Wilcoxson Claims Individual Pursuit Stars and Stripes, Teammate Amber Gaffney Takes Bronze
Jade Wilcoxson continued to build on her impressive list of achievements by claiming another national title on Saturday, defeating Kimberly Geist (Emmaus, Pa./Chester County Cycling) in the final of the 3 kilometer individual pursuit at the US Track National Championships in Carson, CA. The win adds even more luster to her incredible 2013 season, which saw the second year rider for Optum Pro Cycling presented by Kelly Benefit Strategies claim the silver medal at the Cyclocross World Championships in Louisville and win the US Pro Road Championships in Chattanooga. Teammate Amber Gaffney joined Wilcoxson on the final podium, claiming the bronze medal.
The Talent, OR native completed a brief minicamp prior to the national championships at the velodrome near the team’s home base in Minneapolis. Accompanied by track and aerodynamic experts from HED Cycling, Wilcoxson completed just four days of training at the velodrome, honing her technique in anticipation of her biggest trip yet around the banked oval.
“It feels amazing,” Wilcoxson said after winning her second stars and stripes jersey. “It’s unexpected. Thankfully, the guys at HED did a mini track camp with me to get me ready for this and get me used to the track, and I guess they did something right because I had a good ride. It’s been kind of a whirlwind year. I’m thankful for the help and support of my team and all of my sponsors – they really make it possible.”
The victory comes just months after suffering a brutal crash on the final stage of the Nature Valley Grand Prix, and was a potent reminder of her quick and full recovery from wrist surgery following the crash. It also served as a bit of redemption, as the crash and surgery forced her to miss a trip to Italy to compete at the Giro Rosa with Team USA, which saw the American women win the team classification prize.
“This national title just let me know I have some untapped potential on the track,” she added. “I’ll continue to feel that out, with the same goal as in road racing, which is winning. I want to maximize my potential in all cycling disciplines and see where that leads.”
Her track title bodes well for another of the rider’s major long term goals, which is a selection for Team USA at the 2016 Summer Games in Rio di Janeiro, Brazil. Expect Wilcoxson to continue honing her considerable skills on the road, ‘cross, and track bikes for the Orange and Black, as the Olympic selection committee looks on.
The title once again grows the team’s incredible collection of national titles for Optum p/b KBS, which includes Leah Kirchmann (CAN), Joelle Numainville (CAN), Tom Zirbel (USA), Eric Young (USA), Lauren Hall (USA), Ian Moir (USA) and Courteney Lowe (NZL) winning titles for their respective countries so far in 2013.