Faulkner and Quinn Win Elite Road Races at the 2024 USA Cycling Professional Road National Championships

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Faulkner crosses the line solo to win her first ever National Championship. Quinn comes back from a flat to win the Elite Men’s National Title.

CHARLESTON, West Virginia (May 19, 2024) – The 2024 USA Cycling Professional Road National Championships concluded-on Sunday with the Elite/U23 Women’s Road Race and the Elite Men’s Road Race. Competing on a 13.1-mile course, riders had to battle two race defining climbs for multiple laps. Each climb had an average grade of 5.5%.

ELITE/U23 WOMEN’S ROAD RACE

The Elite/U23 Women completed a total of 127-kilometers. The first climb up Bridge Road was just a few kilometers from the start which meant riders needed to move to the front early. Heading up the climb, the peloton immediately shattered apart leaving an opportunity for Veronica Ewers (Moscow, Idaho; EF Education-Cannondale) to push the pace on the downhill. Approximately 42 riders settled in to form a group at the front. On the second lap it dwindled down even further to less than 30.

With four laps to go, Lily Williams (Colorado Springs, Colo.; Human Powered Health) put in an attack. The group chose not to respond knowing that the climb would bring it all back together. On Kanawha Boulevard, the group split again but reconnected headed into the feed zone. Heidi Franz (Seattle, Wash.; Life-plus Wahoo) then launched a separate attack with just under 30-kilometers to go. Five riders joined her up the road. Lauren De Crescenzo (Atlanta, Ga.; Factor/TheFeed/Castelli/Maxxis/Perc) fought hard and was able to bridge up to that same group.

With 16.7-miles to go, Kristen Faulkner (Homer, Alaska; EF Education-Cannondale) attacked on the downhill heading into the city with Ruth Edwards (Nederland, Colo.; Human Powered Health) right on her wheel. The chase group became Nicole Steinmetz (Loomis, Calif.; UCI CTW: Cynisca Cycling), Lauren Stephens (Dallas; UCI CTW: Cynisca Cycling), Coryn Labecki (Tustin, Calif.; EF Education-Cannondale), and De Crescenzo. Without a rider up the road, Stephens increased the pace hoping to reconnect with the two leaders. Labecki reacted and hopped on her wheel. At seven kilometers to go, the two leaders were 1:50 ahead of the chasers. Faulkner strategically gave it everything she had on the final climb to get a gap on Edwards. At just over four kilometers to go, Faulkner’s gap had grown to 35-seconds. Crossing the line first after a tremendous effort, Faulkner earned the Stars and Stripes jersey. Edwards finished in second, and Labecki sprinted in for third. When Faulkner was asked about how it felt to win, she said, “I have never won it [a national title] before. I love riding in pink, but if there’s one thing better than pink, it’s the Stars and Stripes.”

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Nicole Steinmetz (Loomis, Calif.; UCI CTW: Cynisca Cycling) was the first U23 rider to cross the line. She also ended up sixth overall. Kaia Schmid (Marblehead, Mass.; Liv-Alula-Jayco) placed second, and Kayla Davis (Hidden Hills, Calif. Serious Cycling) earned third.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Elite Women’s Results:

    1. Kristen Faulkner (Homer, Alaska; EF Education-Cannondale)
    2. Ruth Edwards (Nederland, Colo.; Human Powered Health)
    3. Coryn Labecki (Tustin, Calif.; EF Education-Cannondale)

Under-23 Women’s Results:

    1. Nicole Steinmetz (Loomis, Calif.; UCI CTW: Cynisca Cycling)
    2. Kaia Schmid (Marblehead, Mass.; Liv-Alula-Jayco)
    3. Kayla Davis (Hidden Hills, Calif. Serious Cycling)

ELITE MEN’S ROAD RACE

In the event finale, 133 Elite Men lined up on the start line to complete their 212-kilometer race. The temperature hit its forecasted high of 81-degrees for the day, and riders were being fed ice socks as early as the second lap. By the end of the third lap, the field had dwindled down to 67 riders.

In a race-defining move at the top of lap five, Brandon McNulty (Phoenix; UAE Team Emirates) put in a massive group splitting attack across the bridge before the climb up Bridge Road. This group eventually caught up to leaders Colby Simmons (Durango, Co.; Team Visma | Lease a Bike u23) and Robin Carpenter (Norwood, Mass.; L39ION OF LOS ANGELES) at the bottom of the Wertz Avenue descent. The pack of twelve riders created a two-minute gap and became the peloton of racers in contention for the National Title.

With 37-miles to go, Scott Mcgill (Forest Hill, Md.; Project Echelon Racing), Neilson Powless (Roseville, Calif.; EF Education-EasyPost), Sean Quinn (Sherman Oaks, Calif.; EF Education-EasyPost), Gavin Hlady (Riverside, Calif.; Aevolo Cycling), and McNulty broke away. Heading back into the downtown stretch with 27.1-miles remaining, Quinn’s race came to a halt when he realized he had a front flat. His team mechanic was able to quickly fix it and get him back up and running. After a massive effort up Bridge Road, he reconnected with the leaders.

It all came down to a battle between Quinn, McNulty, and Powless in the final lap. When asked about the final few kilometers Quinn said, “I actually felt really good, I felt like I had a lot of power left in the legs, but it was more worried about cramping, ‘cause I started cramping with like two laps to go. Just tried to catch my breath, stay calm. I knew in the end I could use my final kick to win.” In an all-out sprint to the line between the three riders, Quinn earned the Stars and Stripes jersey with an extraordinary photo-finish win. McNulty finished in second and Powless earned third.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Elite Men’s Results:

    1. Sean Quinn (Sherman Oaks, Calif.; EF Education-EasyPost)
    2. Brandon McNulty (Phoenix; UAE Team Emirates)
    3. Neilson Powless (Roseville, Calif.; EF Education-EasyPost)

Thank you for tuning in for another year. The USA Cycling Professional Road National Champions will return to Charleston in 2025.

 

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