(Aug. 26, 2014) – U.S. juniors continued to climb podiums at Belgian kermesses, fortifying an already convincing summer campaign with the USA Cycling National Development Program (NDP). During the past several days, 11 riders in two distinct groups, in addition to six riders attending a 15-16 European race camp, were supported by USA Cycling as they gained valuable experience in international competition.
Michael Hernandez (r) takes third at the Omloop Vlaamse Gewesten as part of the K2 group. (photo by Joe Holmes)
JUNIORS MEN'S ROAD
Geetbets, Puurs and Vliermaal kermesses (K1 Juniors)
The K1 group of Nick Castellano (Upland, Calif./Team Specialized Racing –NCCF), Derek Cote (Burlington, Conn./CT Cycling Advancement Program), Tommy Lucas (Santa Rosa, Calif./Bear Development Team), Eric Oien (Escondido, Calif./Monster Media Racing Team) and Clayton Stone (Anthem, Ariz./Athlete Octane) competed at three kermesses on the week, recording a plethora of top-20 finishes.
At the Aug. 20 Geetbets, Oien recorded a 13th-place result, followed by Stone’s 16th-place effort and Lucas’ 18th-place showing. Castellano finished 46th, while Cote tied for 50th.
The K1 riders struggled at the Aug. 23 Puurs, turning in two top-35 performances. Lucas led the way for the Americans with his 32nd-place finish, followed closely by Stone in 35th. Oien placed 57th, while Castellano and Cote tied seven other riders for 88th.
The team bounced back nicely the next day at the Vliermaal kermesse, as Lucas put together a 13th-place effort, pacing Stone in 44th, Castellano in 45th, and Oien and Cote in a tie for 46th with the remainder of the pack.
Mere and Omloop Vlaamse Gewesten kermesses (K2 Juniors)
The K2 group competed at Mere kermesse on Aug. 20, where Jack Maddux (Fresno, Calif./Hot Tubes Development Cycling Team) won one more race in his excellent summer campaign, while teammate Noah Granigan (Cape May Court House, N.J./RACE CF) was second. Jonny Brown (Covington, Tenn./Hot Tubes Development Cycling Team, Inc.) took sixth at the event, followed by David Duquette (Gastonia, N.C./Revolve Residential p/b Pre-Reg.com) in 18th, David Lombardo (Crystal Lake, Ill./Hincapie Development Team) in 49th and Michael Hernandez (Clermont, Fla./Hot Tubes Development Cycling Team) in 51st.
On Aug. 24, the K2 group rode the Omloop Vlaamse Gewesten (UCI MJ 1.1), where Michael Hernandez landed another podium for the USA Cycling Junior National Team and stood upon the third step. After a fast and scorching first three laps, a large break of 12 riders, including Hernandez and Brown slid away from the field and remained at the front all the way to the finish. Brown crossed 12th, while Granigan took 15th, Lombardo placed 24th, Duquette finished 61st and Maddox tied for 97th. The U.S. took third in the team classification.
The 15-16 Camp B juniors at the West Vlaanderen Tour. (photo by Billy Innes)
West Vlaanderen Tour (15-16 Camp B Juniors)
The 15-16 Camp B Juniors competed at the West Vlaanderen Tour on Aug. 22, and the team of Cameron Beard (Bend, Ore./ Hutch's-Specialized-Slocom-Co Motion), Chris Blevins (Durango, Colo./Team Specialized Racing-NCCF), Grant McElroy (Portland, Ore./Team Specialized Racing-NCCF), Sean McElroy (Palmdale, Calif./Team Specialized Racing), Gage Hecht (Parker, Colo./Team Specialized Racing-NCCF) and Simon Jones (Milwaukee, Wis./Greenville Spinners Bicycle Club-Hincapie Development Team) secured second overall in the team classification.
Hecht finishedsecond in the general classification in 4:50:32, just 37 seconds behind winner Sasha Weemaes, and third in the points competition. Sean McElroy, after having the best young riders jersey for the first two days, fell to fourth in those standings on the final day in 4:51:10 (21st overall) after helping Hecht retain his spot on the GC podium. One second later, Blevins and Grant McElroy finished 23rd and 24th, respectively, in 4:51:11, followed by Beard in 67th in 4:55:23. Jones also competed.
The U23 men’s program continues the Tour de l’Avenir in France, which runs from Aug. 23-30.
The women’s development road program returns to action when Kaitlin Antonneau (Colorado Springs, Colo./Marian University), Allie Dragoo (Grand Rapids, Mich./Marian University), Heather Fischer (Boulder, Colo./K4 Racing-DNA Cycling p/b K4), Mandy Heintz (Houston, Texas/Fearlesse Femme), Lauren Komanski (Winston Salem, N.C./TWENTY16 Pro Cycling) and Kendall Ryan (Ventura, Calif./Team TIBCO) take on the Boels Rental Ladies Tour, Sept. 2-7, in the Netherlands.
The juniors men’s K1 program will race the Aug. 27 Baardegem and Aug. 30 Everberg kermesses in Belgium, while the K2 riders will take on the Aug. 30 Klimcriterium Math Salden and Aug. 31 Klimcriterium Heerlen in the Netherlands.