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USA Cycling Professional Road Championships 2014: Men's Road Race

Welcome to Cyclingnews' live coverage of the USA Cycling Professional Men's Road Race championships.

Welcome to Cyclingnews' live coverage of the US Pro men's road race championship. Riders are lining up in Chattanooga, with defending champion Fred Rodriguez back in his regular Jelly Belly kit.

And the riders are off!

Ben King (Garmin-Sharp) attacks from the gun.

King is joined by an Optum rider. Do you remember 2010? King was off the front the entire day and managed to stay away for the whole race to win his first US Pro title.

Five more riders have joined King, but the field is single file just 5m behind.

Counterattack from UnitedHealthcare's Chris Jones.

Jones is caught but now Brad "Captain America" White from UHC launches a counter attack

White is caught but an Optum rider forces the pace, there are little gaps forming in the single-file field.

A Hincapie rider now slips off the front - Joey Rosskopf. He has a 5 Hour Energy rider joining him.

We now have a pretty solid looking break of three on these opening laps.

A UHC rider and one from Smartstop have joined the fun up front.

The flat-out pace is making it difficult for the breakaways to stick. The riders with Rosskopf were caught and now UHC goes again.

Now we have an Optum rider, Brad Huff, getting right up on the camera moto - he gives a quick smile, always personable. He's pushing pretty hard and a group is trying to come across.

Huff's move has sparked a large breakaway - Smartstop, 5 Hour Energy, SmartStop, Optum, Jamis and UHC are all represented. 

We've got one Garmin rider tacked onto the back, but otherwise it's all domestic teams.

The men have four downtown circuits to tackle before they head out for the four long loops with Lookout Mountain. Right now the domestic teams are trying to gain an advantage on the WorldTour riders, who are relatively isolated.

There are a dozen riders up front with Chris Jones and Brad White (UHC), Tyler Wren (Jamis Hagens Berman), Sam Bassetti and Jim Stemper (5 Hour Energy), Ben King (Garmin Sharp), Brad Huff and Eric Young (Optum), Julian Kyer and Eric Marcotte (SmartStop) and Kevin Gottlieb (Airgas).

It's been a wicked fast start to the race, but on their final lap of the downtown circuits things have settled in a bit.

The breakaway is holding 35 seconds with two short circuits to go before heading out onto the larger circuits and over Lookout Mountain.

The riders are starting to drop back to ask for water. The race officials will open feeing early if the temperatures continue to rise.

 

If you missed the women's race, it was an exciting one. Alison Powers won her second consecutive title this Memorial Day weekend and drove away with a new car!

 

139km remaining from 165km

The breakaway riders have increased their lead to over a minute.

 

The group is building its lead as the initial short circuits come to a close. The gap is now five minutes. There is a lone chaser, Michael Olheiser (Incycle-Predator Components) that is just over a minute off the back of the leaders.

 

The breakaway has started the first large circuit and will soon reach the base of Lookout Mountain.

Former national champion, Ben King (Garmin-Sharp), knows a thing or two about being in a breakaway at the championship race. He won the 2010 USA Cycling Professional Road Championships in Greenville, as an under-23 rider, after being in a breakaway nearly all race.

 

Back in the field, Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis is setting the pace and keeping an eye on the breakaway. They could be working for defending champion Fred Rodriguez.

 

If you're not sure who's racing at the 2014 USA Cycling Professional Road Championships today, here is the start list.

Rodriguez is sitting on the back of the main field and asking officials for his team car.

 

Chris Jones is leading the breakaway up the base of Lookout Mountain.

 

Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis is leading the field onto Lookout Mountain six minutes behind the breakaway.

 

Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies sprinters Brad Huff and Eric Young are falling off of the breakaway's pace on the climb. 

 

The breakaway is nearing the top of the climb with one kilometer to go. Huff and Young have managed to catch back on to the back of the breakaway.

 

Ben King is picking up the King of the Mountain points at the top of Lookout Mountain. And the breakaway is starting the fast and technical descent.

 

120km remaining from 165km

The main field is part way up Lookout Mountain and they have pulled a minute back on the breakaway.

 

Chris Jones had some success at the Tour of California, where he spent two days in a breakaway and wore the event's most courageous jersey before the start of Stage 7. He talks about that experience in this video.

 

Optum teammates Brad Huff and Eric Young were dropped out of the breakaway up the climb, however, Huff has managed to catch back up on the descent.

 

There has been a crash in the main field on the descent. 

 

The peloton got to the bottom of the descent very fast and brought the gap to the breakaway down to 4:20 minutes.

 

There are several splits in the field.

 

We've just received word that it was the newly crowned national time trial champion, Taylor Phinney (BMC) who crashed on the descent. He slid under the guard rail. We will provide more information on how he is doing shortly.

 

Taylor Phinney won the national time trial title on Saturday. We will provide an update on his health as soon as we can.

 

He went into the USA Cycling Professional Championships hoping to win both the time trial and the road race.

UnitedHealthcare's Lucas Euser also crashed on the descent.

 

111km remaining from 165km

The breakaway is holding a 4:40-minute gap ahead of the field. They're starting the second of four large laps.

 

The breakaway has four minutes on the first chase group that includes Nathan Brown (Garmin-Sharp), Bjorn Selander and Eric Young (Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies) and Joseph Schmalz (Hincapie Sportswear Development).

 

The peloton is spread wide across the road and have completely sat up.

 

The peloton is riding up Lookout Mountain for the second time. The temperatures are rising and they are starting to look a tad unmotivated.

UnitedHealthcare director Rachel Heal says that Lucas Euser, who crashed with Taylor Phinney earlier, is OK. 

 

Phil Gaimon is on the front of the field, dragging the riders over the climb. As he pulls off, his teammate Tom Danielson takes over the effort to reduce the gap to the breakaway.

 

Other riders who are in this group are Carter Jones (Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies) and Matthew Busche (Trek Factory Racing).

 

93km remaining from 165km

The breakaway is holding 3 minutes on the chase group and 4 minutes on the main field.

 

While the men are battling hot temperatures in Chattanooga today at the USA Cycling Professional Championships, the men at the Giro d'Italia are expecting to see snow on the Gavia tomorrow during Stage 16 from Ponte di Legno - Val Martello/Martelltal.

Check out our photo gallery from the Gavia.

 

Ben King (Garmin-Sharp) picked up the full King of the Mountain points atop Lookout Mountain again. 

 

James Stemper (5 Hour Energy) is becoming a regular in the breakaways at the USA Cycling Professional Championships. This is his third consecutive year being in the day's move.

 

There are only 80km to go and the peloton seems to be riding quite leisurely. If they don't get a move on, this breakaway will make it to the finish line.

Peter Stetina (BMC) is sitting off the back of the field trying to get his fallen chain back on.

 

The group is passing through the finish line area seeing two large laps to go and the gap to the breakaway is still above 5 minutes.

 

The breakaway is on Lookout Mountain for the third time. King will no doubt want to pick up the King of the Mountain points again. 

 

Tom Zirbel (Optum) is making an attack on the field. If anyone can bridge across to a breakaway he can. He's a time trial specialist and placed second to Taylor Phinney in Saturday's championship time trial.

 

Samuel Bassetti (5 Hour Energy) is falling off of the breakaway's pace on Lookout Mountain.

 

UnitedHealthcare has lost another rider as Danny Summerhill has reportedly crashed.

70km remaining from 165km

The breakaway is approaching the top of Lookout Mountain and Jones is setting the pace.

 

Garmin-Sharp's Phil Gaimon and Tom Danielson are back on the front of the field on Lookout Mountain trying to close down the gap to the breakaway.

 

Breakaway rider Ben King picked up the King of the Mountain points for the third time n Lookout Mountain.

 

Back in the field, Peter Stetina (BMC) is making his move on the climb. He jumped while Gaimon and Danielson were setting tempo.

 

Stetina is catching up to Jesse Anthony.

 

Stetina has blasted past Jesse Anthony and is over the top of the climb.

 

Anthony is in a tuck position trying to catch back up to the peloton. They caught him over the top of Lookout Mountain.

 

Marcotte is leading the breakaway as they head through town. He is looking quite fresh still. He's also fast and could do well in a breakaway sprint.

 

What is now considered the main field, has only 13 rider left in it as they start the fourth large lap.

The peloton has reduced the gap to the breakaway to three minutes. Matthew Busche is taking a turn on the front. 

The breakaway is starting the fourth and last lap with riders Brad White and Eric Marcotte sharing the work load.

 

It has been reported that Taylor Phinney has a broken lower leg sustained during his crash on the descent off of Lookout Mountain earlier today.

 

We wish him a very quick recovery.

Tom Danielson (Garmin-Sharp) is pulling the field through the start-finish line for the start of the fourth lap. His teammate Alex Howes is sitting at the back of that field.

 

It is very possible that this race will come back together as the peloton is only 40 seconds off the back of the chase group and another two minutes off the back of the breakaway.

 

Tom Danielson has almost singlehandedly reduced the gap to the breakaway down to two and half minutes.

 

His teammate Ben King has attacked form the breakaway on the climb. He was followed by Chris Jones and Julian Kyer. 

 

Garmin-Sharp riders are doing a lot of work across the board today. King is leading the three-rider breakaway, and Danielson and Gaimon are working hard at the front of the field to get rid of riders and bring that gap down further.

 

James Stemper has bridged up to King, Jones and Kyer on the climb.

 

The field has caught the longtime chasersBrown, Selander, Huff and Brown.

 

Kyer is leading the breakaway up to the top of Lookout Mountain. Jones is on his wheel followed by King and Stemper.

 

Ben King is still looking strong on the climb. He is seated and comfortable. He has picked up the King of the Mountain points on the first three times up the climb.

 

46km remaining from 165km

The gap is still holding at about 2 minutes. Hincapie Sportswear Development riders are showing themselves at the front of the main field. The young riders missed the day's breakaway and are working to try and get a result at the finish line today.

 

Ben King took the fourth set of King of the Mountain points. He's taken all four sets of points on the climb today.

 

43km remaining from 165km

The riders are on the descent and are heading into town. When they pass through the start-finish line, they will have to do three short finishing circuits or 6.8km apiece.

 

King is leading the breakaway into town with Jones, Stemper and Kyer.

 

Unfortunately, they are not willing to work together. Stemper has launched an attack and is a hundred meters ahead of the others.

 

Stemper is back with his breakaway companions, who don't look too happy with him at the moment.

 

Eric Marcotte has managed to get back up to the breakaway with King, Jones, Stemper and Kyer.

 

Stemper has tried to attack for the second time but this time Kyer led the chase to bring him back.

 

The leaders are on the Kent Street climb, with Kyer and Stemper falling off the pace after his attack. King, Jones and Marcotte are up ahead.

The chasing group is coming apart even further, the heat and the hills are really battering the peloton today.

We have more riders coming up to the front group - Alex Howes is in this group for teammate Ben King

Chris Jones and Brad White (UHC) came up there too with Tyler Wren.

28km remaining from 165km

Howes takes over at the front to give King a break. These riders are all hurting. Howes and Stemper seem to be the strongest.

Stemper pushes past Howes, the group behind can't or wont' respond. They need to keep riding because the peloton is not that far behind.

It's Stemper, Jones and Marcotte up front, with the rest taking their time behind. Another group of five is chasing behind: Optum's Scott Zwizanski, Matthew Busche (Trek) Jacob Rathe (Jelly Belly), Travis McCabe (SmartStop) and Carson Miller (Jamis)

The race is just shattered, the Kent Street climb will add further selection - they have two more trips up it, too. 

The breakaway is at the top, Stemper is struggling with White just off the back. They're bringing the leading trio back a bit.

Stemper is a real fighter, he's clawed his way back to the leaders, but Kyer isn't so luck so far.

Kyer did make it back - we're back up to seven at the front - King is gone for good. Five chase behind in the Busche group.

Breakaway: Chris Jones (UHC), Jim Stemper (5 Hour Energy), Eric Marcotte (SmartStop), Julian Kyer (SmartStop), Brad White (UHC) and Tyler Wren (Jamis Hagens Berman), Alex Howes (Garmin Sharp)

Chase 1: Scott Zwizanski (Optum), Matthew Busche (Trek) Jacob Rathe (Jelly Belly), Travis McCabe (SmartStop) and Carson Miller (Jamis) at 0:25

Peloton at 0:40

King is now back in the first chasing group with Zwizanski, Busche, Rathe, McCabe and Miller.

The leaders are about to come in to two to go - we have our seven leaders holding a 20 second lead on the chasers, but the "peloton" is beginning to close in. They're not far behind at all, perhaps 45 seconds.

Rathe, now with Jelly Belly, was part of the Garmin Sharp team until a bit of a snafu with his contract negotiations. He's a strong rider, and is powering this chase with Busche.

Up front it's Howes doing the most work - he's the freshest rider of the leading seven, having not spent the entire day in the breakaway. The chasers can see them as they cross the Tennessee River.

Heading into the Kent Street climb, the second group is about to catch the leading seven. Fireworks are about to begin!

Howes tries to grab a cold water from a fan at the top and almost crashes over it as he drops it. The two groups are separated by a sliver of daylight.

King is dropped on the climb, and now there are 12 riders in this leading group.

The peloton is reportedly a minute and change with Oscar Clark and Chris Butler of Hincapie chasing.

White was also dropped from the front group with King.

Amazing riding by the SmartStop riders - Mike Creed took over managing the team this year and really whipped them into shape. McCabe, Marcotte and Kyer are all capable, but we're putting money on McCabe.

They'll see one to go as they cross the finish line in Chattanooga. Stemper has launched yet another attack - going after another rider.

11km remaining from 165km

Howes is sitting at the back, not looking too peppy. Garmin's chances aren't looking great at this point.

Zwizanski and McCabe are the attackers, and Stemper was going across. The three are now a good distance from the chasers.

One lap to go for McCabe, Stemper and Zwizanski. The Howes group is five seconds back at the line, but they have two blockers in the group for SmartStop.

Stemper is pouring his heart into this move, the three looking very determined and all cooperating.

Howes is doing all of the work in the chase group. Now Zwizanski attacks the leading trio!

Zwizanski is a good time trialist and a fixture of the domestic peloton. He's really going all in with this attack, but McCabe is clawing him back.

Stemper is hurting and can't help.

Heading across the Tennessee, Zwiz is opening the gap back up, but McCabe cornered like a madman and closed the gap. Theyre on the climb!

All together on the climb and there goes McCabe - pushing the pace. Stemper is giving everything he has to stay on.

Behind, Wren is done but the chasing group is still in with a chance.

5km remaining from 165km

Just 5km to go - the ten second margin may be enough for mcCabe, Stemper and Zwizanski to be your US Pro podium. But who is the best sprinter?

We saw at the Winston Salem race that McCabe can sprint, and he has been able to do a bit less work than the others. Stemper has been in the break all day and has been yo-yo'ing since they got on these circuits.

The chase just is not that concerted, Busche doing the work but guys are coasting behind him. McCabe up front pushes the pace.

Jim "crazy glue" Stemper is holding on by the fingernails.

Stemper pulls through, the pace has come down up front and only five seconds separate the groups.

McCabe gets out of the saddle to get the pace going again out of the turn.

Zwizanski attacks, but Stemper gets on the wheel.

2km remaining from 165km

The chasers can see them, but 2km to go - Jones attacks.

Jones is motoring across, can UHC do the double today?

Jones makes it! He counters!

Zwizanski and McCabe are clawing him back and Stemper's glue has cracked.

Three up front are now Jones, McCabe and Zwizanski.

Stemper makes it back across and immediately attacks.

The chasers are in sight, just seconds separate them.

Final corner, they're all together and Smart Stop are together.

SmartStop took control and in the sprint it looks like they took 1-2!

Chapeau to Mike Creed and his SmartStop boys - that was one impressive race. Marcotte looks like the winner with mcCabe perhaps?

Looks like Howes took third behind Marcotte and McCabe.

Stemper is on the ground simply crushed. He poured so much into this race.

The SmartStop team just upped its chances of being invited to the USA Pro Challenge and Tour of Utah with that amazing performance.

Whew! what a race. The addition of Kent Street really spiced up the finale. Stay tuned for full results, photos and the report here on Cyclingnews. Thanks for reading!

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