Joey Rosskopf wins USA men's road title

Joey Rosskopf (Rally Cycling) used multiple attacks in the final 15 kilometres of the USA Cycling Pro Road Championships to win his first men’s elite road race crown. 

In the closing metres in downtown Knoxville, Tennessee, Brent Bookwalter (Team BikeExchange) held on for silver and Kyle Murphy (Rally Cycling) claimed bronze. 

Alexey Vermeulen (Canyon-Shimano-Q+M) took fourth, followed by Thursday’s time trial champion Lawson Craddock (EF Education-Nippo) in fifth and Chad Haga (Team DSM) in sixth from an elite group of breakaway riders.

In the final kilometre, five riders surged ahead with big efforts and multiple attacks. Rosskopf gave it everything on the final downtown turns to go free on Clinch Avenue, not seeing anyone close behind him. The remnants of the breakaway crossed the line just seconds later, Bookwalter three seconds back and Murphy five seconds back.

“Well I was all-in with a lap and a half to go, and spent a lap out front alone. I thought that was my move. I got brought back and was a little fried, but everybody was. We just had such good numbers all day. The team was amazing,” Rosskopf said before receiving his stars-and-stripes jersey on the podium.

“The last lap was just anyone’s race. Kyle was unbelievable; he was out there all day. I have no idea how he had the legs to do that, and he even got on the podium. It was just unbelievable. This feels a little bit sweeter, a lot has to align to get the road race.”

Rosskopf, a two-time US Pro time trial national champion, wining both times in Knoxville in 2017 and 2018, was fourth on Thursday in the time trial.

“I’m over the moon. I’m so happy Joey won. It’s just the best. It’s what we are supposed to do. We are one of the strongest teams here. It was challenging, but it was what we needed to do,” third-placed Murphy told Cyclingnews at the finish. “Joey is such a classy rider, and we had total faith in him.  We knew he was on good form, and he made the right move. Then it was just a matter of making sure no one else could get up to him.”

Rally Cycling had strength in numbers, starting with nine riders and putting three riders in the final breakaway that formed with three of the 15 laps to go in the 190.9km road race.

“The goal was to isolate the WorldTour teams by getting in a move. I was on the climb in a good position, riding next to [Alex] Howes and I figured if I went he would have to follow and spent a bullet on the climb,” Murphy said about the original move. 

“So I went for it over the top, and luckily Sam Boardman [L30ION of Los Angeles] came along, he’s so strong. And then George [Simpson of Project Echelon] bridged up and we had a really smooth ride. We could cruise it, and forced the WorldTour teams to chase. 

“In the finale it came back together and we had numbers, and then it was just a matter of throwing bombs and following moves.”

Bookwalter, who announced his retirement for the end of this season, was flying solo at his final national championships.

“The whole race I was trying to follow everything, it’s overwhelming being alone out there. Rally had those big numbers, and they were in the driver’s seat the whole race. Joey is a dear, dear friend so if one of those three guys [from Rally] who had to stay away, I’m happy to see him pull it off,” Bookwalter said about another miss at the title. Since 2008 he’s lined up at the US Pro road race 10 times now, finishing in the top 10 five times.

How it unfolded

The weather continued to cooperate after the elite women’s road race with clouds rolling across eastern Tennessee to provide some relief from rising temperatures and humidity. 

The peloton rolled out of downtown Knoxville on Gay Street en force, with 146 starters. On the schedule was 15 laps of a 12.6 kilometre course for a total of 190.9 kilometres. The twisty course began with a first pass over the Tennessee River, views of the University of Tennessee’s Neyland Stadium on the right and the Great Smoky Mountains in the distance on the left.

After the opening kilometre the peloton hit the only significant climb of the race of Sherrod Road, a 1 kilometre ascent with sections of 10 per cent gradient. 

A small group of riders tried to make a move, including Will Barta (EF Education-Nippo), Eric Brunner (Aevolo), Chad Haga (Team DSM) and Jack Bardi (Gateway Devo). The next two laps remained status quo through the start/finish.

On the third lap a breakaway formed that included EF Education-Nippo riders Tejay Van Garderen and time trial champion Lawson Craddock, two Rally Cycling riders Colin Joyce and Magnus Sheffield,  Haga, Ty Magner (L39ION of Los Angeles), Aevolo’s Gage Hecht and Matthew Zimmer (Project Echelon).

Heading out for lap four, the lead group had grown to 11, with George Simpson (Project Echelon), Jack Bardi (Gateway Devo) and Jonny Brown (Evo Pro Racing) joining the other eight. Alexey Vermeulen (Canyon-Shimano-Q+M) was just 13 seconds back and made the catch on the climb.

With 138 kilometres to go and the riders all together, it was time for Murphy to give it a go. He was joined by Sam Boardman (L30ION of Los Angeles) on the descent of Sherrod to head out on the out-and-back straightaway of James White Parkway. Four miles later, Sean Guydish (Kelly Benefit Strategies Elite Cycling) moved off the front of the peloton to try to bridge to the Murphy-Boardman duo, who had a 1:10 cushion.

With 10 laps remaining, Drake Deuel (Team California) was by himself, 44 seconds behind the leaders, before dropping back to the peloton. George Simpson (Project Echelon) had joined forces with Guydish in a chase, 59 seconds back. The field had not given up by any means, but had fallen back to 2:50.

Heading to the halfway point of the race, the midday temperatures climbed close to the 90-degree mark making ice bags a necessity in the feed zones. Simpson was 52 seconds back of Murphy and Boardman, and Guydish was beginning to lose touch with Simpson. A threesome of Innokenty Zavyalov (Guillotine Cycling-Cervelo) Liam Flanagan (Kelly Benefit Strategies Elite) and Deuel were working together 3:53 back and the peloton was down another 1:11.

On the eighth climb of Sherrod Road, Simpson was trying to make the catch of the two leaders, which he accomplished after the descent.  

Simpson, Boardman and Murphy were back to a 3:20 lead over the peloton with six laps to go, with Chris Riekert (Team Mike’s Bikes p/b Equator Coffees) and Barry Miller chasing 2 minutes back and Sean Gardner (CS Velo Racing) creating a small gap of 21 seconds in front of the main field.

EF Education-First, with all four riders at the front, worked to eat away at the leaders’ time, bringing it down to just under a minute with five laps to go. Three of the EF group continued on for the 10th climb of Sherrod Road, however, it was the end of the day for Will Barta, who decided not to continue.

Two Rally Cycling riders, Robin Carpenter and Nathan Brown, were next to push the pace with Haga of Team DSM as a fractured peloton headed to the 11th climb of Sherrod Road, making the catch of Simpson. Only seconds behind were another 24 riders, but Murphy and Boardman were still surviving at the front, but reeled in by a group of seven to form nine – Haga, Vermeulen, Craddock, Gavin Mannion, Murphy, Boardman, Hecht, Simpson and Bookwalter. Rosskopf then became the third Rally Cycling rider trying to join, from what was left of the peloton trailing another 45 seconds back.

With two laps to go, Simpson was no longer in the lead group and back in the reduced peloton. Howes was in a time trial mode and trying to chase down the leaders, towing Scott McGill (Aevolo). 

Rosskopf launched an attack with 17.7 kilometres to go and held a lead of just 17 seconds on the bell lap of the road circuit, which he held until 6.5 kilometres to go. Then after multiple attacks, Rosskopf launched his final, and winning, attack to take the victory solo.

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Full Results
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Joseph Rosskopf (USA) Rally Cycling 4:38:11
2Brent Bookwalter (USA) Team BikeExchange 0:00:03
3Kyle Murphy (USA) Rally Cycling 0:00:05
4Alexey Vermeulen (USA) Canyon - Shimano - Q+M 0:00:06
5Lawson Craddock (USA) EF Education-Nippo 0:00:10
6Chad Haga (USA) Team DSM 0:00:13
7Gavin Mannion (USA) Rally Cycling 0:01:13
8Samuel Boardman (USA) L39ION of Los Angeles 0:01:41
9Gage Hecht (USA) Aevolo 0:01:43
10Scott Mcgill (USA) Aevolo 0:02:32
11Alex Howes (USA) EF Education-Nippo 0:02:33
12Jonathan Brown (USA) Evo Pro Racing 0:02:34
13Nathan Brown (USA) Rally Cycling 0:02:53
14Brendan Rhim (USA) Evo Pro Racing 0:04:03
15Benjamin King (USA) Rally Cycling 0:05:20
16Magnus Sheffield (USA) Rally Cycling
17Matthew Riccitello (USA) Hagens Berman Axeon
18Alex Hoehn (USA) Wildlife Generation Pro Cycling 0:05:21
19Kevin Vermaerke (USA) Team DSM
20Quinn Simmons (USA) Trek-Segafredo 0:05:22
21Sean Mcelroy (USA) Aevolo 0:06:44
22Tyler Williams (USA) L39ION of Los Angeles
23George Simpson (USA) Project Echelon
24Gregory Daniel (USA) Groove Subaru
25Lance Haidet (USA) L39ION of Los Angeles 0:06:45
26Robin Carpenter (USA) Rally Cycling
27Stephen Bassett (USA) Rally Cycling
28Tyler Stites (USA) Aevolo 0:09:39
-1 lapNoah Granigan (USA) Wildlife Generation Pro Cycling
-2 lapsOliver Flautt (USA) ButcherBox Cycling
Row 30 - Cell 0 Stephen Vogel (USA) Project Echelon
Row 31 - Cell 0 Tanner Ward (USA) First Internet Bank Cycling
Row 32 - Cell 0 Colin Joyce (USA) Rally Cycling
Row 33 - Cell 0 Kiel Reijnen (USA) Trek-Segafredo
Row 34 - Cell 0 Barry Miller (USA)
Row 35 - Cell 0 Eric Brunner (USA) Aevolo
Row 36 - Cell 0 Ian Garrison (USA) Deceuninck-QuickStep
Row 37 - Cell 0 Jack Bardi (USA) Gateway Devo Cycling
Row 38 - Cell 0 Zach Gregg (USA) Project Echelon
-3 lapsMatthew Zimmer (USA) Project Echelon
-3 lapsJason Saltzman (USA) Wildlife Generation Pro Cycling
-4 lapsRichard Arnopol (USA) Project Echelon
Row 42 - Cell 0 Cory Greenberg (USA) Dauner-Akkon Pro Cycling
Row 43 - Cell 0 Tejay van Garderen (USA) EF Education-Nippo
Row 44 - Cell 0 Brennan Wertz (USA) Team Mikes Bikes p/b Equator C
Row 45 - Cell 0 Sean Gardner (USA) CS Velo Racing
Row 46 - Cell 0 Spencer Moavenzadeh (USA) ButcherBox Cycling
Row 47 - Cell 0 Chaz Hogenauer (USA) Rio Grande Elite Cycling Team
Row 48 - Cell 0 Sean Christian (USA) CINCH ELITE
Row 49 - Cell 0 Connor Sallee (USA) ButcherBox Cycling
Row 50 - Cell 0 Eric Young (USA) Elevate-Webiplex Pro Cycling
Row 51 - Cell 0 Timothy Coffey (USA) Yoeleo Test Team p/b 4Mind Proj
Row 52 - Cell 0 Conor Schunk (USA) Aevolo
Row 53 - Cell 0 Brody Mcdonald (USA) Gateway Devo Cycling
Row 54 - Cell 0 Peter Olejniczak (USA) Project Echelon
Row 55 - Cell 0 James Hilyer (USA) Rio Grande Elite Cycling Team
Row 56 - Cell 0 Innokenty Zavyalov (USA) Guillotine Cycling - Cervelo
Row 57 - Cell 0 Kent Ross (USA) Wildlife Generation Pro Cycling
-5 lapsSeth Jones (USA) CCN Metalac Sunbelt
Row 59 - Cell 0 Travis Mccabe (USA) Best Buddies Racing
Row 60 - Cell 0 Liam Flanagan (USA) Kelly Benefit Strategies Elite
Row 61 - Cell 0 Ethan Overson (USA) CINCH ELITE
Row 62 - Cell 0 Aidan Mcneil (USA) Aevolo
-6 lapsWilliam Barta (USA) EF Education-Nippo
-7 lapsAllan Schroeder (USA) CS Velo Racing
Row 65 - Cell 0 Spencer Miller (USA) Kelly Benefit Strategies Elite
Row 66 - Cell 0 Owen Musser (USA) Kelly Benefit Strategies Elite
Row 67 - Cell 0 Evan Bausbacher (USA) Gateway Devo Cycling
Row 68 - Cell 0 Jarret Oldham (USA) First Internet Bank Cycling
Row 69 - Cell 0 Justin Mcquerry (USA) Team Skyline
Row 70 - Cell 0 Parker Kyzer (USA) Team Skyline
Row 71 - Cell 0 Joshua Rinderknecht (USA) CINCH ELITE
Row 72 - Cell 0 Alexander Marr (USA) Rio Grande Elite Cycling Team
Row 73 - Cell 0 Sam Smith (USA) Kelly Benefit Strategies Elite
Row 74 - Cell 0 Sean Guydish (USA) Kelly Benefit Strategies Elite
Row 75 - Cell 0 William Teal (USA) Fount Cycling Guild
Row 76 - Cell 0 Brett Rindt (USA) Rio Grande Elite Cycling Team
Row 77 - Cell 0 Colin Fitzgerald (USA) Doylestown Bike Works p/b Fred
Row 78 - Cell 0 John Heinlein Iii (USA) Project Echelon
Row 79 - Cell 0 Hugo Scala Jr. (USA) Gateway Devo Cycling
Row 80 - Cell 0 Tyrel Fuchs (USA) Elevate-Webiplex Pro Cycling
Row 81 - Cell 0 William Cooper (USA) CS Velo Racing
Row 82 - Cell 0 Tayne Andrade (USA) Rio Grande Elite Cycling Team
Row 83 - Cell 0 Tim Mcbirney (USA) Team California
-8 lapsQuintin Chiapperino (USA) CINCH ELITE
Row 85 - Cell 0 John Purvis (USA) First Internet Bank Cycling
Row 86 - Cell 0 Chase Wark (USA) Guillotine Cycling - Cervelo
Row 87 - Cell 0 Eli Husted (USA) Elevate-Webiplex Pro Cycling
Row 88 - Cell 0 Cory Lockwood (USA) CINCH ELITE
Row 89 - Cell 0 Gabriel Shipley (USA) Aevolo
DNFRyan Jastrab (USA) Wildlife Generation Pro Cycling
DNFSpencer Petrov (USA) Wildlife Generation Pro Cycling
DNFLucas Bourgoyne (USA) Hagens Berman Axeon
DNFMichael Garrison (USA) Hagens Berman Axeon
DNFSimon Jones (USA) Hagens Berman Axeon
DNFColby Lange (USA) Hagens Berman Axeon
DNFSamuel Bassetti (USA) Elevate-Webiplex Pro Cycling
DNFGavin Hoover (USA) Elevate-Webiplex Pro Cycling
DNFEddy Huntsman (USA) Elevate-Webiplex Pro Cycling
DNFCade Bickmore (USA) Aevolo
DNFTyler Magner (USA) L39ION of Los Angeles
DNFAngel mu??Oz (USA) L39ION of Los Angeles
DNFSamuel Hunter Snipe Grove (USA) L39ION of Los Angeles
DNFCory Williams (USA) L39ION of Los Angeles
DNFAndrew Scott (USA) Team Skyline
DNFJake Castor (USA) Team Skyline
DNFClayton Travis (USA) Team Skyline
DNFElias Lawson (USA) Yoeleo Test Team p/b 4MindProje
DNFEvan Hartig (USA) Project Echelon
DNFJohn Harris (USA) ButcherBox Cycling
DNFRyan Knapp (USA) First Internet Bank Cycling
DNFRobert Sroka (USA) First Internet Bank Cycling
DNFDrake Deuel (USA) Team California
DNFJovanni Stefani (USA) Team California
DNFSean Burger (USA) CS Velo Racing
DNFAndrew Giniat (USA) CS Velo Racing
DNFWilliam Gleason (USA) CS Velo Racing
DNFTaylor Warren (USA) CS Velo Racing
DNFCaleb Classen (USA) Foundation CCB
DNFJared Scott (USA) Foundation CCB
DNFPeter Behm (USA) Rio Grande Elite Cycling Team
DNFMatti Rowe (USA) Rio Grande Elite Cycling Team
DNFHenry York (USA) Rio Grande Elite Cycling Team
DNFJackson Duncan (USA) Team Mikes Bikes p/b Equator C
DNFDillon Hollinger (USA) Team Mikes Bikes p/b Equator C
DNFMiles Hubbard (USA) Team Mikes Bikes p/b Equator C
DNFRoman Kilun (USA) Team Mikes Bikes p/b Equator C
DNFMax Korus (USA) Team Mikes Bikes p/b Equator C
DNFChris Riekert (USA) Team Mikes Bikes p/b Equator C
DNFCooper Shanks (USA) Team Mikes Bikes p/b Equator C
DNFAndrew Shimizu (USA) Team Mikes Bikes p/b Equator C
DNFMichael Hernandez (USA) Best Buddies Racing
DNFBenjamin Wolfe (USA) Best Buddies Racing
DNFBrian Hitchcock (USA) Fount Cycling Guild
DNFScott Ofarrell (USA) Fount Cycling Guild
DNFDavid Richter (USA) Fount Cycling Guild
DNFBranden Russell (USA) Fount Cycling Guild
DNFJustin Bird (USA) Team MACK Racing Elite
DNFIan Borella (USA) Team MACK Racing Elite
DNFDustin Morici (USA) Team MACK Racing Elite
DNFJacob Slosar (USA) Team MACK Racing Elite
DNFAndrew Dudle (USA) Doylestown Bike Works p/b Fred
DNFAndrew Crater (USA) Supra Functional Food Bars
DNFCaleb Smith (USA) Supra Functional Food Bars
DNFLuke Lamperti (USA) TRINITY Racing
DNFGorgi Popstefanov (USA) Equipe CMI

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