Amber Neben (PX4 Sports) won her second consecutive time trial title on Thursday at the USA Cycling Pro Championships, beating Tayler Wiles (Trek-Drops) and Emma White (Rally Cycling) on the 22.5km course in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.
Neben covered the course in 29:43, joining Wiles as the only rider to go under 30 minutes. Wiles finished with a time of 29:58. White was third on the day and won the U23 title with a time of 30:22.
Neben and Wiles were separated by only four seconds at the intermediate time check halfway through the race, but Neben was able to put more time into Wiles by the finish. She told Cyclingnews she wasn’t getting any time splits, but she knew she’d need to have a strong second half to hold her lead.
“I guess I was just looking at it as a whole instead of just parts,” Neben said. “I knew it was going to ride heavy, and I was going to need to make sure I hit the second half strong. I was going hard at first, but I was definitely hoping to make time on the back half. So there was a little bit of a plan, but sometimes you just have to get out there and ride.”
Neben caught and passed 2017 runner-up Lauren Stephens (Cylance) before the finish, boosting her morale as she drove to the line.
“I didn’t expect to be coming up on her that quick on a course like this with these turnarounds,” she said. “The U-turn thing is not my strength, so I knew I’d be giving up time there and then making up time. So when I was catching her quick I figured maybe she wasn’t having the greatest day.
“Sometimes it gets a little difficult because you don’t want to settle into thinking she’s the rider you have to beat. So I had to continually tell myself it was Tayler or somebody else up the road and to look past Lauren. But it’s always nice to see you’re gaining time on someone as opposed to losing time.”
Wiles, who said she liked the course and its multiple turns, was also getting limited information from her team car, but she knew she needed to pour on the power on the second lap.
“I knew I needed to give a little bit more just by the way she was talking to me, but I knew I was close,” Wiles said. “My first lap was really good, and my second lap I just needed to squeeze a little bit more out. But I gave it everything I had, and I did my best.”
How it unfolded
The 30 women who contested the 22.5km individual time trial around Melton Lake Reservoir went off in three separate waves throughout the morning. After a short heatwave in the days preceding the event, temperatures cooled to the upper 70s with little to no wind.
Rally Cycling’s Summer Moak led the early going with a time of 32:25, but she was quickly knocked off the hot seat by Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank’s Kathryn Buss, who clocked a time of 31:44. The next rider up set another top time when Whitney Allison (Hagens Berman-Supermint) crossed the line in 31:14 to take her spot on the hot seat.
Allison’s time held through the second wave, with only Kelly Catlin (Rally Cycling) and Stephanie Sydlik (QCW Cycling) coming close at 31:17and 31:29, respectively.
The times started to fall in the third wave as the favourites hit the course. White as the first rider to beat Allison’s intermediate split time, crossing the check point at 15:04, 30 seconds faster than Allison. Wiles beat that time by eight seconds, coming in at 14:56. Neben beat that mark at the intermediate time check, clocking 14:54.
Jennifer Luebke (Hagens Berman-Supermint) was one second slower than Allison at the intermediate check point, but she made that up over the second half of the course to take the lead with a time of 31:13.
White continued her solid ride over the second half of the course, crossing the line in 30:22 to take the hot seat. White’s mark didn’t last long, however, as Wiles posted the first time to go below 30 minutes, coming in at 29:58. Leah Thomas (UnitedHealthcare) slotted onto the provisional podium with a time of 30:28, but she eventually finished fourth.
Neben passed Stephens, who started a minute before her, over the second half of the course, crushing the route with a time of 29:43.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Amber Neben (USA) PX4 Sports||0:29:43|
|2||Tayler Wiles (USA) Trek-Drops||0:00:15|
|3||Emma White (USA) Rally Cycling||0:00:38|
|4||Leah Thomas (USA) Unitedhealthcare Women||0:00:44|
|5||Lauren Stephens (USA) Cylance Pro Cycling||0:01:10|
|6||Jennifer Luebke (USA) Hagens Berman-Supermint||0:01:30|
|7||Whitney Allison (USA) Hagens Berman-Supermint||0:01:31|
|8||Kelly Catlin (USA) Rally Cycling||0:01:33|
|9||Stefanie Sydlik (USA) QCW Cycling||0:01:45|
|10||Julie Emmerman (USA) Bicycle Racing Association of Colorado Membership||0:01:53|
|11||Kathryn Buss (USA) Team Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank||0:02:01|
|12||Alison Tetrick (USA) Cylance Pro Cycling||0:02:10|
|13||Emily Newsom (USA) Team Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank||0:02:11|
|14||Allie Dragoo (USA) Twenty20 Pro Cycling||0:02:19|
|15||Beth Ann Orton (USA) Point S Nokian||0:02:23|
|16||Sara Youmans (USA) Therapeutic Associates Racing p/b Pacific Office||0:02:37|
|17||Summer Moak (USA) Rally Cycling||0:02:41|
|18||Christie Tracy (USA) ATC Racing||0:02:45|
|19||Shayna Powless (USA) Twenty20 p/b Sho-Air||0:02:47|
|20||Heidi Franz (USA) Rally Cycling||0:02:51|
|21||Anina Blankenship (USA) The Cyclery Racing Team||0:03:02|
|22||Leah Thorvilson (USA) Canyon-SRAM Racing||0:03:09|
|23||Margot Clyne (USA) Twenty20 p/b Sho-Air||0:03:15|
|24||Maria Danker (USA) Hicks Orthodontics Women's Racing||0:04:08|
|25||Hannah Arensman (USA) Feed Hungry Kids Project p/b Happy Tooth||0:04:08|
|26||Hannah Shell (USA) Papa John's Racing p/b Trek||0:04:18|
|27||Jennifer Tetrick (USA) Team Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank||0:04:21|
|28||Alexandra Hammouri (USA)||0:04:31|
|29||Emma Langley (USA) Dornier Racing Women||0:04:41|
|30||Charlotte Backus (USA) Prestige Imports/Porsche/Audi Race Team||0:05:48|
|DNS||Amber Pierce (USA)|