Less than two weeks after claiming his first ever pro victory in the Tour de Suisse, Larry Warbasse earned himself a year in the stars and stripes jersey, taking the US Pro men's road race title in Knoxville, Tennessee.
"I'm in disbelief. I think this has been the best two weeks of my life," Warbasse said after taking the victory.
"I had a really great race in Suisse a couple weeks ago. Yesterday, I felt pretty bad in the time trial, I was a bit disappointed, and I told some friends 'I guess I work well with disappointment, so hopefully tomorrow will be good.'
"Honestly I didn't feel good the whole day. At the start I was suffering – actually I was suffering the whole time. I don't think I was the strongest today but I think I was the smartest. I can't believe it, I'm so happy."
Warbasse, Powless and Vermeulen got clear of the pack on the 12th of 14 total laps on the Knoxville circuit and managed to build enough of an advantage that it was clear they'd battle for the win among themselves with a few kilometres still to go.
Warbasse made a probing attack around two kilometres from the line but his companions managed to hold his wheel, setting up a three-man battle on the finishing straight. Warbasse found more success when he jumped early over the crest of the final rise and powered downhill to the finish line with gravity on his side.
"When I was riding it earlier this week, and I thought if I had the legs, I would go on the climb (Sherrod Road), but shortly into the race, I knew that I would have to do something somewhere else. I just thought OK, I knew the last rise would be important.
"I was planning on going on the rise, but when we were going into it, I was able to play it cool and watch the other guys. I knew that if I could get a little jump on them on that downhill it would be hard to come around. I don't have a good sprint, so I knew I had to get some advantage and it worked out. That was really cool."
Powless gave a hat tip to Warbasse for playing it smart, but showed a touch of disappointment after landing on the podium for the second time in the weekend but shy of the top step.
"I'm still happy to be here and I am proud of my race," Powless said. "But it's a little frustrating with two podium finishes and missing the win.
"Tactially, up until the very end I played it pretty perfectly. I tried to conserve as much as possible and not put my nose in the wind unless something serious was going up the road."
"Once we got away we just kept it together up until the finish, basically. We knew we were strong enough to take it to the line if we stayed together. We all gambled on a sprint finish, and Larry hit it first over the top of the climb. It's tough to follow that on a downhill sprint."
How it unfolded
Sun greeted the 102 riders as they set off for their 176.9km championship race. The first two laps were riddled with small attacks, but no move could stay away until Ian Garrison (Axeon Hagens Berman), Sean Bennett (Jelly Belly) and Daniel Eaton (UnitedHealthcare) managed to forge clear on the fourth lap. They never gained more than a few minutes, however, as Holowesko-Citadel took sole responsibility for the chase.
Their pressure proved too much for the trio by the time they reached 70 kilometres to go, with the peloton closing in on the climb and then making the catch in the feed zone.
Rally put in two attacks on the next lap, first with Shane Kline, then with Evan Huffman, who went clear with Oscar Clark with three to go, but an attentive batch of WorldTour riders marked every move.
The peloton began to shatter heading into the penultimate lap, with the main contenders all at the front and many of the sprinters distanced by the pace. When the race hit two to go, Axeon Hagens Berman attacked, with Tennessee local Jonathan Brown getting a slight gap.
But it wasn’t to last, as Rosskopf launched a move with Vermeulen that forced others to respond on the penultimate ascent of Sherrod Road. Coming over the climb, it was Powless, Vermeulen and Warbasse opening up a gap. The trio poured all of their efforts into the move knowing that when they reached the line, it would be just one lap and 12.7 kilometres to go.
The men’s field could see the trio as they headed into the turnarounds, but the escapees refused to let up. Nearing the penultimate crossing of the line, WorldTour singlets Brent Bookwalter (BMC Racing) and Alex Howes (Cannondale-Drapac) were feeling the pressure and attacked the chasing group, but the Rally train reeled in the move.
With half a minute in hand, however, the three leaders out front would not be denied, cooperating well to maintain their advantage into the last few kilometres. Although his attempt to solo clear came up short, Warbasse proved on the finishing straight that he still had something left in the tank, out-gunning Powless and Vermeulen in the sprint.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Lawrence Warbasse (USA) Aqua Blue Sport||4:20:45|
|2||Neilson Powless (USA) Axeon Hagens Berman|
|3||Alexey Vermeulen (USA) Team Lotto NL - Jumbo|
|4||Robin Carpenter (USA) Holowesko | Citadel Racing Team||0:00:35|
|5||Colin Joyce (USA) Rally Cycling|
|6||Brent Bookwalter (USA) BMC Racing Team|
|7||Alex Howes (USA) Cannondale-Drapac Pro Cycling||0:00:38|
|8||Kiel Reijnen (USA) Trek-Segafredo||0:00:47|
|9||Eric Young (USA) Rally Cycling|
|10||Joseph Rosskopf (USA) BMC Racing Team|
|11||William Barta (USA) Axeon Hagens Berman|
|12||Chad Beyer (USA) Canyon Bicycles|
|13||Justin Oien (USA) Caja Rural - Seguras RGA|
|14||Gage Hecht (USA) Aevolo Cycling Inc.|
|15||Christopher Blevins (USA) Axeon Hagens Berman|
|16||Stephen Bassett (USA) Silber Pro Cycling|
|17||Jacob Rathe (USA) Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis|
|18||Robert Squire (USA) Canyon Bicycles|
|19||Geoffrey Curran (USA) Axeon Hagens Berman|
|20||Jacob Sitler (USA) CCB Velotooler|
|21||Kevin Girkins (USA) ELBOWZ Racing p/b Synergy.O|
|22||Alex Hoehn (USA) Elevate-KHS Pro Cycling|
|23||Erik Slack (USA) Canyon Bicycles|
|24||Edward Anderson (USA) Axeon Hagens Berman|
|25||Travis McCabe (USA) UnitedHealthcare|
|26||Eric Marcotte (USA) Cylance|
|27||Connor McCutcheon (USA) Team Illuminate|
|28||Evan Huffman (USA) Rally Cycling|
|29||Gregory Daniel (USA) Trek-Segafredo||0:01:29|
|30||Christopher Jones (USA) UnitedHealthcare||0:01:51|
|31||Gavin Mannion (USA) UnitedHealthcare||0:03:03|
|32||Jonathan Brown (USA) Axeon Hagens Berman|
|33||Steve Fisher (USA) Canyon Bicycles|
|34||Kyle Murphy (USA) Cylance|
|35||Cory Lockwood (USA) Elevate-KHS Pro Cycling||0:05:00|
|36||Tyler Magner (USA) Holowesko | Citadel Racing Team||0:05:23|
|37||Taylor Eisenhart (USA) Holowesko | Citadel Racing Team|
|38||Danny Pate (USA) Rally Cycling||0:06:22|
|39||Emerson Oronte (USA) Rally Cycling|
|40||Sepp Kuss (USA) Rally Cycling|
|41||Brian Mcculloch (USA) Elevate-KHS Pro Cycling||0:08:22|
|42||Micah Engle (USA) Gateway Harley-Davidson Trek U2|
|43||Brad Neagos (USA) Team Illuminate|
|44||Cameron Piper (USA) Team Illuminate|
|45||Charles Huff (USA) Rally Cycling|
|46||Cortlan Brown (USA) Canyon Bicycles|
|47||Morgan Schmitt (USA) Arapahoe Resources / Garneau|
|48||Noah Granigan (USA) CCB Velotooler|
|49||Spencer Petrov (USA) CCB Velotooler|
|50||Shane Kline (USA) Rally Cycling|
|51||Ezekiel Mostov (USA) Aevolo Cycling Inc.|
|52||Joseph Schmalz (USA) Elevate-KHS Pro Cycling|
|53||Tyler Stites (USA) Aevolo Cycling Inc.||0:08:30|
|54||Lance Haidet (USA) Aevolo Cycling Inc.||0:08:47|
|55||Cameron Beard (USA) CCB Velotooler||0:09:29|
|56||Griffin Easter (USA) Team Illuminate|
|57||Michael Hernandez (USA) Aevolo Cycling Inc.|
|58||Cory Greenberg (USA) Canyon Bicycles|
|59||Sean Bennett (USA) Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis|
|60||Kaler Marshall (USA) Canyon Bicycles|
|61||Nicholas Torraca (USA) Elevate-KHS Pro Cycling|
|62||Connor Brown (USA) Elevate-KHS Pro Cycling|
|63||Grant Koontz (USA) Arapahoe Resources / Garneau|
|64||Mat Stephens (USA) Arapahoe Resources / Garneau|
|65||George Simpson (USA) Gateway Harley-Davidson Trek U2|
|66||Brett Wachtendorf (USA) Gateway Harley-Davidson Trek U2|
|67||Stefan Rothe (USA) ELBOWZ Racing p/b Synergy.O|
|68||Matthew Zimmer (USA) Gateway Harley-Davidson Trek U2|
|69||Dennis Ramirez (USA) Gateway Harley-Davidson Trek U2|
|70||Brendan Rhim (USA) Holowesko | Citadel Racing Team|
|71||Miguel Bryon (USA) Holowesko | Citadel Racing Team||0:09:54|
|72||Mackenzie Brennan (USA) Holowesko | Citadel Racing Team|
|73||Joshua Berry (USA) Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis|
|74||Christopher Butler (USA) Caja Rural - Seguras RGA|
|75||Justin Stanley (USA) ELBOWZ Racing p/b Synergy.O|
|76||Maxwell Ackermann (USA) Gateway Harley-Davidson Trek U2|
|77||Brant Speed (USA) ELBOWZ Racing p/b Synergy.O|
|78||Patrick Collins (USA) CCB Velotooler|
|DNF||Cory Small (USA) CCB Velotooler|
|DNF||Benjamin Wolfe (USA) Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis|
|DNF||Daniel Eaton (USA) UnitedHealthcare|
|DNF||Adrian Hegyvary (USA) UnitedHealthcare|
|DNF||Jesse Anthony (USA) Rally Cycling|
|DNF||Brandon McNulty (USA) Rally Cycling|
|DNF||Thomas Soladay (USA) Rally Cycling|
|DNF||Curtis White (USA) Rally Cycling|
|DNF||Oscar Clark (USA) Holowesko | Citadel Racing Team|
|DNF||John Murphy (USA) Holowesko | Citadel Racing Team|
|DNF||Ian Garrison (USA) Axeon Hagens Berman|
|DNF||Michael Sheehan (USA) Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis|
|DNF||Cullen Easter (USA) Team Illuminate|
|DNF||Jake Silverberg (USA) Start Vaxes Cycling Team|
|DNF||Bryan Lewis (USA) Cylance|
|DNF||SamueL Snipe Grove (USA) Cylance|
|DNF||Ansel Dickey (USA) CCB Velotooler|
|DNF||John Harris (USA) CCB Velotooler|
|DNF||Cooper Willsey (USA) CCB Velotooler|
|DNF||Evan Bybee (USA) Arapahoe Resources / Garneau|
|DNF||Andrew Dahlheim (USA) Arapahoe Resources / Garneau|
|DNF||Michael Burleigh (USA) Canyon Bicycles|
|DNF||Keegan Swirbul (USA) Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis|
|DNF||Ricky Randall (USA) Arapahoe Resources / Garneau|