By Mark Zalewski, North American Editor
While the men's professional championships for the United States road titles occur at the end of August in a separate event, elite amateurs (similar to the 'without contract' status of other countries) are vying for the stars and stripes jersey this weekend in Irvine, California both in the time trial and road race disciplines. The defending road champion Paul Martin (Texas Roadhouse), a resident of Ohio, was unsure if he would spend the time and money traveling to California to defend his championship. But in a rare irony, Martin's nine-to-five job will allow him to make the trip, opposed to getting in the way of training.
"I actually have a business trip that week, so I will already be there!" he told Cyclingnews while racing the recent Superweek series. "I don't think my wife would have let me go otherwise."
Martin will be tough to be as he recently defended his masters national title from 2007 in the 35-39 age category; since the trip to Louisville, Kentucky was easier to manage. Along with this, Martin was on good form at Superweek and Chicago, often making it into the main breakaways that lapped the field.
Trying to unseat him will be a large field, including a California Giant Berry Farms/Specialized team with thirteen starters, including Andy Jacques-Maynes and James Mattis who had an impressive ride at the Mt. Hood Cycling Classic.
Other names of note are former professional David Clinger riding for Van Dessel/Bike Warrior, a Rock Racing amateur team and a veteran one-two punch from two former Olympians and Pan Am Games gold medalists Thurlow Rogers and Wayne Stetina (Amgen/Giant Masters).