US Pro Championships: Warbasse takes men's road title

Powless, Vermeulen round out podium

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.

The 26-year-old Aqua Blue Sport rider proved strongest out of a three-man late escape group, besting Axeon Hagens Berman's Neilson Powless and LottoNL-Jumbo's Alexey Vermeulen at the line.

"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. 

Full Results

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Lawrence Warbasse (USA) Aqua Blue Sport4:20:45 
2Neilson Powless (USA) Axeon Hagens Berman  
3Alexey Vermeulen (USA) Team Lotto NL - Jumbo  
4Robin Carpenter (USA) Holowesko | Citadel Racing Team0:00:35 
5Colin Joyce (USA) Rally Cycling  
6Brent Bookwalter (USA) BMC Racing Team  
7Alex Howes (USA) Cannondale-Drapac Pro Cycling0:00:38 
8Kiel Reijnen (USA) Trek-Segafredo0:00:47 
9Eric Young (USA) Rally Cycling  
10Joseph Rosskopf (USA) BMC Racing Team  
11William Barta (USA) Axeon Hagens Berman  
12Chad Beyer (USA) Canyon Bicycles  
13Justin Oien (USA) Caja Rural - Seguras RGA  
14Gage Hecht (USA) Aevolo Cycling Inc.  
15Christopher Blevins (USA) Axeon Hagens Berman  
16Stephen Bassett (USA) Silber Pro Cycling  
17Jacob Rathe (USA) Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis  
18Robert Squire (USA) Canyon Bicycles  
19Geoffrey Curran (USA) Axeon Hagens Berman  
20Jacob Sitler (USA) CCB Velotooler  
21Kevin Girkins (USA) ELBOWZ Racing p/b Synergy.O  
22Alex Hoehn (USA) Elevate-KHS Pro Cycling  
23Erik Slack (USA) Canyon Bicycles  
24Edward Anderson (USA) Axeon Hagens Berman  
25Travis McCabe (USA) UnitedHealthcare  
26Eric Marcotte (USA) Cylance  
27Connor McCutcheon (USA) Team Illuminate  
28Evan Huffman (USA) Rally Cycling  
29Gregory Daniel (USA) Trek-Segafredo0:01:29 
30Christopher Jones (USA) UnitedHealthcare0:01:51 
31Gavin Mannion (USA) UnitedHealthcare0:03:03 
32Jonathan Brown (USA) Axeon Hagens Berman  
33Steve Fisher (USA) Canyon Bicycles  
34Kyle Murphy (USA) Cylance  
35Cory Lockwood (USA) Elevate-KHS Pro Cycling0:05:00 
36Tyler Magner (USA) Holowesko | Citadel Racing Team0:05:23 
37Taylor Eisenhart (USA) Holowesko | Citadel Racing Team  
38Danny Pate (USA) Rally Cycling0:06:22 
39Emerson Oronte (USA) Rally Cycling  
40Sepp Kuss (USA) Rally Cycling  
41Brian Mcculloch (USA) Elevate-KHS Pro Cycling0:08:22 
42Micah Engle (USA) Gateway Harley-Davidson Trek U2  
43Brad Neagos (USA) Team Illuminate  
44Cameron Piper (USA) Team Illuminate  
45Charles Huff (USA) Rally Cycling  
46Cortlan Brown (USA) Canyon Bicycles  
47Morgan Schmitt (USA) Arapahoe Resources / Garneau  
48Noah Granigan (USA) CCB Velotooler  
49Spencer Petrov (USA) CCB Velotooler  
50Shane Kline (USA) Rally Cycling  
51Ezekiel Mostov (USA) Aevolo Cycling Inc.  
52Joseph Schmalz (USA) Elevate-KHS Pro Cycling  
53Tyler Stites (USA) Aevolo Cycling Inc.0:08:30 
54Lance Haidet (USA) Aevolo Cycling Inc.0:08:47 
55Cameron Beard (USA) CCB Velotooler0:09:29 
56Griffin Easter (USA) Team Illuminate  
57Michael Hernandez (USA) Aevolo Cycling Inc.  
58Cory Greenberg (USA) Canyon Bicycles  
59Sean Bennett (USA) Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis  
60Kaler Marshall (USA) Canyon Bicycles  
61Nicholas Torraca (USA) Elevate-KHS Pro Cycling  
62Connor Brown (USA) Elevate-KHS Pro Cycling  
63Grant Koontz (USA) Arapahoe Resources / Garneau  
64Mat Stephens (USA) Arapahoe Resources / Garneau  
65George Simpson (USA) Gateway Harley-Davidson Trek U2  
66Brett Wachtendorf (USA) Gateway Harley-Davidson Trek U2  
67Stefan Rothe (USA) ELBOWZ Racing p/b Synergy.O  
68Matthew Zimmer (USA) Gateway Harley-Davidson Trek U2  
69Dennis Ramirez (USA) Gateway Harley-Davidson Trek U2  
70Brendan Rhim (USA) Holowesko | Citadel Racing Team  
71Miguel Bryon (USA) Holowesko | Citadel Racing Team0:09:54 
72Mackenzie Brennan (USA) Holowesko | Citadel Racing Team  
73Joshua Berry (USA) Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis  
74Christopher Butler (USA) Caja Rural - Seguras RGA  
75Justin Stanley (USA) ELBOWZ Racing p/b Synergy.O  
76Maxwell Ackermann (USA) Gateway Harley-Davidson Trek U2  
77Brant Speed (USA) ELBOWZ Racing p/b Synergy.O  
78Patrick Collins (USA) CCB Velotooler  
DNFCory Small (USA) CCB Velotooler  
DNFBenjamin Wolfe (USA) Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis  
DNFDaniel Eaton (USA) UnitedHealthcare  
DNFAdrian Hegyvary (USA) UnitedHealthcare  
DNFJesse Anthony (USA) Rally Cycling  
DNFBrandon McNulty (USA) Rally Cycling  
DNFThomas Soladay (USA) Rally Cycling  
DNFCurtis White (USA) Rally Cycling  
DNFOscar Clark (USA) Holowesko | Citadel Racing Team  
DNFJohn Murphy (USA) Holowesko | Citadel Racing Team  
DNFIan Garrison (USA) Axeon Hagens Berman  
DNFMichael Sheehan (USA) Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis  
DNFCullen Easter (USA) Team Illuminate  
DNFJake Silverberg (USA) Start Vaxes Cycling Team  
DNFBryan Lewis (USA) Cylance  
DNFSamueL Snipe Grove (USA) Cylance  
DNFAnsel Dickey (USA) CCB Velotooler  
DNFJohn Harris (USA) CCB Velotooler  
DNFCooper Willsey (USA) CCB Velotooler  
DNFEvan Bybee (USA) Arapahoe Resources / Garneau  
DNFAndrew Dahlheim (USA) Arapahoe Resources / Garneau  
DNFMichael Burleigh (USA) Canyon Bicycles  
DNFKeegan Swirbul (USA) Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis  
DNFRicky Randall (USA) Arapahoe Resources / Garneau  

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