Bookwalter misses American national title by a wheel length
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Monday, May 27, 2013

Bookwalter misses American national title by a wheel length

by Kyle Moore at 8:06 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, National Championships
Had tried to top Rodriguez with good positioning

Brent BookwalterBrent Bookwalter (BMC Racing) came away from the USPRO championship weekend with two silver medals, earned in the time trial and road race championships. The latter was a near miss for Bookwalter, who was pipped by 39-year-old sprinter Freddie Rodriguez (Jelly Belly-Kenda) by the length of his front wheel.

The 29-year-old Bookwalter got his biggest success earlier this season, when he won a three-man sprint in stage one of the Tour of Qatar. With the confidence from this victory on his mind, Bookwalter had to be one of the main favourites heading in to the small group sprint to decide the American road race championship. Bookwalter tried to open his sprint in the best position possible, but this was compromised somewhat when third place finisher Kiel Reijnen (UnitedHealthcare) had mechanical trouble, according to the BMC rider.

“So I lost those guys a little bit there,” Bookwalter said of the finale, and of having to close a gap before sprinting.

“I was telling myself to go into the sprint in front of Freddie because I knew it would be really hard to come around him,” Bookwalter added. “But to hold him off is something else. I got out of the last corner and started my sprint about the same time as him. I was coming up along side him, but didn't quite have enough road.”

Trying to ruin the small group sprint was Phil Gaimon (Bissell), who went on a solo flier with 20km to go and nearly held off the bunch. Gaimon was trying to steal the American title for one of the small, continental squads, and these small teams largely populated the group that was trying to chase Gaimon down. WorldTour teams had minimal representation in Bookwalter, Matthew Busche (Radioshack-Leopard), and Ted King (Cannondale), and the chase of Gaimon was long lasting. But the catch of the Bissell rider was largely due to Busche, who had attacked earlier to force the group clear.

BMC assistant director Jackson Stewart paid tribute to the efforts of Busche.

“Gaimon had a good gap that was growing and a lot of guys were looking at each other,” Stewart explained. “But Matthew Busche made a huge effort and brought it back. Brent knew he had to watch Freddie in the sprint and start his sprint before Freddie.

“He did everything he possibly could all day. He marked the moves that mattered and in the end he just came up a little bit short.”

With Grand Tour experience, Bookwalter is likely to head next to either the Criterium du Dauphine or the Tour de Suisse, with perhaps an eye on the Tour de France.


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