Here are some of the notable racers competing in the USA Cycling Pro Road Race & Time Trial National Championships, June 24-25, in downtown Knoxville:
When it comes to riders racing in their hometown, just think of Dave Stoller in the classic film, Breaking Away—so it’s hard not see Knoxville based Stephen Bassett as an outside favorite in this year’s US Pro Road Race Championships. Racing for Canada-based Continental team, Silber Pro Cycling, Bassett has already won stages in classic American races like the Tour of Gila and the Joe Martin Stage Race. As many rider will attest, there is always a feeling of extra strength in the legs when racing on local roads in front of friends and family.
Brent Bookwalter for American-based World Tour team, BMC, is one of the best all-around American riders in professional cycling. Since 2010, Bookwalter has raced in the all the Grand tours, and won stages in USA Pro Challenge and the Tour of Qatar.
Riding for the small U.S. team, Holowesko-Citadel Racing Team, Robin Carpenter is considered by many to be the future of American cycling. Carpenter has already won stages in prestigious races like the Tour of Utah and the USA Pro Challenge. Carpenter placed in the top-10 in last year’s US Pro Road Race Championships.
Riding for the World Tour team, Trek-Segafredo, Gregory Daniel is last year’s US Pro Road Race champion. While only 22 years old, Daniel is part of a new generation of young American talent. Hailing out of the cycling mecca of Denver, Colo., it’s hard not to see Daniel pull of back to back victories.
With a second-place finish in last year’s US Pro Road Race Championships, Alex Howes from the World Tour team, Cannodale-Drapac, is one of the best known Americans riding in the peloton today. Howes is coming off of a strong showing in the 2017 Giro d’Italia, and the sharp, punchy climb of this year’s US Pro Road Race course suits Howes’ ability as a strong one-day stage racer.
With a third place in last year’s US Pro Road Race Championships, Travis McCabe has already started the first half of the 2017 season with good wins in international races like Le Tour de Langkawi and the Herald Sun Tour. McCabe races for one of the biggest Pro-Continental American based teams, UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team.
Although he may be a lesser-known American Rider, Larry Warbasse is poised to become a household name in professional cycling. Racing for the Pro-Continental Irish based team, Aqua Blue Sport, Warbasse had his biggest win of his career this month by taking a stage victory in the Tour de Suisse. With Warbasse’s ability to tackle tough climbs, he is certainly an under the radar rider to watch for in this year’s race.
Riding for arguably the best team in professional women’s cycling, Boels-Dolmans Cycling Team, Megan Guarnier is not only one of the top cyclists in America, but also the world. In 2016 alone, Guarnier was first in the US Pro Road Race Championships, first in the Women’s Giro d’Italia, and first in the Women’s Tour of California.
When it comes to climbing, Katie Hall might be one of the strongest climbers in the women’s peloton. Riding for the American based team, UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling WomenWs Team, Hall shown to be a tremendous talent by winning the mountains jersey in both this year’s Amgen Women’s race and the Tour of Gila.
Racing for the Danish team, Team VéloCONCEPT Women, Amber Neben has been one of the stronger riders this season. While one of the elder stateswoman of the peloton, Neben won the individual time trial in UCI Road World Championships in Doha, Qatar.
When it comes to professional women’s cycling, it’s hard to think of a better all-around rider than Coryn Rivera. Riding for one of the top women’s professional team, Team Sunweb, Rivera is one of best riders in the peloton. Already in 2017, she has taken victories in prestigious races like Tour of Flanders for Women and the Tour of California. Rivera finished a mere one second behind Megan Guarnier in last year’s US Pro Road Race Championships
Riding for the one of the most prestigious women’s team in the peloton, the Germany-based Canyon-SRAM, Alexis Ryan has already shown strong results this season with a top-five finish in Santos women’s tour.
Along with Brianna Walle, Lauren Stephens also rides for Team TIBCO-SVB. Stephens has had an incredible start to her 2017 campaign, already finishing first in the Winston Salem Cycling Classic.
With a top-five place in last year’s US Pro Road Race Championships, Brianna Walle is another favorite for this year’s race. Riding for Team TIBCO-SVB, Walle has already shown good results in some early American and European races this season.
Liam Hysjulien is a freelance writer living in Knoxville, Tenn. His work has appeared in Salon, the New Republic, and Ploughshares. Besides loving the beautiful sport that is professional cycling, he is a devout follower of the best football club in North London, Tottenham.
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