Weekly wrap: North American road races, teams and riders

North American pros continued to celebrate strong performances in both the US and overseas events last week. The USA Cycling’s National Racing Calendar (NRC) was updated following round three at the Joe Martin Stage Race. In addition, many of the continent’s top-level riders are racing in the Spring Classics and overseas stage races. Check out a few of the highlights from the peloton.

Athens Twilight kicks off the USA Crits Speed Week

Daniel Holloway (Athlete Octane Cycling) and Tina Pic (Fearless Femme) won the elite men’s and women’s Athens Twilight Criterium on Saturday. The popular high-speed criterium kicked off the USA Crits Speed Week, a five-event series held throughout Georgia and South Carolina. The series continued on Sunday at the Historic Roswell criterium where Holloway and Pic took their second consecutive victories. The series continues at the Downtown Walterboro criterium on April 30 and Spartanburg Regional Classic on May 2, both in South Carolina. The racing concludes and the Speed Week winners will be crowned at the Gaffney Criterium on May 3 in South Carolina.

McCabe and Stephens lead the NRC after round three

Travis McCabe (Team SmartStop) and Lauren Stephens (Tibco-To The Top) are leading the USA Cycling National Racing Calendar (NRC) following their performances at the Joe Martin Stage Race held from April 24-27 in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

McCabe, who went into the event as the NRC leader, finished the Joe Martin Stage Race in fifth, behind overall winner Ian Crane (Jamis-Hagens Berman p/b Sutter Home), Ryan Roth (Jet Fuel Coffee-Norco Bicycles), Ben Jacques-Maynes (Jamis-Hagens Berman p/b Sutter Home) and Emerson Orante (Horizon Organic/Einstein Bros.).

Stephens’s overall win pushed her into the NRC lead, ahead of Redlands Bicycle Classic winner Tayler Wiles (Specialized-lululemon). Stephens won the stage race ahead of Laura Brown (Colavita-Fine Cooking) and Jo Kiesanowski (Tibco-To The Top).

Howes on the attack in Liège-Bastogne-Liège

Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEdge) topped the podium at Liège-Bastogne-Liège ahead of Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma-Quickstep) on April 27 in Belgium. America’s Alex Howes (Garmin-Sharp) made a late-race move with several other rides but it was short-lived as teams BMC and Movistar kept the peloton speeds high heading into the finish line. Other North Americans in the race were Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Sharp), Christian Meier (Orica-GreenEdge), Ian Boswell and Danny Pate (Team Sky), Thomas Peterson (Giant-Shimano) and Matthew Busche (Trek Factory Racing).

Bookwalter aides in BMC’s success at the Giro del Trentino

Cadel Evans (BMC) won the overall title at the Giro del Trentino held from April 22-25 in Italy. He won the four-day race ahead of Domenico Pozzovivo (Ag2r-La Mondiale) and Przemyslaw Niemiec (Lampre-Merida). His American teammate, Brent Bookwalter, helped the team win the opening team time trial that put Daniel Oss in the leader’s jersey. He and the rest of the team continued to work to keep Evans in the leader’s jersey for the following three stages. Bookwalter placed 43rd overall and his fellow countrymen Ian Boswell (Team Sky) placed 59th and Evan Huffman (Astana) 88th.

UnitedHealthcare makes the move at Flèche Wallonne

American pro continental team UnitedHealthcare continued its opportunistic performances during the Spring Classics with its Australian rider, Jonny Clarke, making the all-day breakaway at La Flèche Wallonne on April 23. He entered the breakaway early on with Ramunas Navardauskas (Garmin-Sharp) and Preben Van Hecke (Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise). Clarke fell off pace with roughly 50km to go and the remaining two breakaway riders were reabsorbed into the field with 12km left, before the last climb over the Mur de Huy. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) made his winning over the ascent and onto the finish line, ahead of Dan Martin (Garmin-Sharp) and Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma-QuickStep).

North American riders on the start line included Danny Pate (Team Sky), Alex Howes and Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Sharp), Lawrence Warbasse (BMC), Matthew Busche (Trek Factory Racing), Christian Meier (Orica-GreenEdge), Thomas Peterson (Giant-Shimano), Lucas Euser, Chris Jones and Kiel Reijnen (UnitedHealthcare).

Stevens fourth at La Flèche Wallonne Féminine

North Americans put forth a series of strong performance with Meghan Guarnier (Boels Dolmans Cycling) in 17th, Lauren Hall (USA National Team) in 20th, Karol-Ann Canuel (Specialized-lululemon) 23rd, Leah Kirchmann (Canada) in 27th, Lauren Komanski (USA National Team) 40th, Stephanie Roorda (Canada) 56th, Ally Stacher (Specialized-lululemon) 58th, Gabrielle Pilote-Fortin (Poitou-Charentes Futuroscope.86) 66th and Tayler Wiles (Specialized-lululemon) in 81st place.

Parx Casino Philly Cycling Classic announce participating teams

Organizers of the Philadelphia Cycling Classic announced the teams that will be participating at the UCI 1.1 men’s and women’s events held on June 1 in Pennsylvania. Men’s pro continental teams include Drapac Professional Cycling, Team NetApp-Endura, Team Novo Nordisk and UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team. Men’s continental teams include 5-Hour Energy-Kenda, Airgas Pro Cycling, Amore & Vita Selle SMP, Astellas Cycling, Champion System-Stan’s NoTubes, Christina Watches Kuma, Budget Fork Lifts, Hincapie Sportswear, Incycle -Predator Components, Jamis-Hagens Berman, Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis, Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies, Quebecor Garneau, Silbor Pro Cycling and Smartstop p/b Mountain Khakis.

Women’s UCI teams include Astana BePink, China Chongming Giant Champion System, Forno D’Asolo, Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies, Specialized-lululemon, TIBCO-To The Top and UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team. Women’s elite teams are Colavita-Fine Cooking, CRCA/CityMD, EPS/CSS/Riptide, FCS/Zngine p/b Mr. Restore, LG Factory Team, Mellow Mushroom, MidAtlantic BZH/Hilltop, NCCH p/b DEC Express, Peanut Butter & Co-Human Zoom, SAS Mazda-Macogep p/b Specialized, Stan’s NoTubes p/b Endurance Werx, Stevens Racing, Twenty16 and Zimmer Capital.

Stay tuned to Cyclingnews next Tuesday for our next weekly edition of race recaps and previews of what’s ahead in the North American road racing scene.

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