4 months agoby Dane Cash

Homeward Bound 🇺🇸 🇨🇦

Riders return to North America to contest national championships

It’s pro road nationals week in the United States and Canada, and that means non-stop action from Thursday, June 27th through Monday, July 1st for the men and women of Rally UHC Cycling.

With both sides of the team fielding riders across three disciplines in Beauce, Quebec, and Knoxville, Tennessee, Rally UHC Cycling will be in the hunt for 12 different elite national titles over the coming days.

The victories on offer across time trials, criteriums, and road races in Canada and the United States aren’t just any old wins, either. Each one is an opportunity to score a highly coveted national champion’s jersey for an entire year.

There’s something extra special about the chance to add the flair of a maple leaf or the stars and stripes to the orange jersey. There are domestic bragging rights at stake, and in some cases, titles to defend: the team won three elite national titles last year.

Ty Magner’s stars and stripes kit stands out in a sea of jerseys.

Competition will be fierce across the board. Robin Carpenter, runner-up in the always-elusive USPro men’s road race last year, puts it nicely: “I like the idea of riding around in a special jersey for the next 12 months a lot—but so does everyone else at nationals.”

USPro nationals get underway on Thursday with the men’s and women’s time trials. On the Rally UHC Cycling women’s side, Emma White will look to take the next step forward after winning the under-23 title and delivering the third best time in the elite race last year.

In 2018, Emma White became the first rider to claim all three under-23 national titles in the same year.

Canadian nationals kick off with the TT events on Friday. Defending Canadian TT champ Svein Tuft makes the start in pursuit of an incredible 12th title. Even with so many Grand Tours and Classics on his career resume, Tuft still loves coming home and soaking in the atmosphere at nationals—and he usually finds a way to make the visit count.

“It’s always been important to me. I always enjoy the trip, even with the big commitment coming over from Europe,” Tuft said.

Svein Tuft will chase a record-shattering 12th Canadian time trial crown.

While the riders test themselves against the clock in Canada, the American contingent will be hunting criterium titles on Friday night in downtown Knoxville. That means defending a hard-earned jersey for 2018 crit champ Ty Magner, who recently proved his strong summer form with a stage win at the Tour de Beauce.

Saturday sees the Rally UHC Cycling women gear up to defend Katherine Maine’s Canadian road title. It’s a position they’ve been in before having successfully defended Allison Beveridge’s title from 2017. The orange jerseys will have a target on their back in Quebec as they chase their third consecutive Canadian road title.

The Maple Leaf design is one of the most pronounced in the pro peloton.

“We are ready to race hard and keep it in the family,” said defending champ Katherine Maine.

Current Canadian crit champ Sara Bergen and 2017 Canadian road champion Allison Beveridge.

Sunday is a big one all around. It’s road race day for the Canadian men and both the men and the women stateside.

Tuft is looking forward to a special experience in his first nationals as a member of the Rally UHC Cycling squad—he’s not used to having so many Canadian teammates. This time around, he’ll be part of a dangerous lineup that includes 2018 third-place finisher Nigel Ellsay and fourth-place finisher Adam de Vos.

“I’ve usually raced the road race solo and that’s difficult. It’s a roll of the dice,” Tuft said. “Now, we have a really strong team. That doesn’t guarantee anything, but if we use our resources wisely, we’ll be alright.”

Emma White is hungry for a chance to improve on a strong performance from 2018. After a dangerous attack from teammate Heidi Franz was reeled in late in last year’s race, White sprinted to third in the elite standings, taking the under-23 title.

“I ended up making a huge tactical mistake in the last couple corners last year that not only almost caused a crash, but that has left me itching for a redo all year,” White said. “We have a strong team and have multiple cards to play so we’re absolutely looking forward to an exciting and eventful race.”

White enters USPro with an elite title on her mind.

And then there’s the US men’s road race, an event that has proven an elusive target over the team’s long history. Plenty of close calls over the last 12 seasons, including Carpenter’s runner-up ride last year, are a source of further motivation to finally pull it off.

“Anything can happen in a one-day race and that’s part of what makes them so exciting,” said performance director Jonas Carney. “Plus, it’s the championship. Everyone is pulling out all the stops, and taking big risks. It’s a hard race to predict and a hard race to read.”

Carpenter, one of several options for a solid road race squad that also includes 2018 fourth-place finisher Gavin Mannion, expects the team’s experiences in Europe this season to come in handy in Knoxville.

“The race is close to 200 km this year—almost everybody on the team has been racing in Europe where that distance is fairly standard,” Carpenter said.

Carpenter’s attacking style netted him the KOM jersey at the Tour de Luxembourg in early June.

The Canadian criterium events close things out on Monday, with the Rally UHC Cycling women eyeing a title defense on the heels of Sara Bergen’s dominant ride in 2018.

Two countries, five days, twelve coveted jerseys on offer. Cycling’s premier all-North American pro team is ready to have some fun.

Rosters:

Rally UHC Women at Canadian nationals
Sara Bergen (road race, criterium)
Allison Beveridge (time trial, road race, criterium)
Gillian Ellsay (time trial, road race, criterium)
Katherine Maine (road race, criterium)
Sara Poidevin (time trial, road race, criterium)

Rally UHC Women at USPro nationals
Erica Allar (road race, criterium)
Krista Doebel-Hickok (time trial, road race)
Heidi Franz (road race, criterium)
Abby Mickey (road race, criterium)
Emma White (time trial, road race, criterium)

Rally UHC Men at Canadian nationals
Ryan Anderson (road race, criterium)
Rob Britton (time trial, road race, criterium)
Pier-André Coté (road race, criterium)
Matteo Dal-Cin (road race, criterium)
Adam de Vos (road race, criterium)
Nigel Ellsay (time trial, road race, criterium)
Svein Tuft (time trial, road race, criterium)

Rally UHC Men at USPro nationals
Robin Carpenter (road race, criterium)
Evan Huffman (time trial, road race, criterium)
Colin Joyce (road race, criterium)
Ty Magner (road race, criterium)
Gavin Mannion (road race, criterium)
Brandon McNulty (time trial, road race, criterium)
John Murphy (road race, criterium)
Kyle Murphy (time trial, road race, criterium)
Emerson Oronte (road race, criterium)

USPro schedule:

June 27: Time trial, W 11:00 am EST, M 12:30 pm
June 28: Criterium, W 6 pm, M 7:25 pm*
June 30: Road race, W 9 am, M 1:15 pm*
Follow #USPro on Twitter for the latest updates from Knoxville.
*LIVE streaming is expected on USA Cycling’s YouTube channel.

Canadian champs schedule:

June 28 – Time Trial (2 pm – 5 pm EST)
June 29 – W Road Race (2:30 pm – 5:30 pm)
June 30 – M Road Race (12 pm – 5 pm)
July 1 – Criterium (10 am – 3 pm)
Follow #CanRoadChamps on Twitter for the latest updates from Quebec.