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.
"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.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Lawrence Warbasse (USA) Aqua Blue Sport||4:20:45|
|2||Neilson Powless (USA) Axeon Hagens Berman||Row 1 - Cell 2|
|3||Alexey Vermeulen (USA) Team Lotto NL - Jumbo||Row 2 - Cell 2|
|4||Robin Carpenter (USA) Holowesko | Citadel Racing Team||0:00:35|
|5||Colin Joyce (USA) Rally Cycling||Row 4 - Cell 2|
|6||Brent Bookwalter (USA) BMC Racing Team||Row 5 - Cell 2|
|7||Alex Howes (USA) Cannondale-Drapac Pro Cycling||0:00:38|
|8||Kiel Reijnen (USA) Trek-Segafredo||0:00:47|
|9||Eric Young (USA) Rally Cycling||Row 8 - Cell 2|
|10||Joseph Rosskopf (USA) BMC Racing Team||Row 9 - Cell 2|
|11||William Barta (USA) Axeon Hagens Berman||Row 10 - Cell 2|
|12||Chad Beyer (USA) Canyon Bicycles||Row 11 - Cell 2|
|13||Justin Oien (USA) Caja Rural - Seguras RGA||Row 12 - Cell 2|
|14||Gage Hecht (USA) Aevolo Cycling Inc.||Row 13 - Cell 2|
|15||Christopher Blevins (USA) Axeon Hagens Berman||Row 14 - Cell 2|
|16||Stephen Bassett (USA) Silber Pro Cycling||Row 15 - Cell 2|
|17||Jacob Rathe (USA) Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis||Row 16 - Cell 2|
|18||Robert Squire (USA) Canyon Bicycles||Row 17 - Cell 2|
|19||Geoffrey Curran (USA) Axeon Hagens Berman||Row 18 - Cell 2|
|20||Jacob Sitler (USA) CCB Velotooler||Row 19 - Cell 2|
|21||Kevin Girkins (USA) ELBOWZ Racing p/b Synergy.O||Row 20 - Cell 2|
|22||Alex Hoehn (USA) Elevate-KHS Pro Cycling||Row 21 - Cell 2|
|23||Erik Slack (USA) Canyon Bicycles||Row 22 - Cell 2|
|24||Edward Anderson (USA) Axeon Hagens Berman||Row 23 - Cell 2|
|25||Travis McCabe (USA) UnitedHealthcare||Row 24 - Cell 2|
|26||Eric Marcotte (USA) Cylance||Row 25 - Cell 2|
|27||Connor McCutcheon (USA) Team Illuminate||Row 26 - Cell 2|
|28||Evan Huffman (USA) Rally Cycling||Row 27 - Cell 2|
|29||Gregory Daniel (USA) Trek-Segafredo||0:01:29|
|30||Christopher Jones (USA) UnitedHealthcare||0:01:51|
|31||Gavin Mannion (USA) UnitedHealthcare||0:03:03|
|32||Jonathan Brown (USA) Axeon Hagens Berman||Row 31 - Cell 2|
|33||Steve Fisher (USA) Canyon Bicycles||Row 32 - Cell 2|
|34||Kyle Murphy (USA) Cylance||Row 33 - Cell 2|
|35||Cory Lockwood (USA) Elevate-KHS Pro Cycling||0:05:00|
|36||Tyler Magner (USA) Holowesko | Citadel Racing Team||0:05:23|
|37||Taylor Eisenhart (USA) Holowesko | Citadel Racing Team||Row 36 - Cell 2|
|38||Danny Pate (USA) Rally Cycling||0:06:22|
|39||Emerson Oronte (USA) Rally Cycling||Row 38 - Cell 2|
|40||Sepp Kuss (USA) Rally Cycling||Row 39 - Cell 2|
|41||Brian Mcculloch (USA) Elevate-KHS Pro Cycling||0:08:22|
|42||Micah Engle (USA) Gateway Harley-Davidson Trek U2||Row 41 - Cell 2|
|43||Brad Neagos (USA) Team Illuminate||Row 42 - Cell 2|
|44||Cameron Piper (USA) Team Illuminate||Row 43 - Cell 2|
|45||Charles Huff (USA) Rally Cycling||Row 44 - Cell 2|
|46||Cortlan Brown (USA) Canyon Bicycles||Row 45 - Cell 2|
|47||Morgan Schmitt (USA) Arapahoe Resources / Garneau||Row 46 - Cell 2|
|48||Noah Granigan (USA) CCB Velotooler||Row 47 - Cell 2|
|49||Spencer Petrov (USA) CCB Velotooler||Row 48 - Cell 2|
|50||Shane Kline (USA) Rally Cycling||Row 49 - Cell 2|
|51||Ezekiel Mostov (USA) Aevolo Cycling Inc.||Row 50 - Cell 2|
|52||Joseph Schmalz (USA) Elevate-KHS Pro Cycling||Row 51 - Cell 2|
|53||Tyler Stites (USA) Aevolo Cycling Inc.||0:08:30|
|54||Lance Haidet (USA) Aevolo Cycling Inc.||0:08:47|
|55||Cameron Beard (USA) CCB Velotooler||0:09:29|
|56||Griffin Easter (USA) Team Illuminate||Row 55 - Cell 2|
|57||Michael Hernandez (USA) Aevolo Cycling Inc.||Row 56 - Cell 2|
|58||Cory Greenberg (USA) Canyon Bicycles||Row 57 - Cell 2|
|59||Sean Bennett (USA) Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis||Row 58 - Cell 2|
|60||Kaler Marshall (USA) Canyon Bicycles||Row 59 - Cell 2|
|61||Nicholas Torraca (USA) Elevate-KHS Pro Cycling||Row 60 - Cell 2|
|62||Connor Brown (USA) Elevate-KHS Pro Cycling||Row 61 - Cell 2|
|63||Grant Koontz (USA) Arapahoe Resources / Garneau||Row 62 - Cell 2|
|64||Mat Stephens (USA) Arapahoe Resources / Garneau||Row 63 - Cell 2|
|65||George Simpson (USA) Gateway Harley-Davidson Trek U2||Row 64 - Cell 2|
|66||Brett Wachtendorf (USA) Gateway Harley-Davidson Trek U2||Row 65 - Cell 2|
|67||Stefan Rothe (USA) ELBOWZ Racing p/b Synergy.O||Row 66 - Cell 2|
|68||Matthew Zimmer (USA) Gateway Harley-Davidson Trek U2||Row 67 - Cell 2|
|69||Dennis Ramirez (USA) Gateway Harley-Davidson Trek U2||Row 68 - Cell 2|
|70||Brendan Rhim (USA) Holowesko | Citadel Racing Team||Row 69 - Cell 2|
|71||Miguel Bryon (USA) Holowesko | Citadel Racing Team||0:09:54|
|72||Mackenzie Brennan (USA) Holowesko | Citadel Racing Team||Row 71 - Cell 2|
|73||Joshua Berry (USA) Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis||Row 72 - Cell 2|
|74||Christopher Butler (USA) Caja Rural - Seguras RGA||Row 73 - Cell 2|
|75||Justin Stanley (USA) ELBOWZ Racing p/b Synergy.O||Row 74 - Cell 2|
|76||Maxwell Ackermann (USA) Gateway Harley-Davidson Trek U2||Row 75 - Cell 2|
|77||Brant Speed (USA) ELBOWZ Racing p/b Synergy.O||Row 76 - Cell 2|
|78||Patrick Collins (USA) CCB Velotooler||Row 77 - Cell 2|
|DNF||Cory Small (USA) CCB Velotooler||Row 78 - Cell 2|
|DNF||Benjamin Wolfe (USA) Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis||Row 79 - Cell 2|
|DNF||Daniel Eaton (USA) UnitedHealthcare||Row 80 - Cell 2|
|DNF||Adrian Hegyvary (USA) UnitedHealthcare||Row 81 - Cell 2|
|DNF||Jesse Anthony (USA) Rally Cycling||Row 82 - Cell 2|
|DNF||Brandon McNulty (USA) Rally Cycling||Row 83 - Cell 2|
|DNF||Thomas Soladay (USA) Rally Cycling||Row 84 - Cell 2|
|DNF||Curtis White (USA) Rally Cycling||Row 85 - Cell 2|
|DNF||Oscar Clark (USA) Holowesko | Citadel Racing Team||Row 86 - Cell 2|
|DNF||John Murphy (USA) Holowesko | Citadel Racing Team||Row 87 - Cell 2|
|DNF||Ian Garrison (USA) Axeon Hagens Berman||Row 88 - Cell 2|
|DNF||Michael Sheehan (USA) Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis||Row 89 - Cell 2|
|DNF||Cullen Easter (USA) Team Illuminate||Row 90 - Cell 2|
|DNF||Jake Silverberg (USA) Start Vaxes Cycling Team||Row 91 - Cell 2|
|DNF||Bryan Lewis (USA) Cylance||Row 92 - Cell 2|
|DNF||SamueL Snipe Grove (USA) Cylance||Row 93 - Cell 2|
|DNF||Ansel Dickey (USA) CCB Velotooler||Row 94 - Cell 2|
|DNF||John Harris (USA) CCB Velotooler||Row 95 - Cell 2|
|DNF||Cooper Willsey (USA) CCB Velotooler||Row 96 - Cell 2|
|DNF||Evan Bybee (USA) Arapahoe Resources / Garneau||Row 97 - Cell 2|
|DNF||Andrew Dahlheim (USA) Arapahoe Resources / Garneau||Row 98 - Cell 2|
|DNF||Michael Burleigh (USA) Canyon Bicycles||Row 99 - Cell 2|
|DNF||Keegan Swirbul (USA) Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis||Row 100 - Cell 2|
|DNF||Ricky Randall (USA) Arapahoe Resources / Garneau||Row 101 - Cell 2|
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