5-hour ENERGY® presented by Kenda Racing Team
The USA Cycling National Championships
May 29, 2013
The USA Cycling National Championships saw a change of venue this yeah and took place in the Scenic City, Chattanooga, TN. With sunny skies and 100 miles in front of them 84 riders took to the line to try and win the coveted stars and stripes Jersey. The big obstacle of the day was the 3 mile climb up Lookout Mountain with an average 7% grade. The rest of the course was relatively flat, technical, and fast. I felt the key to the race would come at the start. With many teams only having a few riders, and some of the strongest riders racing on their own, having a presence in the first move was critical. The new course, and the different dynamic of teams, left a lot unknown on how the race would unfold and who would control or chase when necessary.
At the start of the race the 5-hour ENERGY® presented by Kenda Racing Team was active and present in all the moves. There were 23 miles of racing in small circuits in downtown Chattanooga before the start of the first ascent of Lookout Mountain. The riders would have to climb the mountain 4 times and this especially hard climb would eliminate many riders rather quickly. On the opening circuits Greg Brandt, Christian Parrett, and Taylor Shelden covered the attacks. When a dangerous group of ten escaped Shawn Milne was there to represent the 5-hour ENERGY® team. The average speed for the first hour was 28 m.p.h. Finally, after countless attacks a break established itself. We had Jim Stemper there along with Zirbel (Optum), Wren (Jamis), White (United), and Huff (Jelly Belly). They built up a lead of three to four minutes but that was as long of a leash that the peloton was willing to give them. On the final two laps up Bontrager controlled the chase gradually chipping away at the front. In the main peloton 5-hour ENERGY® had Nate English, Max Jenkins, David Williams, and Taylor Shelden. We knew on the last lap up the mountain the race had to go flat out in order to get rid of any sprinters. The last time up Busche (Radioshack) took off, went through the lead break, and everyone tried to follow. Three riders came over the top of the climb close to Busche and but chasers managed to bring them back. In that group were some of the sprinters. On the final circuits, covering 15 miles, Phil Gaimon did an incredible ride attacking by himself to try and go solo for the win. The twenty riders behind him chased for 2 laps on the five mile finishing circuit and caught Gaimon just before the end. This meant a group sprint and the danger man in that finishing group was Freddy Rodriguez.
Freddy took his 4th National title when he outsprinted Bookwalter (BMC), and Reijnen (United Healthcare) to round out the podium.
The team will see some rest next week but not much as Sunday June 2nd sees action in Philadelphia.
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