Return to Beautiful Chattanooga Course for Road Race and Time Trial
Chattanooga, Tenn., hosts two of the most prestigious days of racing on American soil this weekend, at the 2015 Volkswagen USA Cycling Professional Road and Time Trial National Championships. A collection of the best U.S. men and women on two wheels will return to the 2014 host city, battling for the stars and stripes jersey in the individual time trial on May 23rd, and the road race on May 25th.
The time trial course takes riders out of Chattanooga’s historic downtown area to a new course outside Volkswagen’s Chattanooga Plant. The 19-mile course features a unique layout, winding through Hamilton County’s rolling hills with two out-and-back runs of 9.5 miles each.
The road race course returns largely unchanged from 2014, showcasing downtown Chattanooga and a variety of climbs, including a lengthy push up the Scenic Highway on Lookout Mountain. The course is complex and challenging, with three separate circuits. The men’s and women’s races will begin with a 5.1-mile start circuit — three circuits for the women and four for the men. The same circuit will be used for the finish of each race. The course then takes the riders on a relatively flat run along Market Street to begin the climb up Ochs Highway, which is approximately three miles with 1,150 feet of elevation gain. The race will pass through Lookout Mountain to Scenic Highway, and return to downtown via Market Street. The men will complete four laps up the climb, while the women will do two laps of this 16.5 mile loop. The men and women will complete the start/finish circuits each lap of the “long lap” and will finish the race with three 5.1-mile circuits each. The race totals totaling 69 miles for the women and 111 for the men.
A defining feature of the course, and a decisive moment in the 2014 race, is a punishing 20 percent grade section on Kent Street. The stretch of road is a feature on all circuits, as well as the longer laps on Lookout Mountain. It is a fantastic course design for spectators, with the peloton speeding through the heart of Chattanooga 11 times in the men’s race, and eight in the women’s. Racing begins with the women’s time trial championship on Saturday, May 23, at 11 a.m. (EDT) and the men’s race at 2 p.m. The women’s road race starts Monday, May 25, at 9 a.m. The men start their 179.3km road race at 1:30 p.m. All road race will be live streamed at cyclingnews.com.
Performance Directors Jonas Carney and Patrick McCarty share some thoughts on the men’s and women’s chances this weekend in Appalachia.
The team has been on the podium several times in the road race, but never as the winner. Anything about the course or roster this year that makes you confident for a victory?
The course in Chattanooga is a very challenging one, and a race that can be won in many different ways. We have a well-rounded team for Monday’s race. A lot will depend on how the race plays out, and also how some of our guys have recovered from a hard week in California. We have options, whether things are difficult from the get go or controlled until the finish. It’s going to be a great race, and we have our strongest team to date this year to try and make things happen.
Tom Zirbel and Scott Zwizanski are two the fastest time trialists in the country. How are things looking for them on Saturday?
Tom is obviously one of the favorites to win the time trial, and he’s riding great right now, as he showed at the Tour of California. I also think he has some extra motivation for a national title this year – he had his heart set on a result at the Tour of California time trial, but the last-minute course change due to the weather did not suit him well. He is itching to go. Scott could surprise a lot of people as well – he has been training a lot on his time trial bike, and he has been on the podium before at nationals. Both of the “Flying Z” boys have great shots at the podium.
What kind of roster are you bringing to Chattanooga? Anyone you will be looking to set up?
Our team for nationals is small, but powerful. We will have to be careful with only four riders, but I think the dynamic with the other teams could play into our favor. We have one of the strongest sprinters in the country, who can also get over climbs quite well, in Brianna Walle. She will be our key rider for the road race, though if things get crazy early on, we have options. If the race gets very difficult on the climbs, Amy Charity will certainly be with the leaders. Overall, I think our chances to come home with a jersey this year are pretty good. We lack numbers, but still have one of the strongest teams in the race this year.
Half of the gold medal winning team time trial team will go for gold. Anyone to look for with a result on this course?
Yes, this is a strong well rounded team. I think our best hopes for the time trial are Brianna Walle and Alison Tetrick. They have proven themselves all season in the TT, and they are both motivated to get a result on Saturday.
Men’s Time Trial Roster
Men’s Road Race Roster
Women’s Time Trial and Road Race Roster