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Oregon set for USA title showdowns

Elite women's podium (L-R): Evelyn Stevens (CRCA), Jessica Phillips (Lip Smackers) and Alison Powers (Team Type 1).

Elite women's podium (L-R): Evelyn Stevens (CRCA), Jessica Phillips (Lip Smackers) and Alison Powers (Team Type 1). (Image credit: Team Type 1)

The USA Cycling Elite, Under 23 and Junior Road National Championships will be held in Bend, Oregon for the second consecutive year from June 22 to 27. The nation’s top contenders will take on the time trial, criterium and road race in pursuit of the prestigious stars and stripes jersey.

The west-coast will once again provide the most challenging mountain terrain for the championship events, beginning with the Skyliner Time Trial on Thursday, June 24. The 35 kilometre route will start with an uphill along Skyliner Rd and turn around to descend back toward the start line. The riders will veer left and complete one short loop that includes a second hill before returning to the finish line.

The opening elite event will be highlighted with the return of the previous year’s elite women’s race winner Jessica Phillips (Colavita-Baci) and Under 23 winner Jackie Crowell (Team Type 1). Both talents will no doubt want to defend their stars and stripes jersey.

Other notable time trialists include former national champion Alison Powers (Vera Bradley Foundation), Alison Starnes (Tibco-To the Top), Lauren Tamayo and Mara Abbott (Peanut Butter & Co TWENTY12), Amber Neben (Webcor Builders) and Evelyn Stevens (HTC-Columbia).

The Under 23 men’s category is wide open with defending champion Peter Stetina not taking part in the event. Stetina graduated to the Garmin-Transitions ProTour team following his development years with the Under 23 Holowesko Partners-Garmin squad. Strong time trialist include Ben King (Trek-Livestrong), Walker Savidge, Carter Jones (Jelly Belly-Kenda) and Andrew Talansky (California Giant Berry Farms).

Michael Olheiser will return to defend his title in the elite men’s time trial.

The racing will continue with the US Criterium National Championships on Friday, June 25 in Downtown Bend. This year the elite women’s category was moved from its traditional location in Downers Grove, Illinois.

The 1.3 km circuit is one of the highlighted stages at the Cascade Cycling Classic held in mid-July. The rectangular course will see riders race along Wall St and Bond St, parallel roads in the entertainment and shopping district.

Defending champion and six-time winner Tina Pic will not be competing, having retired from professional cycling at the end of last year. She has since returned as the directeur sportif of the Colavita-Baci team and will guide her athlete and former event winner Theresa Cliff-Ryan in hopes of a second victory.

Other criterium specialists include former winner Brooke Miller (Tibco-To the Top) and Shelley Evans (Peanut Butter & Co-TWENTY12). Samantha Schneider (Tibco-To the Top) returns to defend the Under 23 title. The elite/under 23 women’s race will total 50 km in distance.

Alex Howes (Holowesko Partners) will look to secure the jersey for a second consecutive year in the 60 km U23 men’s race. He will be met with tough competition from rivals Luke Keough (BikeReg-Cannondale), Cody O’Reilly (Bissell) and team-mates Justin Williams and Iggy Silva (Trek-Livestrong).

The racing will conclude with the marquee event: the US Road National Championships. The Awbrey Butte Circuit Race is also used as a stage in the Cascade Cycling Classic and regarded as one of the toughest of circuits. It includes a 27 km loop with two decisive back-to-back ascents, followed by a fast descent to the finish line.

The Under 23 Men will compete for the title on Saturday, June 26. They will take on six laps for a total of 160 km. Howes will line up in defense of the prestigious jersey with a crew of strong team-mates Andrew Baker, Peter Salon and Danny Summerhill. Other contenders include Talansky, Walker, O’Reilly, King and Jacob Rathe (Jelly Belly-Kenda).

The elite/U23 women’s road race will take place on Sunday, June 27. Defending champion Meredith Miller (Tibco-To the Top) will face tough competition from Evelyn Stevens and Kim Anderson (HTC-Columbia), Alisha Welsh and Mara Abbott (Peanut Butter &Co-TWENTY12), Carmen Small (Colavita-Baci), Amber Neben and Katheryn Mattis (Webcor Builders) and Alison Powers (Vera Bradley Foundation). Amy Dombroski won the Under 23 title last year.

The elite men’s road race will conclude the championships event. They will compete over six laps totaling 160 km. Last year’s event was won by Michael Olheiser.

Location of courses

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