Joey Rosskopf (BMC Racing) successfully defended his title at the US pro time trial Thursday, beating Chad Haga (Team Sunweb) and teammate Brent Bookwalter on the 33.7km course outside of Oak Ridge, Tennessee.
Rosskopf started in the rain that had been coming down since the very first riders went out on course, but the precipitation let up for the final of his three laps. He clocked a time of 39:46, the only rider to break the 40-minute barrier. Haga was 28 seconds slower for second, while Bookwalter was another six seconds back.
Rosskopf is now the first rider to win back-to-back US men's time trial titles since Dave Zabriske did it in 2011 and 2012.
"It's super special.," Rosskopf said. "There's no way I can show up for a race like this expecting it to happen. Everything has to come together perfectly. You saw the weather shaped up the last lap, which was a big advantage for me.
"It's hard to show up here and know that [Neilson] Powless, Haga and Brent have all done better time trials than me pretty much all season every time we've raced against each other," he said. "It's just something special came together this year and last year at nationals."
Haga started the day in the second of four rider 'waves' and raced under unrelenting rain. He set the fastest time by two minutes over previous leader Sean Bennett (Hagens Berman Axeon), then had a long wait for Rosskopf and the rest to finish.
"I did my best race possible," Haga said. "I pretty much paced it well. There were a couple tiny mistakes in the wet as I figured out the course, the tight turns and a couple others out there. But I paced it well and thought I put in a winning ride. I went as fast as I could, and it came down to what the other guys could do."
Haga wasn't sure how much of an advantage Rosskopf had with the weather, but he said he was frustrated that he didn't have a start time in the final wave with the other top contenders.
"It's hard to be sure," he said. "There were some dry spots out there, and if those dry spots are in the corners or before the corners you can brake a little bit later and shave seconds per lap.
"That's what I'm frustrated about," Haga said. "I feel I should have been in the last wave with those guys, and then I wouldn't have the niggling 'what ifs' in the back of my head. But that's time trialing. Weather is fickle, and that's how it goes."
How it unfolded
While the women raced on dry roads with no wind, the 38 men competing for the US title experienced a wet day out on the course around Melton Lake Reservoir, with precipitation falling after the first wave of riders completed their first of three laps.
Hagens Berman Axeon's Sean Bennett, who was the second rider to start on the day, benefited from a dry opening lap, setting the early fastest time at 42:09.
Bennett's time held through the second wave until Haga hit the course. The Sunweb rider, who was seventh at the Giro d'Italia time trial in May, beat Bennett's intermediary times at both check points at the end of the first lap and at the end of the second.
Haga was 24 seconds ahead of Bennett at the first check and 1:17 at the second. He finished nearly two minutes better than Bennett.
Aevolo's Gage Hecht was fifth at the first time check, fourth at the second, and when he crossed the line with a time of 41:46, slotted into second. But his place there was short lived with Bookwalter and the rest still to finish.
The BMC rider, starting last in the third wave, was just five seconds behind Haga at the first time check, but he slipped to 12 seconds back on the second lap and was five seconds behind again at the finish.
Haga's first intermediate time check held up until Rosskopf, who started last as the defending champion, crossed the first checkpoint three seconds better. Also starting in the fourth wave, Powless, Brandon McNulty (Rally Cycling) and Larry Warbasse (Aqua Blue Sport) were fifth, sixth and seventh, respectively, at the first time check.
Rosskopf added to his advantage on the second lap, crossing the line eight seconds better than Haga.
McNulty finished with a time of 41:54, slotting into a provisional fourth behind Hecht. Warbasse came in with a time of 41:22, having passed Alexey Vermeulen (Interpro Stradalli) on the course.
Rosskopf would not be denied, however, pouring on more power on the final lap to cross the line in 39:46, 28 seconds better than Haga.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Joey Rosskopf (USA) BMC Racing Team||0:39:46|
|2||Chad Haga (USA) Team Sunweb||0:00:28|
|3||Brent Bookwalter (USA) BMC Racing Team||0:00:34|
|4||Lawrence Warbasse (USA) Aqua Blue Sport||0:01:36|
|5||Gage Hecht (USA) Aevolo||0:02:00|
|6||Brandon Mcnulty (USA) Rally Cycling||0:02:08|
|7||Sean Bennett (USA) Hagens Berman Axeon||0:02:23|
|8||Thomas Revard (USA) Hagens Berman Axeon||0:02:27|
|9||Brendan Rhim (USA) Holowesko-Citadel p/b Arapahoe Resources||0:02:36|
|10||Samuel Boardman (USA) Marc Pro Cycling Team||0:02:44|
|11||Ian Garrison (USA) Hagens Berman Axeon||0:02:52|
|12||Daniel Eaton (USA) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling||0:02:55|
|13||George Simpson (USA) Elevate-KHS||0:03:03|
|14||Neilson Powless (USA) LottoNL-Jumbo||0:03:09|
|15||Andrew Clemence (USA) 303 Project||0:03:13|
|16||Alexey Vermeulen (USA) Interpro Stradalli Cycling||0:03:16|
|17||Benjamin Wolfe (USA) Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis||0:03:29|
|18||Matthew Zimmer (USA) Gateway Harley-Davidson Trek Development||0:03:37|
|19||Cory Lockwood (USA) Project Echelon Racing||0:03:44|
|20||Tyler Stites (USA) Aevolo||0:03:49|
|21||Christopher Blevins (USA) Hagens Berman Axeon||0:04:08|
|22||Tim Mitchell (USA) CCB Foundation-Sicleri||0:04:08|
|23||Gavin Hoover (USA) Elevate-KHS Pro Cycling||0:04:23|
|24||Taylor Shelden (USA) Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis||0:04:27|
|25||Evan Hartig (USA) Project Echelon Racing||0:04:27|
|26||Brett Wachtendorf (USA) Gateway Harley-Davidson/Trek Development Team||0:04:29|
|27||Keegan Swirbul (USA) Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis||0:04:32|
|28||Dillon Caldwell (USA) 303 Project||0:04:38|
|29||Sean Gardner (USA) Gateway Harley-Davidson Trek Development||0:04:54|
|30||Alex Hoehn (USA) Aevolo||0:04:54|
|31||Cole Davis (USA) Hagens Berman Axeon||0:05:14|
|32||Evan Huffman (USA) Rally Cycling||0:05:26|
|33||Charles Cassin (USA) 303 Project||0:06:19|
|34||Ryan O'Boyle (USA)||0:06:30|
|35||Daniel Lausin (USA) Gateway Harley-Davidson Trek Development||0:06:34|
|36||Nicholas McKey (USA) Aevolo||0:07:54|
|DNF||Isaiah Newkirk (USA) 303 Project|
|DNF||Justin Mauch (USA) Marc Pro Cycling Team|
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Growing up in Missoula, Montana, Pat competed in his first bike race in 1985 at Flathead Lake. He studied English and journalism at the University of Oregon and has covered North American cycling extensively since 2009, as well as racing and teams in Europe and South America. Pat currently lives in the US outside of Portland, Oregon, with his imaginary dog Rusty.
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