Joey Rosskopf (BMC Racing) put in a stunning ride at the USA Cycling Professional Road Championships on Saturday to win the time trial title for the first time in his career. His teammate Brent Bookwalter was a distant second at 57 seconds on the four-lap, 30.7km course in Knoxville, Tennessee, with Axeon Hagens Berman's Neilson Powless third at 1:14.
Rosskopf, 27, hasn't raced the national championships since his stand-out 2014 season when he won the Redlands Bicycle Classic and caught the eye of the WorldTour team. A seventh place that year was his previous best in the time trial. But now with three Grand Tours in his legs, and a spectacular fifth place in the final time trial of this year's Giro d'Italia, Rosskopf has clearly hit his stride.
"I've never done well at nationals, and I haven't given it a shot for a few years since it never goes very well," Rosskopf told Cyclingnews. "I have July off from racing so I was going to be back in the States anyhow. I feel like I've gotten a lot better since the last time I tried to win nationals, so I came back to give it a shot."
In past years, the national championships have been in May or early June, but this year moved to coincide with the nationals around the globe. For Rosskopf, the timing was perfect.
"I did the Giro again like last year, and if it had been in May I wouldn't have been able to do it. I was happy to see they moved it to coincide with everyone else's nationals," he said.
The course itself, with four laps, multiple turns and plenty of short hills was suited the punchier riders over pure time trial specialists.
"It was a really great course, the majority of the time was spent hitting it over the hills," Rosskopf said. "That along with the turns makes for a much better course for me than an open highway with one turnaround. I was happy it was a more dynamic course than a simple, strong man's course."
Now that he's donned the stars and stripes for the first time in his career, Rosskopf is looking forward to some well-deserved rest and returning to the Tour of Utah and the new Colorado Classic.
"It's been really hard to keep the form going these past three weeks after the Giro. I'm looking forward to Utah and Colorado, it's always such a pleasure to race there."
As thrilled as Rosskopf was to win, his teammate Bookwalter was equally pleased with his teammate's result even if it meant another frustrating podium - his third in the time trial nationals.
"I can't get it right at nationals," Bookwalter said. "It's a testament to one of my greatest strengths, which is consistency, but at the national championships it's not about consistency, it's about being up for a big ride on one day. I haven't been able to put it together."
He didn't blame the course or his preparation, saying only that Rosskopf put in "an awesome ride".
"He's one of the most underrated guys in the team and in the WorldTour. I've been saying it time and again this year how he keeps stepping it up and getting better. Although I'm really bummed and disappointed to miss - to come away second at a national championship, I'm happy that it's my buddy and teammate that was able to do it."
Powless was one of four Axeon Hagens Berman riders in the top 10, and was proud of his and his teammates' results.
"I started out a little hard because I was excited about the race, but at the end of the day I had as great of a ride as I could have hoped. I'm really happy with finishing third, there's no shame in finishing behind two proven WorldTour riders."
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Joey Rosskopf (USA) BMC Racing Team||0:36:25|
|2||Brent Bookwalter (USA) BMC Racing Team||0:00:57|
|3||Neilson Powless (USA) Axeon Hagens Berman||0:01:14|
|4||William Barta (USA) Axeon Hagens Berman||0:01:31|
|5||Larry Warbasse (USA) Aqua Blue Sport||0:01:44|
|6||Kyle Murphy (USA) Cylance||0:01:47|
|7||Alexey Vermeulen (USA) Team LottoNl-Jumbo||0:02:07|
|8||Cameron Piper (USA) Team Illuminate||0:02:17|
|9||Geoffrey Curran (USA) Axeon Hagens Berman||0:02:17|
|10||Christopher Blevins (USA) Axeon Hagens Berman||0:02:33|
|11||Daniel Eaton (USA) UnitedHealthcare Professional Cycling Team||0:02:39|
|12||Ezekiel Mostov (USA) Aevolo Cycling Inc.||0:02:40|
|13||T.J. Eisenhart (USA) Holowesko | Citadel||0:02:40|
|14||Brendan Rhim (USA) Holowesko | Citadel||0:02:40|
|15||Evan Huffman (USA) Rally Cycling||0:02:45|
|16||Cory Lockwood (USA) Connor Brown (USA) Elevate-KHS Pro Cycling||0:02:46|
|17||Ian Garrison (USA) Axeon Hagens Berman||0:03:01|
|18||Gage Hecht (USA) Aevolo Cycling Inc.||0:03:03|
|19||Stephen Bassett (USA) Sibler Pro Cycling||0:03:06|
|20||Gregory Daniel (USA) Trek-Segafredo||0:03:06|
|21||Gavin Mannion (USA) UnitedHealthcare Professional Cycling Team||0:03:09|
|22||Brandon Mcnulty (USA) Rally Cycling||0:03:16|
|23||Mackenzie Brennan (USA) Holowesko | Citadel||0:03:21|
|24||Jonathan Brown (USA) Axeon Hagens Berman||0:03:23|
|25||George Simpson (USA) Gateway Harley-David||0:03:24|
|26||Benjamin Wolfe (USA) Jelly Belly p/b Maxx||0:03:27|
|27||Micah Engle (USA) Gateway Harley-David||0:03:30|
|28||Edward Anderson (USA) Axeon Hagens Berman||0:03:34|
|29||Grant Koontz (USA) Arapahoe Resources||0:03:58|
|30||Connor Brown (USA) Elevate-KHS Pro Cycling||0:04:06|
|31||Connor Brown (USA) Elevate-KHS Pro Cycling||0:04:23|
|32||Hunter Grove (USA) Cylance||0:04:27|
|33||Bryan Lewis (USA) Cylance||0:04:34|
|34||Matthew Zimmer (USA) Gateway Harley-David||0:05:05|
|35||Noah Granigan (USA) CCB Velotooler||0:05:43|
|36||Evan Bybee (USA) Arapahoe Resources||0:06:35|
|DNS||Ricky Randall (USA) Arapahoe Resources|