly Belly-Kenda)
25, Tyler Wren (Jamis-Hagens Berman)
26, Jacob Rathe (Garmin-Sharp)
27, Frank Pipp (Bissell) at 7’12”
28, Adam Farabaugh (Equipe Garneau-Quebecor)
29, Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Sharp)
30, Danny Summerhill (UnitedHealthcare)
31, Chad Haga (Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies)
32, David Williams (5-Hour Energy)
33, Scott Zwizanski (Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies)
34, Chad Beyer (Champion System)
35, Alex Candelario (Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies)
36, James Stemper (5-Hour Energy)
37, Jeff Louder (UnitedHealthcare)

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