Busche secures stars-and-stripes jersey at US pro road championships

Matthew Busche (Trek Factory Racing) overcame overwhelming circumstances to win his second USA Cycling Professional Road Championship on Monday in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Busche rode 179.3km without any teammates, in the rain, to beat Joe Dombrowski (Cannondale-Garmin) in the final kilometres of the race.  

“There’s only one guy per year who gets to wear the colours of their country,” Busche said. “It’s an honour and a privilege, and I hope that I represent it well for the country.”

Warm and humid conditions gave way to heavy rain as the race progressed into the afternoon. The men’s course was split into three sections. The first third of the race ran riders around four laps of a downtown circuit, which included the Kent Street "wall" and its steep 13 per cent grade. After riders completed the start laps, the course ran four longer laps over Lookout Mountain. The finale was three laps of the same shorter downtown loop riders started on.

A break of 15 riders separated from the field early in the race. The move included last year’s national champion Eric Marcotte (Team SmartStop), Andrew Talansky (Cannondale-Garmin), Ben King (Cannondale-Garmin), Tyler Farrar (MTN-Qhubeka) and several Optum and Hincapie Racing riders.

The second trip up Lookout Mountain whittled the break down to Talansky, King, Travis McCabe (SmartStop), Jesse Anthony (Optum), Oscar Clark (Hincapie), Tom Zirbel (Optum) and Scott Zwizanski (Optum). Talansky lit the fireworks on his third time up Lookout Mountain with an attack that opened up a gap of 1:40.

The peloton thought the move might be a winner.

“The third lap up Lookout Mountain Andrew put in quite a bit of time into us,” Dombrowski said. “Just because of the composition of the group behind, I didn’t think it was going to come back. It didn’t seem like anyone was too motivated to chase. I was just on the back watching people pull through but there wasn’t great organization. So I thought he had a good chance of staying away.”

Back in the field, UnitedHealthcare picked up the chase and began to pull back the lead group and Talansky. Phil Gaimon (Optum) took over from UnitedHealthcare on the fourth and final trip up Lookout Mountain. Gaimon’s pace broke apart the field and left him with a strong cadre of riders. The new chase group included Busche, Dombrowski, Chris Horner (Airgas-Safeway) and Kiel Reijnen (UnitedHealthcare.)

As Gaimon’s group clawed back Talansky, the freshly minted time trial champion flew down steep, wet roads into Chattanooga. Unfortunately, Gaimon’s championship bid ground to halt after he slid out in a rainy downtown corner. Horner, Busche, and Gavin Mannion (Jelly Belly-Maxxis) were left to power the effort to reel in Talansky.

“In the group there was three of us. Gaimon was pulling really hard, but then he crashed himself out of course,” Horner said. “That seems to be his MO whenever it is slippery, and so we lost his power. So it was just Busche and I doing huge pulls. A couple times a little Jelly Belly kid would come through and do some work, and a few other guys but for the most part it was me and Busche pulling like crazy.

“And Gaimon, he was fabulous, full-on throwing everything into it but then he crashed so it left two of us, and some half-assed work from the other guys, to pull back Talansky.”

His frustration mounting, Horner put in an attack of his own with two laps to go and caught Talansky on the Kent Street climb. Shortly after, Talansky was caught and Dombrowski crashed, but was able to pop up and chase back onto the leaders.

The one-to-go bell signalled disaster for Reijnen, who flatted just as the leaders crossed the start finish line on the final lap.

“The first thing you feel is disappointment for your teammates,” Reijnen said.  “Everyone saw out there how hard they worked. We were on the front with not enough guys to do the job and they did the job anyway.”

After making it back to the leaders, Dombrowski found himself in an attack with Busche and Mannion, and Busche seized the opportunity.

“When Joe, Gavin, and I got away, it was a little surprising for me,” Busche said. “I don’t know how the gap opened up, but it is just one of those things. It’s a long race and it only takes a small gap that somebody can’t close and then it’s over. You saw that in 2012 with Timmy Duggan. It’s just the way the championship race is.”

Mannion lost contact with Busche and Dombrowski, and the two remaining riders proceeded to probe each other for weaknesses. Busche put in the final successful attack and only needed to stay upright to win.

“When Joe and I were attacking each other, when I made the attack and got the gap, I was never certain,” Busche said.

“I could blow up and he could come back. When I got the downhill I was fairly certain. Then I had to come back in my own head and be like okay slowdown and don’t crash in the corner because that would most certainly ruin it. But I wasn’t going to slow down until I crossed the line because you never know.”

Busche crossed the line in first with Dombrowski racing in behind him for second. Reijnen rode an heroic final lap to finish third.

Full Results

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#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Matthew Busche (USA) Trek Factory Racing4:35:21
2Joseph Dombrowski (USA) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling0:00:05
3Kiel Reijnen (USA) UnitedHealthcare0:00:19
4Alex Howes (USA) Cannondale-Garmin Pro CyclingRow 3 - Cell 2
5Christopher Horner (USA) Airgas-Safeway Cycling0:00:21
6Gavin Mannion (USA) Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis0:00:25
7Andrew Talansky (USA) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling0:00:54
8Kyle Murphy (USA) Lupus Racing Team0:00:59
9Christopher Butler (USA) Team SmartStop0:01:01
10Carson Miller (USA) Jamis Hagens Berman0:01:08
11Jonathan Hornbeck (USA) Hincapie Racing Team0:03:48
12Edward King (USA) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling0:07:28
13Mac Brennan (USA) Hincapie Racing TeamRow 12 - Cell 2
14Lucas Euser (USA) UnitedHealthcareRow 13 - Cell 2
15Connor Mccutcheon (USA) Airgas-Safeway Cycling0:08:45
16Logan Loader (USA) Amore e Vita - Selle SMP0:09:24
17Maxim Jenkins (USA) Astellas Cycling Team0:09:40
18Michael Olheiser (USA) Lupus Racing Team0:10:51
19Stephen Leece (USA) Jamis Hagens Berman0:19:27
20Emerson Oronte (USA) Team SmartStop0:29:27
DNFEric Marcotte (USA) Team SmartStopRow 20 - Cell 2
DNFEvan Huffman (USA) Team SmartStopRow 21 - Cell 2
DNFTravis Livermon (USA) Team SmartStopRow 22 - Cell 2
DNFTravis Mccabe (USA) Team SmartStopRow 23 - Cell 2
DNFBenjamin King (USA) Cannondale-Garmin Pro CyclingRow 24 - Cell 2
DNFJohnathan Freter (USA) Jelly Belly p/b MaxxisRow 25 - Cell 2
DNFFreddie Rodriguez (USA) Jelly Belly p/b MaxxisRow 26 - Cell 2
DNFScott Zwizanski (USA) Team Optum p/b Kelly Benefit StrategiesRow 27 - Cell 2
DNFJesse Anthony (USA) Team Optum p/b Kelly Benefit StrategiesRow 28 - Cell 2
DNFPhillip Gaimon (USA) Team Optum p/b Kelly Benefit StrategiesRow 29 - Cell 2
DNFCharles Huff (USA) Team Optum p/b Kelly Benefit StrategiesRow 30 - Cell 2
DNFBjorn Selander (USA) Team Optum p/b Kelly Benefit StrategiesRow 31 - Cell 2
DNFThomas Soladay (USA) Team Optum p/b Kelly Benefit StrategiesRow 32 - Cell 2
DNFCurtis White (USA) Team Optum p/b Kelly Benefit StrategiesRow 33 - Cell 2
DNFEric Young (USA) Team Optum p/b Kelly Benefit StrategiesRow 34 - Cell 2
DNFThomas Zirbel (USA) Team Optum p/b Kelly Benefit StrategiesRow 35 - Cell 2
DNFAdrian Hegyvary (USA) UnitedHealthcareRow 36 - Cell 2
DNFJohn Murphy (USA) UnitedHealthcareRow 37 - Cell 2
DNFTanner Putt (USA) UnitedHealthcareRow 38 - Cell 2
DNFDaniel Summerhill (USA) UnitedHealthcareRow 39 - Cell 2
DNFBradley White (USA) UnitedHealthcareRow 40 - Cell 2
DNFAlexandre Darville (USA) Airgas-Safeway CyclingRow 41 - Cell 2
DNFGriffin Easter (USA) Airgas-Safeway CyclingRow 42 - Cell 2
DNFKevin Gottlieb (USA) Airgas-Safeway CyclingRow 43 - Cell 2
DNFMatt Rodrigues (USA) Airgas-Safeway CyclingRow 44 - Cell 2
DNFTyler Farrar (USA) MTN - QhubekaRow 45 - Cell 2
DNFCortlan Brown (USA) Astellas Cycling TeamRow 46 - Cell 2
DNFBrandon Feehery (USA) Astellas Cycling TeamRow 47 - Cell 2
DNFStephen Hyde (USA) Astellas Cycling TeamRow 48 - Cell 2
DNFPeter Olejniczak (USA) Astellas Cycling TeamRow 49 - Cell 2
DNFHogan Sills (USA) Astellas Cycling TeamRow 50 - Cell 2
DNFJake Silverberg (USA) Astellas Cycling TeamRow 51 - Cell 2
DNFJake Sitler (USA) Astellas Cycling TeamRow 52 - Cell 2
DNFGregory Daniel (USA) Axeon Cycling TeamRow 53 - Cell 2
DNFMiguel Bryon (USA) Hincapie Racing TeamRow 54 - Cell 2
DNFOscar Clark (USA) Hincapie Racing TeamRow 55 - Cell 2
DNFCharlie Hough (USA) Hincapie Racing TeamRow 56 - Cell 2
DNFTyler Magner (USA) Hincapie Racing TeamRow 57 - Cell 2
DNFJoseph Schmalz (USA) Hincapie Racing TeamRow 58 - Cell 2
DNFCoulton Hartrich (USA) iRT RacingRow 59 - Cell 2
DNFDavid Williams (USA) Jamis Hagens BermanRow 60 - Cell 2
DNFWinston David (USA) Lupus Racing TeamRow 61 - Cell 2
DNFOliver Flautt (USA) Lupus Racing TeamRow 62 - Cell 2
DNFShawn Gravois (USA) Lupus Racing TeamRow 63 - Cell 2
DNFEvan Murphy (USA) Lupus Racing TeamRow 64 - Cell 2
DNFJames Schurman (USA) Lupus Racing TeamRow 65 - Cell 2
DNFMichael Stone (USA) Lupus Racing TeamRow 66 - Cell 2
DNFTimothy Rugg (USA)Row 67 - Cell 2


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