After a day of rest the Orange & Black continued their pursuit for a championship crown on Monday in the road race of the 2015 Volkswagen USA Cycling Professional Championships in Chattanooga, TN. Warm and humid weather conditions that steadily worsened as the day progressed proved to be one of the toughest opponents on the 165 km course that included several trips up Lookout Mountain and the formidable Kent State “wall”.
The women’s race kicked off first and consisted of three start laps through a downtown circuit, two longer loops on Lookout Mountain, and finished with three final downtown laps. Every lap included a trip up the 13% grade Kent State wall. Aggressive riding and well timed attacks consistently bled off riders and stretched the race to its breaking point. Despite the tough conditions, Brianna Walle managed to stay near the front of the race, finishing 10th on the day. Alison Tetrick suffered a hard spill in the early goings, but was able to continue racing with a smattering of road rash.
The men’s race included four laps through the downtown circuit, four longer laps over Lookout Mountain, and three final laps again on the downtown circuit. Jesse Anthony, Tom Zirbel, and Scott Zwizanski were part of an early break that lasted until the third trip up Lookout Mt., when Tour de France contender Andrew Talansky (Cannondale-Garmin) attacked on the steep slope and gained a 1:40 gap. Phil Gaimon joined a chase that eventually brought Talansky back and took control of the race’s tempo. Extremely heavy rainfall had begun, and Gaimon’s chance at the stars and stripes jersey was snuffed out after he slid out in one of the sippery, sharp corners in the final circuit. The race ended in heavy rainfall that severely diminished the field – a fraction of the starters finished the day of racing.