Friday, July 4, 2014

Back2Back: Putt takes 2nd straight USA U23 RR

Before today, I would have been willing to bet this whole blog that Bissell was going to win the National U23 RR in Wisconsin. Seriously. You think that a team that had a good majority of the best American U23 talent whose major bike sponsor, Trek, is minutes away from the race was going to lose? Fuck that. Especially when they had the defending champion in Tanner Putt. No offense to Hincapie Devo or Cal Giant or BMC Devo but Bissell had to win.

The early breakaway for the race included Justin Oien (Cal Giant), Geoffrey Curran (Bissell) and Dan Eaton (Canyon Bicycles-Shimano). The trio got over 5 minutes on the Blue Mounds course while the peloton was in no hurry to bring them back. Soon the gap began to trickle down as riders dripped off the back of the peloton like a leaky faucet.
Soon after this picture, Oien was dropped and it was Eaton and Curran fighting the good fight heading into the final lap of the Blue Mounds course. A counter-attack of 8 went off the front including Robin Carpenter (Hincapie), Logan Owen (Bissell), Alexey Vermeulen and TJ Eisenhart (BMC Devo), among others. The duo up front tried in vain to make it to the line but with less than 4 kilometers to go, Eaton and Curran were swallowed up and both finished anonymously.

Up front, it was Tanner Putt and young teammate Keegan Swirbul (Bissell) along with Eisenhart that made the final selection up front. While last year Putt and teammate Nate Brown attacked in tandem to the line last year, it was Putt who laid down the gauntlet this year in the finale. Eisenhart has nothing to respond with and Swirbul sat on his wheel while Putt danced off into the distance.
Putt was able to win the race solo while Swirbul attacked for 2nd place. Eisenhart limped in for 3rd after a hard morning while Robin Carpenter was just 2 seconds behind in 4th place. Putt is built for Nationals it seems like. He was 2nd in 2012 in a close sprint and has now won the past two years on the Blue Mounds course in Wisconsin. Putt is ready for the big-time pro level, that is without question. Swirbul, who hasn't raced a bunch with Bissell this year but mainly showing himself in hillclimbs in Colorado, just showed up ready to fight today and his 2nd place was well deserved. The Beehive State (Utah, for those unaware) got to celebrate 2 podium spots while Bissell kept the jersey for another year.
In case you missed it on Wednesday, the 17-18 junior men RR happened and hinted at a future family dynasty. Jonny Brown (Hot Tubes) won the race in a 3-up sprint over Noah Granigan (Team CF) and David Lombardo (Hincapie Devo) after being in the breakaway for a few laps. Brown is the brother of Garmin-Sharp's Nate Brown, who also rode for Hot Tubes as a junior. Keep an eye on Brown in the coming years. National team teammates Will Barta and Adrien Costa led in the rest of the peloton for 4th and 5th.

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