Putt rises to challenge to win back-to-back U23 road titles

The peloton closes in on the three leaders in the men's U23 road race. (photo by Karl Hendrikse)

Blue Mounds, Wisconsin (July 3, 2014) -- Defending champion Tanner Putt (Park City, Utah/Bissell Development Cycling) showed why he is one of the best young riders in the country as he won his second consecutive men's U23 road race Thursday at the 2014 USA Cycling Amateur & Para-cycling Road National Championships. The U23 race consisted of six laps (140km) around the course at Blue Mounds State Park.


Putt, who has raced extensively in Europe as part of the USA Cycling National Development Program (NDP), watched fellow NDP riders Daniel Eaton (Mesa, Ariz./Canyon Bicycles-Shimano), Geoffrey Curran (Tustin, Calif./Bissell Development Cycling) and Justin Oien (Escondido, Calif./California Giant Cycling) form an early break after the first lap that would eventually gain up to five minutes on the field.


With one lap remaining, the trio's advantage had been whittled down to just 1 minute and 40 seconds, and by the last climb the break was absorbed by the field with just three kilometers to go. Putt moved to the front over the final two kilometers and crossed the line first to earn the Stars-and-Stripes jersey. Keegan Swirbul (Carbondale, Colo./Bissell Development Cycling) finished in second place, three seconds back of Putt, and T.J. Eisenhart (Lehi, Utah/BMC Development Team) took the bronze medal.


In the second and final race of the day, Emerson Oronte (Boulder, Colo./GS Ciao) pulled away to win the 140km men's cat 1 race by 13 seconds. Erik Stack (Meridian, Idaho/Canyon Bicycles-Shimano) nipped Walton Brush (Portland, Ore./Team Mike's Bikes p/b Equator Coffees) to claim the silver medal.


The Fourth of July will see 39 national titles awarded in the time trial, held east of Madison in Waterloo. The action moves to Rockdale on Saturday for road races in the para-cycling categories in addition to the junior men and women age 9-14. Sunday's criteriums in downtown Madison conclude the event and will feature fast-paced racing that will take the riders around the Wisconsin state capitol on a four-corner, one-kilometer course.


For more information on the event, including course maps, a schedule of each day’s races, results and photos, visit the 2014 USA Cycling Amateur & Para-cycling Road National Championships event page. Look for updates from Madison on the USA Cycling and channels, or follow on Twitter with the hashtag #RoadNats.