Greg Daniel (Axeon Hagens Berman) - race winner
Honestly, we came in here with just Logan Owen and myself, and we were thinking Logan for the sprint and me for the breakaway. It worked out pretty well from the start, I was in the break and Logan could just sit on and let the other teams do the chasing. When we got caught, a few counter attacks went. In the last lap Logan was off the front, and I could just relax. When he got caught, there were a few moves that went, but I think everyone was pretty tired at that point, so I was just following wheels. And the other teams - I didn't have full support, and other teams were giving me water. It's nice to have that cycling family. It's nice to see the camaraderie and sportsmanship.
[On coming off Tour of California]: I know a lot of the time after you race an eight-day stage race, you either come off really good or are completely destroyed. That really helped with the form today. I went in to Tour of California well rested, and after it I took a nice break. I opened up with the time trial yesterday - a 'nice' one hour opener. Today, I felt really good. Prior to that I was racing with USA Cycling and Axeon in Europe, and I think constantly racing and having the miles in the legs helped me today.
Alex Howes (Cannondale) - second place
We just had three of us, and we tried to put a little pressure on the other teams. We wanted an aggressive race. I think we did that pretty well. Ben [King] was phenomenal, Phil [Gaimon] was as good as you could ask anyone to be. They did a good job of keeping me in the race, keeping it active, and putting the hurt on them. It's pretty hard not to be able to win for them.
[On the Winston-Salem course] It's not a very challenging course, so it had to be an aggressive race if it was going to be hard, and it was certainly hard. I don't think it's a bad course, but when you're putting together a championship event, you need something that's open to anyone in the nation, I suppose. It is frustrating that it was pretty tactical especially the last few laps.
Travis McCabe (Holowesko-Citadel) - third place
We pretty much had the same game plan as Cannondale. We just wanted to have fun and race aggressive. We always had someone in the move. We wanted to make it as hard as possible. It looks challenging, but it's not, when you're on it it's really fast. WIth only Manly Street as the decisive climb, we knew we had to keep the pressure on. We were playing our cards. This is a race that anyone can win, but it's a hard race to win. We were all trying to go for it, and we were all happy with whatever happened.
I thought [Greg Daniel] was going to win when I saw him go. We had Alex, I was there, Oscar [Clark] was there. When Greg went, no one could react. He got 15-20 seconds on us right away. Once he took that last corner, he was gone. He's so strong and aero, even in that headwind, he can put the power down and hold it. There's no surprise there. We tried to bring it back, but with only five guys left and everyone looking around - we knew we were racing for second at that point.
I think it was a good course, personally I thought it would be a bigger group at the finish. I think the heat was a huge factor, and everyone underestimates that. The distance was good, making it a little longer than previous years, and everyone was tired at the end. It's a course that suits the real punchy riders like the three of us, who have the power. It negated all the climbers, and it was much more of a gamble. This course was a race of attrition, but I'm happy with it.
Taylor Sheldon (Jelly Belly) - 10th
[On his last lap attack with Logan Owen]: I didn't know if it would stick, but I was hoping would catch out the WorldTour guys like Howes and Reijnen and Bookwalter who were all going to beat me in a sprint. It was perfect, those other guys came across to us, but unfortunately I used up a little too much earlier in the race and I didn't have anything left on that last climb. It is what it is. It was a really good course. The best nationals course I've done - good rolling roads, small roads, strong field. Most of us were coming off California and had good rides there, so we raced aggressively getting guys in the break. It didn't play out exactly how we wanted it, but overall pretty good for the team.
John Murphy (UnitedHealthcare) - 11th, won the field sprint
There were a bunch of attacks in the last lap and we did our best to cover everything. Daniel Eaton was phenomenal making the last move. Coming into the bottom we were 10 seconds back and I did what I could to bridge, I just didn't have the legs. This course has no script. We didn't ride for a sprint, it kind of fell into our hands that I was there at the end and I was good enough to give it a try, but unfortunately not good enough to go over the last climb in the front. The course was awesome. I really like that there is no big climb to solidify how the race is going to play out. It makes it more interesting, you never know if the break's going to make it or a team is going to control it, or what is going to happen. It makes for more fun racing.
Ben King (Cannondale)
We wanted to wear everyone out and whittle it down to a small group for Alex. We never wanted it to be easy, even if there was a break up the road. I attacked a lot of times. At the end I was really tired. I knew I'd spent a lot of energy but that was to set up Alex. I just kept trying to follow stuff. I was in a little group toward the finish and I looked back and saw Alex coming, so I sat up and got him on the wheel and pulled him up to the group at the base of the last hill with 1k to go. I think he won the group sprint, but with Greg off the front it didn't work out. Greg did a good ride today and I'm really proud of him. He's a good kid.
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Laura Weislo has been with Cyclingnews since 2006 after making a switch from a career in science. As Managing Editor, she coordinates coverage for North American events and global news. As former elite-level road racer who dabbled in cyclo-cross and track, Laura has a passion for all three disciplines. When not working she likes to go camping and explore lesser traveled roads, paths and gravel tracks. Laura's beat is anti-doping, UCI governance and data analysis.