This year the US Elite and U23 Cycling National Championships were held in Augusta, Georgia which is more known for being the home of the Masters Golf Tournament. Although for this one week everyone in town welcomed the cyclist and knew what was going on as this was the towns second time hosting the event.
The Astellas Oncology p/b ABD Cycling team members partaking in the races were Nick, Dan, Bryan, and Jake in the elite races and Andre, Brandon, and Zach in the Under 23 events. The first race was the time trial and the only team members racing were Nick and Dan. Both went out and put out great efforts. Held on a rolling course in very warm conditions both were able to place in the top 20.
The following day were the criteriums. First up was the 80km Elite Men’s event held in the middle of the day under very warm conditions. All members raced near the front of the 144 rider field. A late crash took down Jake, but Bryan was able to keep pace near the front and finished in the top 25.
Later in the day was the Under 23 event. They young guys really put on a show. The racing was super fast laps consistently coming in under 2 minutes on the 1 mile course, which is over 30mph average speed. A lot of riders in the race fell off the pace early on, while Brandon, Andre, and Zach were able to keep up front and in the heat of the action. Brandon once again showed he was on great form by finishing in 13th place. He has 2 more years in this category to improve on this great placing.
The following day the Under 23's were the first to take to the 104 mile road race. Once again the heat was a big factor in the race. Unfortunately an early mechanical took Andre out of the race leaving the Astellas guys with just two riders. The field blew apart under early pressure into many small groups. Brandon and Zach both made it into groups that finished the race which was good as only a small amount of the race actually finished.
The last event was the Elite Road Race Championships. The race started off fast and aggressive with a group of 12 forming off the front after the first of 7 laps. The team saw this as a threat and Dan tired to get across. After not making it he took Jake to the front on one of the bigger hills on the course and Jake bridged across with 3 other riders. The 15 rider group would ride much of the race off the front only a minute or two from the field. Some more riders would bridge later on, but coming into the last lap 3 riders shot off the front. Then on the last lap the remaining break away riders would be caught by the field. From there Jake, Dan and Bryan did what the could to try help bring back the 30sec gap unsuccessfully and finished in the group 17second behind the winners.
The team didn't come away with any medals or jerseys but they put themselves into position in the race to have a chance to win and that is more than half the battle. You can't win till you are able to put yourself in a position to win.
Thanks for the support
Astellas Oncology Cycling Team p/b ABD