The state of Colorado swept the men’s podium and the Mara Abbott-led Whitman women made their first step to an overall repeat on Friday at the 2007 USA Cycling Collegiate Road National Championships.
Friday’s race, a team time trial and the first race of the three-day championship, saw teams navigating a banking, gradually sloping, 12-mile stretch on the grassy outskirts of the muggy college town.
In the Division I men’s race, the upper-80 temperatures and humid weather seemed to favor the riders from Colorado.
Colorado State finished third on the course, which was sandwiched between a plot of farmland and a housing development. The Rams dropped a rider but retained enough to be counted at the finish. The University of Colorado, riding just after Colorado State, bettered the Rams by a second and also dropped a rider.
But just as CU was finishing, the blue-and-silver train of Fort Lewis College (Durango) came rolling around the course’s final turn, just after a deceptively hard downhill stretch.
“Downhill might’ve been one of the hardest parts,” Fort Lewis business major Joey Thompson said. “You’re just rotating so fast. There was no recovery on the downhill.”
Putting together a strong final push, Fort Lewis finished intact and won the race with a noon finish. The order of finish gave the state of Colorado a 1-2-3 finish on the podium.
Defending champion California-Davis finished fourth, eight seconds down.
“It’s the way it should be,” Fort Lewis business major Noah Singer joked. “These are the people we’ve been racing against all year. It’s all guys we know.”
The Rocky Mountain Collegiate Cycling Conference, which encompasses universities in Colorado, Wyoming, Utah and New Mexico, is one of the hardest in the country, he added, and it’s showing with their results.
Fort Lewis also won the Division I women’s race, which makes the small Rocky Mountain college a shoo-in for the omnium title, which goes to the best overall college in the division. The Skyhawks will have to put in strong performances in Saturday’s road race and Sunday’s criterium to clinch it.
Fort Lewis racers and RMCCC champions Yarden Gazit and Kristen McGrath will be competing in both races.
California-Davis trails Fort Lewis by just 25 points in the overall standings, though, so the race is still very open.
In the Division II women’s race, a grinning Abbott led the Whitman women to a first-place finish, besting the second-place Western Washington University by more than a minute. It’s a first step for Abbott and Whitman toward defending the omnium title, which they have controlled for the last two years.
Abbott, who also won the Tour of the Gila this month, is looking to close out her college career with her third-straight omnium title.
“It was fun out there,” she said. “I haven’t been able to do as many collegiate races this year, so to be able to come back and be with the girls was just awesome. It’s pretty exciting to come back here, especially because two years ago, this was one of my first-ever experiences at a big race.”
Whitman finished ninth in today’s Division II men’s race, which was won by in-state rival Western Washington. Whitman Trails WWU by 29 points in the Division II overall standings.
Competition continues Saturday with a road race in the nearby city of Perry. Racers will circle a 28-mile course around a lake situated in the town. The course will offer the same undulating terrain as the team time trial, as well as a gravel portion.
Women will complete two laps of the course, beginning at 8 a.m. Men will do three, starting at 11 a.m.
Racing wraps up Sunday with a criterium in downtown Lawrence, a fast, one-mile, figure-eight circuit.
Fort Lewis scored its race win after accidentally pre-riding the stage backwards … Lees-McRae College, in its first year since moving up to Division I, finished second in the women’s race, 13th in the men’s race … Yale and Colorado both failed to field women’s team time trial teams, knocking them out of contention for the omnium titles … The UC-Santa Barbara mascot, the Gaucho, was out cheering on his team: whip, pistol, Zorro mask and all.
2007 Collegiate Road National Championships Team Time Trial
May 10. Kansas
Division I Men
1. Fort Lewis College (Chris Kuhl, Joey Thompson, Ian Burnett, Noah Singer), 12 miles in 23:16.6
2. University of Colorado (Blake Harlan, Braden Bingham, Taylor Kneuven, Kiel Reijnen), at 0:13.0
3. Colorado State University (Patrick McGlynn, Dan Workman, Brett Tack, Evan Ruzanski), at 0:14.3
4. University of California-Davis (Stephen Dey, Tyler Dibble, Zach Kimsey, Shawn Rosenthal), at 0:24.5
5. University of Wisconsin (Ryan Baumann, Eric Bean, Dallas Fowler, Richard Hatch), at 0:32.1
Division I Women
1. Fort Lewis College (Sabina Kraushaar, Christy Roberts, Kristin McGrath, Molly Hummel), 12 miles in 27:21.2
2. University of California-Davis (Amanda Seigle, Amy Encalada, Jamima Iley, Marisa McAdler), at 0:08.6
3. Stanford University (Arwen Bradley, Rae Brownsberger, Caitlyn McCullough, Sasha Richey), at 0:18.0
4. Midwestern State (Ivana Miucic, Sheri Jordan, Natalie Klemko, Laura Whittle), at 0:26.4
5. University of Florida (Jacquelyn Crowell, Rebecca Larson, Heather O’Moore), at 0:39.8
Division II Men
1. Western Washington University (Chris Daifuku, Nick Clayville, Phil Elsasser, Logan Wetzel), 12 miles in 23:46.0
2. Princeton (Nick Frey, Nicholas Bennette, Austin Roach, Alistair Sponsel), at 0:13.8
3. University of Denver (Grant Goerzen, Steve Forbes, Eric Moore, Taylor Shelden), at 0:34.9
4. Colorado College (Jared Faciszewski, Mitchell Hoke, Todd Nordblom, Jonathan Tower), at 0:46.3
5. Cumberland University (Ben Bevans, Peter Fairbanks, Shawn Mullican, Whitney Stanbrough), at 0:57.0
Division II Women
1. Whitman College (Mara Abbott, Mia Huth, Rebecca Jensen, Thomas Kendi), 12 miles in 28:14.8
2. Western Washington University (Heidi Hoff, Meagan McPhee, Kristen Stouder), at 1:05.1
3. MIT (Martha Buckley, Kristen Naegle, Ilana Brito, Caitlin Bever), at 1:38.1
4. Dartmouth (Jenna Farleigh, Jen Stebbins, Emily Stonehouse), at 1:44.1
5. DePauw University (Michelle Couch, Abby Currens, Ali Davis, Lauren Guggina), at 2:42.6
Overall standings (after one day)
1. Fort Lewis College, 168
2. University of California-Davis, 143
3. Stanford, 129
4. Colorado State University, 129
5. University of Florida, 116
1. Western Washington University, 161
2. Whitman College, 132
3. Dartmouth College, 124
4. MIT, 116
5. Mesa State, 100
FILED UNDER: Road