Warbasse tops breakaway to claim U.S. Pro road race crown

American Larry Warbasse claims national road race championship just days after picking up first pro career win at Tour de Suisse.

Photo: Photo by Casey B. Gibson

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Larry Warbasse survived out of the three-rider breakaway and sprints to a U.S. Pro national road race championship in Knoxville, Tennessee to earn the right to wear the Stars and Stripes jersey for the next 12 months.

The 26-year-old Aqua Blue Sport cyclist overpowered fellow break mates Neilson Powless (Axeon Hagens Berman) and Alexey Vermeulen (Team LottoNL-Jumbo) in that order to take the win just a little more than a week from taking a stage win at the Tour de Suisse.

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“I’m in disbelief,” said the former BMC Racing and IAM Cycling rider following the 109.9-mile (176.8km) road race consisting of 14 7.9-mile (12.6km) laps, including a little more than baker’s dozen trips up a nasty hill on Sherrod Road with gradient spikes of 13 percent inside a half a mile on a stretch that reaches 1,100 feet in elevation. “It’s been the best two weeks of my life. I had a really great race in Suisse a couple of weeks ago, and yesterday I felt pretty bad and in the time trial I was pretty disappointed. I told some friends ‘I guess I work well with disappointment, so hopefully tomorrow will be good’ and honestly I dint feel good the whole day.

“At the start I was suffering, actually I was suffering the whole time,” continued Warbasse, who was 24 hours removed from a fifth-place finish at the national time trial championship on Saturday. “I don’t think I was the strongest but I was the smartest. I can’t believe it, I am so happy.”

With five laps remaining (39.5 miles/63.5km), a three-man break consisting of Daniel Eaton (UHC), Ian Garrison (Axeon Hagens Berman) , Sean Bennett (Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis) held a 1 minute 20 second lead that was quickly closing due to a surging peloton.

After the field came together with four laps to go, the three-man attack launched and rode to the finish, with Robin Carpenter (Holowesko-Citadel Racing) taking fourth in a selective sprint 35 seconds behind the winner.

Colin Joyce (Rally Cycling), Brent Bookwalter (BMC Racing), Alex Howes (Cannodale-Drapac), Kiel Reijnen (Trek-Segafredo), Eric Young (Rally Cycling) and newly crowned time trial national champion Joey Rosskopf (BMC Racing) rounded out the top 10 in that order.

Full race report and results to follow …

Results, top 10

  • 1. Lawrence WARBASSE, AQUA BLUE SPORT, in 4:20:45
  • 2. Neilson POWLESS, AXEON HAGENS BERMAN, at :00
  • 5. Colin JOYCE, RALLY CYCLING, at :35
  • 6. Brent BOOKWALTER, BMC RACING, at :35
  • 7. Alex HOWES, CANNONDALE-DRAPAC, at :38
  • 8. Kiel REIJNEN, TREK-SEGAFREDO, at :47
  • 9. Eric YOUNG, RALLY CYCLING, at :47

An American in France

What’s it like to be an American cyclist living in France? Watch to get professional road cyclist Joe Dombrowski’s view.