Joey Rosskopf delivered a heartbreaking blow to his BMC Racing teammate Brent Bookwalter, taking out the US Pro time trial title in Knoxville, Tennessee on Saturday. The 27-year-old parlayed the strong form he showed in the Giro d'Italia final time trial, where he was fifth, into the result, but said he suffered to keep going over the past three weeks.
Rosskopf told Cyclingnews that the victory was his "most satisfying win".
"I've never been close to this at a national championship before, I've never been able to put together a good ride," he said. "It's a little unexpected, I didn't have so many great days on the bike over the past few weeks, I like to think I was saving it up for today."
His fifth place in the 29.3km time trial on the final stage of the Giro in Milan was an impressive ride at the end of a challenging three weeks of racing. To keep that form for almost a month cost Rosskopf dearly.
"I knew it was possible to do it again, but I think that got me too motivated, and I didn't rest enough after the Giro. That led to three weeks of suffering on the bike and never feeling amazing," he said. "I thought it was too close between the Giro and nationals to take a big break. Maybe it worked out. I have been regretting jumping the gun on training after the Giro until now."
In 2014, the last time Rosskopf raced the national championships, he finished a distant seventh. Before then, 10th was his best result. Since then, he's made his home in Spain, and has gotten over the discomfort and angst that often follows American riders to Europe when they join the WorldTour.
"I feel really at home living in Spain, we have a great setup. My girlfriend's been there for two years, she's an angel, she helps take care of everything. That's just how life is and that's my home over there now.
"I've gotten over the change, the racing is still too hard for me, but I'm making progress slowly every year. I didn't come on the scene winning any races the first year. Whether or not the results show it, I feel more and more comfortable racing every year. It's a slow progression."
Now, Rosskopf will wear the stars and stripes every time he races a time trial over the next 12 months, and is looking forward to showing it off overseas.
"It will definitely make me look forward to time trials more. It will make the day of pain a little more pleasant for the next year. It will be really cool and I have never worn the national champion's jersey before so I am looking forward to it."