Wednesday, July 3, 2013

USA Nationals: Putt takes Stars-n-Bars in Bontrager 1-2

Photo: @USACycling

Tanner Putt (Bontrager) went one place at the 2013 USA Elite U23 Natioals as the Utah native improved on last year's silver medal performance by attacking the breakaway in the race with teammate Nate Brown and crossed the line triumphantly.

The Blue Mounds circuit, which had to be amended because of safety concerns due to the large field sizes, played up to its brutal design as the hilly Wisconsin course saw multiple breakaways during the day. Bontrager was on a mission to win the U23 RR this year as they have been denied the past two seasons by the now-defunct Chipotle team. The early break consisted of Bontrager's Alex Darville, Cal Giant's Robin Eckmann and Texan Michael Pincus (Super Squadra) and the trio worked together to get a gap of 2:30 minutes. Their gap was not extended any further than that as the peloton was keen on bringing them back and as the 6-lap, 140 kilometer race hit the halfway mark, the gap was only 40 seconds.

With 2 laps to go, Bontrager lined up at the front and drilled it on one of the climbs and the peloton was shattered as a 5-man breakaway emerged from the carnage. Along with Putt and Brown was Robin Carpenter, Ty Magner (both Hincapie Development) and Cal Giant's Sam Bassetti were the survivors and their gap quickly expanded as their teams, arguably the three strongest in the race, lead the blocking efforts behind. Gateway-Harley Davidson rider Daniel Eaton was the man stuck in the middle as he tried for the better part of a lap to bridge to the break but was eventually brought back.

The Bontrager duo of Putt and Brown were putting in a large amount of work as the breakaway's gap hovered between 1-1:45 minutes. Hitting speeds of 75 km/h on the descent, the gap heading into the final lap was out to 1:45 and the race was to be decided between the quintet. The final three kilometers of the race featured a stair step climb with the final kilometer ramping up to gradients touching 11% near the finish. Even with two riders, the Hincapie duo of Carpenter and Magner were not able to reign  in Putt as he attacked near the base of the climb and his teammate Brown attacked soon after and bridged up.

Heading into the finish (Photo: @TrekTeamMatt)

Putt was putting it all out and as the Bontrager duo reached the final kilometer, they were still working well together. While an agreement might have been hashed out, recent Tour de Beauce winner Brown by no means gifted the win as he and Putt both raised their arms, crossing the line together. Behind, it was Magner and Bassetti who distanced Carpenter in the final stretch and Magner took the bronze medal on the line.

Magner out sprints Bassetti for 3rd (Photo:USACycling) 

Behind the breakaway, Bontrager continued to ride well as Connor O'Leary, also of Utah, distanced the chasing group for 6th. It was a good day for Utah as The Beehive State put four riders in the top 10. There was also more than one Putt in the race as Tanner's brother Chris put in a breakout performance for 9th on the day.

Top 10 (Full Results)
  1. Tanner Putt (Bontrager CT) 3:14'10"
  2. Nate Brown (Bontrager CT) s.t.
  3. Ty Magner (Hincapie Development) +29"
  4. Sam Bassetti (Cal Giant) s.t.
  5. Robin Carpenter (Hincapie Development) +32"
  6. Connor O'Leary (Bontrager CT) +1'13"
  7. Connor McCutcheon (VRC-Get Crackin') +1'21"
  8. T.J. Eisenhart (BMC Development) +1'22"
  9. Chris Putt (Canyon-Shimano) s.t.
  10. Jonathan Freter (Panther Racing) +1'23"

Tomorrow will feature the U23 time trial. Noticeably absent is Lawson Craddock so depending on how he recovers from today's efforts, Nate Brown could get a title of his own this weekend. Former junior National Champion Adam Leibovitz will be in town and has been on some great form so he is one to watch for the time trial (EDIT: Leibovitz is signed up for the Elite Men's TT so that's a no-go) and for Sunday's criterium, which takes place around the state capital in Madison.

Provisional Startlist for Thursday's TT

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