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US Pro Championships: Warbasse takes men's road title

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The Holowesko team leads the field up the climb

The Holowesko team leads the field up the climb (Image credit: Jonathan Devich/epicimages.us)
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Kiel Reijnen (Trek) on the steep climb

Kiel Reijnen (Trek) on the steep climb (Image credit: Jonathan Devich/epicimages.us)
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Riders fight their way up todays long climb

Riders fight their way up todays long climb (Image credit: Jonathan Devich/epicimages.us)
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Neilson Powless (Axeon) had a good ride today for second place

Neilson Powless (Axeon) had a good ride today for second place (Image credit: Jonathan Devich/epicimages.us)
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Joey Rosskopf (BMC) rides in the bunch after winning yesterdays TT

Joey Rosskopf (BMC) rides in the bunch after winning yesterdays TT (Image credit: Jonathan Devich/epicimages.us)
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The main field getting stretched out on the climb

The main field getting stretched out on the climb (Image credit: Jonathan Devich/epicimages.us)
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John Murphy (Holowesko) attacks the top of todays climb

John Murphy (Holowesko) attacks the top of todays climb (Image credit: Jonathan Devich/epicimages.us)
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Oscar Clark (Holowesko) puts on a show for the crowd after spending time working on the front

Oscar Clark (Holowesko) puts on a show for the crowd after spending time working on the front (Image credit: Jonathan Devich/epicimages.us)
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Eric Marcotte (Cylance) back in the bunch

Eric Marcotte (Cylance) back in the bunch (Image credit: Jonathan Devich/epicimages.us)
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Larry Warbasse (Aqua Blue Sport) leads the break

Larry Warbasse (Aqua Blue Sport) leads the break (Image credit: Jonathan Devich/epicimages.us)
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The break away group on the way into the finish

The break away group on the way into the finish (Image credit: Jonathan Devich/epicimages.us)
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Larry Warbasse (Aqua Blue Sport) takes the win in Knoxville

Larry Warbasse (Aqua Blue Sport) takes the win in Knoxville (Image credit: Jonathan Devich/epicimages.us)
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Larry Warbasse (Aqua Blue Sport) excited with his win

Larry Warbasse (Aqua Blue Sport) excited with his win (Image credit: Jonathan Devich/epicimages.us)
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Larry Warbasse (Aqua Blue Sport) celebrates his win with his family

Larry Warbasse (Aqua Blue Sport) celebrates his win with his family (Image credit: Jonathan Devich/epicimages.us)
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Daniel Eaton (UnitedHealthcare) leads the break

Daniel Eaton (UnitedHealthcare) leads the break (Image credit: Jonathan Devich/epicimages.us)
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Alex Howes (Cannondale-Drapac) makes his way up the climb

Alex Howes (Cannondale-Drapac) makes his way up the climb (Image credit: Jonathan Devich/epicimages.us)
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The break crests the top of the climb

The break crests the top of the climb (Image credit: Jonathan Devich/epicimages.us)
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Larry Warbasse (Aqua Blue Sport) waits for the start

Larry Warbasse (Aqua Blue Sport) waits for the start (Image credit: Jonathan Devich/epicimages.us)
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The Holowesko team begins to chase

The Holowesko team begins to chase (Image credit: Jonathan Devich/epicimages.us)
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Greg Daniel (Trek-Segafredo) moves to the front

Greg Daniel (Trek-Segafredo) moves to the front (Image credit: Jonathan Devich/epicimages.us)
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Kiel Reijnen (Trek-Segafredo) riding back in the bunch

Kiel Reijnen (Trek-Segafredo) riding back in the bunch (Image credit: Jonathan Devich/epicimages.us)
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The breakaway group that stayed away for most of the day

The breakaway group that stayed away for most of the day (Image credit: Jonathan Devich/epicimages.us)
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Holowesko comes to the front to chase down the break

Holowesko comes to the front to chase down the break (Image credit: Jonathan Devich/epicimages.us)
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Holowesko leads on the climb

Holowesko leads on the climb (Image credit: Jonathan Devich/epicimages.us)
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The mens field leaves downtown Knoxville

The mens field leaves downtown Knoxville (Image credit: Jonathan Devich/epicimages.us)
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The winning break splits up

The winning break splits up (Image credit: Jonathan Devich/epicimages.us)
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Larry Warbasse (Aqua Blue Sport) on the podium after his win

Larry Warbasse (Aqua Blue Sport) on the podium after his win (Image credit: Jonathan Devich/epicimages.us)
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The men head out for the day

The men head out for the day (Image credit: Jonathan Devich/epicimages.us)
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The men head through Old City in downtown Knoxville

The men head through Old City in downtown Knoxville (Image credit: Jonathan Devich/epicimages.us)
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Riders go over the top of the climb

Riders go over the top of the climb (Image credit: Jonathan Devich/epicimages.us)
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The field rolls through downtown Knoxville

The field rolls through downtown Knoxville (Image credit: Jonathan Devich/epicimages.us)
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The 2017 US nationals podium

The 2017 US nationals podium (Image credit: Jonathan Devich/epicimages.us)

Less than two weeks after claiming his first ever pro victory in the Tour de Suisse, Larry Warbasse earned himself a year in the stars and stripes jersey, taking the US Pro men's road race title in Knoxville, Tennessee.

The 26-year-old Aqua Blue Sport rider proved strongest out of a three-man late escape group, besting Axeon Hagens Berman's Neilson Powless and LottoNL-Jumbo's Alexey Vermeulen at the line.

"I'm in disbelief. I think this has been the best two weeks of my life," Warbasse said after taking the victory.

"I had a really great race in Suisse a couple weeks ago. Yesterday, I felt pretty bad in the time trial, I was a bit disappointed, and I told some friends 'I guess I work well with disappointment, so hopefully tomorrow will be good.'

"Honestly I didn't feel good the whole day. At the start I was suffering – actually I was suffering the whole time. I don't think I was the strongest today but I think I was the smartest. I can't believe it, I'm so happy."

Warbasse, Powless and Vermeulen got clear of the pack on the 12th of 14 total laps on the Knoxville circuit and managed to build enough of an advantage that it was clear they'd battle for the win among themselves with a few kilometres still to go.

Warbasse made a probing attack around two kilometres from the line but his companions managed to hold his wheel, setting up a three-man battle on the finishing straight. Warbasse found more success when he jumped early over the crest of the final rise and powered downhill to the finish line with gravity on his side.

"When I was riding it earlier this week, and I thought if I had the legs, I would go on the climb (Sherrod Road), but shortly into the race, I knew that I would have to do something somewhere else. I just thought OK, I knew the last rise would be important.

"I was planning on going on the rise, but when we were going into it, I was able to play it cool and watch the other guys. I knew that if I could get a little jump on them on that downhill it would be hard to come around. I don't have a good sprint, so I knew I had to get some advantage and it worked out. That was really cool."

Powless gave a hat tip to Warbasse for playing it smart, but showed a touch of disappointment after landing on the podium for the second time in the weekend but shy of the top step.

"I'm still happy to be here and I am proud of my race," Powless said. "But it's a little frustrating with two podium finishes and missing the win.

"Tactially, up until the very end I played it pretty perfectly. I tried to conserve as much as possible and not put my nose in the wind unless something serious was going up the road."

"Once we got away we just kept it together up until the finish, basically. We knew we were strong enough to take it to the line if we stayed together. We all gambled on a sprint finish, and Larry hit it first over the top of the climb. It's tough to follow that on a downhill sprint."

How it unfolded

Sun greeted the 102 riders as they set off for their 176.9km championship race. The first two laps were riddled with small attacks, but no move could stay away until Ian Garrison (Axeon Hagens Berman), Sean Bennett (Jelly Belly) and Daniel Eaton (UnitedHealthcare) managed to forge clear on the fourth lap. They never gained more than a few minutes, however, as Holowesko-Citadel took sole responsibility for the chase.

Their pressure proved too much for the trio by the time they reached 70 kilometres to go, with the peloton closing in on the climb and then making the catch in the feed zone.

Rally put in two attacks on the next lap, first with Shane Kline, then with Evan Huffman, who went clear with Oscar Clark with three to go, but an attentive batch of WorldTour riders marked every move.

The peloton began to shatter heading into the penultimate lap, with the main contenders all at the front and many of the sprinters distanced by the pace. When the race hit two to go, Axeon Hagens Berman attacked, with Tennessee local Jonathan Brown getting a slight gap.

But it wasn’t to last, as Rosskopf launched a move with Vermeulen that forced others to respond on the penultimate ascent of Sherrod Road. Coming over the climb, it was Powless, Vermeulen and Warbasse opening up a gap. The trio poured all of their efforts into the move knowing that when they reached the line, it would be just one lap and 12.7 kilometres to go.

The men’s field could see the trio as they headed into the turnarounds, but the escapees refused to let up. Nearing the penultimate crossing of the line, WorldTour singlets Brent Bookwalter (BMC Racing) and Alex Howes (Cannondale-Drapac) were feeling the pressure and attacked the chasing group, but the Rally train reeled in the move.

With half a minute in hand, however, the three leaders out front would not be denied, cooperating well to maintain their advantage into the last few kilometres. Although his attempt to solo clear came up short, Warbasse proved on the finishing straight that he still had something left in the tank, out-gunning Powless and Vermeulen in the sprint. 

Full Results

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Lawrence Warbasse (USA) Aqua Blue Sport4:20:45
2Neilson Powless (USA) Axeon Hagens Berman
3Alexey Vermeulen (USA) Team Lotto NL - Jumbo
4Robin Carpenter (USA) Holowesko | Citadel Racing Team0:00:35
5Colin Joyce (USA) Rally Cycling
6Brent Bookwalter (USA) BMC Racing Team
7Alex Howes (USA) Cannondale-Drapac Pro Cycling0:00:38
8Kiel Reijnen (USA) Trek-Segafredo0:00:47
9Eric Young (USA) Rally Cycling
10Joseph Rosskopf (USA) BMC Racing Team
11William Barta (USA) Axeon Hagens Berman
12Chad Beyer (USA) Canyon Bicycles
13Justin Oien (USA) Caja Rural - Seguras RGA
14Gage Hecht (USA) Aevolo Cycling Inc.
15Christopher Blevins (USA) Axeon Hagens Berman
16Stephen Bassett (USA) Silber Pro Cycling
17Jacob Rathe (USA) Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis
18Robert Squire (USA) Canyon Bicycles
19Geoffrey Curran (USA) Axeon Hagens Berman
20Jacob Sitler (USA) CCB Velotooler
21Kevin Girkins (USA) ELBOWZ Racing p/b Synergy.O
22Alex Hoehn (USA) Elevate-KHS Pro Cycling
23Erik Slack (USA) Canyon Bicycles
24Edward Anderson (USA) Axeon Hagens Berman
25Travis McCabe (USA) UnitedHealthcare
26Eric Marcotte (USA) Cylance
27Connor McCutcheon (USA) Team Illuminate
28Evan Huffman (USA) Rally Cycling
29Gregory Daniel (USA) Trek-Segafredo0:01:29
30Christopher Jones (USA) UnitedHealthcare0:01:51
31Gavin Mannion (USA) UnitedHealthcare0:03:03
32Jonathan Brown (USA) Axeon Hagens Berman
33Steve Fisher (USA) Canyon Bicycles
34Kyle Murphy (USA) Cylance
35Cory Lockwood (USA) Elevate-KHS Pro Cycling0:05:00
36Tyler Magner (USA) Holowesko | Citadel Racing Team0:05:23
37Taylor Eisenhart (USA) Holowesko | Citadel Racing Team
38Danny Pate (USA) Rally Cycling0:06:22
39Emerson Oronte (USA) Rally Cycling
40Sepp Kuss (USA) Rally Cycling
41Brian Mcculloch (USA) Elevate-KHS Pro Cycling0:08:22
42Micah Engle (USA) Gateway Harley-Davidson Trek U2
43Brad Neagos (USA) Team Illuminate
44Cameron Piper (USA) Team Illuminate
45Charles Huff (USA) Rally Cycling
46Cortlan Brown (USA) Canyon Bicycles
47Morgan Schmitt (USA) Arapahoe Resources / Garneau
48Noah Granigan (USA) CCB Velotooler
49Spencer Petrov (USA) CCB Velotooler
50Shane Kline (USA) Rally Cycling
51Ezekiel Mostov (USA) Aevolo Cycling Inc.
52Joseph Schmalz (USA) Elevate-KHS Pro Cycling
53Tyler Stites (USA) Aevolo Cycling Inc.0:08:30
54Lance Haidet (USA) Aevolo Cycling Inc.0:08:47
55Cameron Beard (USA) CCB Velotooler0:09:29
56Griffin Easter (USA) Team Illuminate
57Michael Hernandez (USA) Aevolo Cycling Inc.
58Cory Greenberg (USA) Canyon Bicycles
59Sean Bennett (USA) Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis
60Kaler Marshall (USA) Canyon Bicycles
61Nicholas Torraca (USA) Elevate-KHS Pro Cycling
62Connor Brown (USA) Elevate-KHS Pro Cycling
63Grant Koontz (USA) Arapahoe Resources / Garneau
64Mat Stephens (USA) Arapahoe Resources / Garneau
65George Simpson (USA) Gateway Harley-Davidson Trek U2
66Brett Wachtendorf (USA) Gateway Harley-Davidson Trek U2
67Stefan Rothe (USA) ELBOWZ Racing p/b Synergy.O
68Matthew Zimmer (USA) Gateway Harley-Davidson Trek U2
69Dennis Ramirez (USA) Gateway Harley-Davidson Trek U2
70Brendan Rhim (USA) Holowesko | Citadel Racing Team
71Miguel Bryon (USA) Holowesko | Citadel Racing Team0:09:54
72Mackenzie Brennan (USA) Holowesko | Citadel Racing Team
73Joshua Berry (USA) Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis
74Christopher Butler (USA) Caja Rural - Seguras RGA
75Justin Stanley (USA) ELBOWZ Racing p/b Synergy.O
76Maxwell Ackermann (USA) Gateway Harley-Davidson Trek U2
77Brant Speed (USA) ELBOWZ Racing p/b Synergy.O
78Patrick Collins (USA) CCB Velotooler
DNFCory Small (USA) CCB Velotooler
DNFBenjamin Wolfe (USA) Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis
DNFDaniel Eaton (USA) UnitedHealthcare
DNFAdrian Hegyvary (USA) UnitedHealthcare
DNFJesse Anthony (USA) Rally Cycling
DNFBrandon McNulty (USA) Rally Cycling
DNFThomas Soladay (USA) Rally Cycling
DNFCurtis White (USA) Rally Cycling
DNFOscar Clark (USA) Holowesko | Citadel Racing Team
DNFJohn Murphy (USA) Holowesko | Citadel Racing Team
DNFIan Garrison (USA) Axeon Hagens Berman
DNFMichael Sheehan (USA) Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis
DNFCullen Easter (USA) Team Illuminate
DNFJake Silverberg (USA) Start Vaxes Cycling Team
DNFBryan Lewis (USA) Cylance
DNFSamueL Snipe Grove (USA) Cylance
DNFAnsel Dickey (USA) CCB Velotooler
DNFJohn Harris (USA) CCB Velotooler
DNFCooper Willsey (USA) CCB Velotooler
DNFEvan Bybee (USA) Arapahoe Resources / Garneau
DNFAndrew Dahlheim (USA) Arapahoe Resources / Garneau
DNFMichael Burleigh (USA) Canyon Bicycles
DNFKeegan Swirbul (USA) Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis
DNFRicky Randall (USA) Arapahoe Resources / Garneau

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