The Americans failed to medal on the first day of individual competitions, but the weeklong assignment with the national team has the junior and espoirs riders learning from their older peers.
Norway’s Oskar Svendsen won gold in the juniors’ time trial. Speaking to VeloNews in the U.S. National Team’s tent while Svendsen and the others finished, Eisenhart said that a top 10 would be perfect.
“A top 10? This is my first world championships, so getting a top 10 would just be fantastic,” he said.
Eisenhart bases himself in Izegem, Belgium, during the season, the West Flanders home of the USA Cycling team house where Tyler Farrar and others developed before turning professional. This season, he raced throughout Europe and back in North America, scoring big results like a stage win in Switzerland’s Pays de Vaud stage race in May and another in Canada’s Tour de l’Abitibi in July.
“I hope for the same next year,” he said. “I hope to continue to work with the U.S. team and just to continue to do my best. I’m talking to a few U23 teams; I’ll be signing for one after the worlds. I just want to stay in the amateur ranks so I can continue to work with the USA team and continue to develop as a rider. [Going pro is] the ultimate goal, but to get there I just got to focus on little goals and continue to build up.”
Over the week in the Netherlands, Eisenhart will stay with the other Americans, including pros Tejay van Garderen and Andrew Talansky, in the U.S. National Team’s hotel. The experience is only strengthening his resolve.
“You are staying with all these guys, seeing how they act around the dinner table and you see how they act in public,” Eisenhart said. “It’s something to learn from. It’s an experience just to have them there.”
Hours after Eisenhart wound down from his effort, Nathan Brown and Larry Warbasse raced through the finish line in the under-23 event. Brown placed 20th, 2:41 behind winner Anton Vorobyev (Russia).
“It was definitely a hard course; one where you couldn’t get into a rhythm,” Brown explained. “It was heavy, it was always all up and down.”
Brown changed out of his skinsuit and kept an eye on the television. The Danes, the Australians and then Russia dominated. Some of them will turn professional next year, but some, like Brown, will continue in the U23 or amateur ranks to hone their skills.
“Late into the year, I had good results and I was really happy with that,” Brown told VeloNews.
After finishing third in the U23 national time trial championship in June, he helped Bontrager-Livestrong teammate Ian Boswell to fifth overall in the Tour de l’Avenir earlier this month. Last week, he rode to seventh in the GP Briek Schotte.
“I was riding good and we did good as a team, so that was really big for us,” he said. “Next year, I want to have a strong spring, come out swinging in the early season and hopefully build from there.”
Brown, Eisenhart and the other amateurs will dine with the pros again tonight and swap stories. The worlds, even without wins, is proving to be a learning experience for them.