Coryn Rivera expressed her frustration at how the elite women's race panned out for Team USA at the 2018 UCI Road World Championships. Caught in no man's land in a bronze-medal position, Rivera eventually fell apart on the final climb and struggled to make it to the finish line in 31st place.
"Since there was no one around, I was in contention for a medal, and I tried so hard to just stay up there for the bronze," Rivera told Cyclingnews. "I exploded on the last time up the climb, and I had nothing left at that point."
Rivera formed part of a strong American team that lined out with three strong climbers; Megan Guarnier, Katie Hall and Ruth Winder. The team also fielded Alexis Ryan, Leah Thomas and Tayler Wiles.
It was a long race at 156.2km that started with an 84km loop from Kufstein to Innsbruck and included a steep 5km climb Gnadenwald. They dropped down to the Innsbruck circuits for three laps at 23.8km, that also had a climb to Igls before descending to the finish line.
Rivera made it over the first big climb to Gnadenwald with a reduced front group and then attacked in an attempt to get up the road and be available to help her teammates once the race kicked off on the three circuits in Innsbruck.
"Honestly, I was trying to set up our climbers to have a good race," Rivera said. "We had Hall, Winder and Guarnier, and I was trying to get ahead of them, and then hoping they would catch up to me at some point and I could help pace them or do whatever they needed. If I want to help them, I can't be waiting around for the climbers to attack."
Rivera spent most of the first circuit racing alone until a small group that included Amanda Spratt bridged up to her on the second time up the climb. Spratt was one of the race favourites and so being in the breakaway caused some nervousness from the powerful Dutch team. Anna van der Breggen jumped from the field and rode across to the breakaway, which had started to fall apart.
Rivera found herself alone, again, as the race for the rainbow jersey between Van der Breggen and Spratt rode away from her. With no radio communication to the team director or her teammates, she said she didn't know what was happening in the field behind.
"It was unfortunate that I was by myself right from the start," Rivera said. "As soon as I had 'friends' with me, Anna van der Breggen came over, and I did everything I could to stay there.
"It was hard without radios because I didn't know where my teammates were or what the time gaps were, so it was a frustrating race, and it was hard to know what was going on."
Rivera said she had nothing to give once a chase group that included bronze medallist Tatiana Guderzo (Italy), Emilia Fahlin (Sweden), Malgorzata Jasinska (Poland) and Karol-Ann Canuel (Canada) caught and passed her on the last lap. She ended up finishing the race 31st place at more than eight minutes behind the new world champion Van der Breggen.
"It was about surviving and hoping my teammates would come from behind to try their hand at a medal," Rivera said in a Sunweb team press release.
"Unfortunately, I went from going for the bronze medal to giving everything I can to keep up. It was a hard course, in a beautiful place, and I did everything I could to contribute to team USA and get the team ahead of the race and keep us in medal contention."
Winder was the best placed American rider in 10th followed by Guarnier in 16th and Hall in 21st.