Set in Downtown Knoxville, the 2018 USA Cycling National Criterium Championships featured a wide open 1.8km long course, boasting six corners and a slight downhill into the finish. The course design alone was enough to all but ensure the race would culminate in a blistering sprint finish in 90 minutes time.
The Elevate-KHS Pro Cycling team brought a stacked team to the 2018 edition of “US Pro” looking to improve upon the previous year’s result which found the team finishing just outside of the top ten. Fresh off of victories at the Armed Forces Cycling Classic and Tulsa Tough, respectively, Sam Bassetti and Cory Williams led a two pronged attack supported by George Simpson, Nick Torraca, Kevin Girkins, and Gavin Hoover.
The pace was high throughout the entire race and it took a decent amount of time for any real break to establish itself as every attack was reeled in on the downhill. The rain that drenched the women’s race hours earlier no longer posed a threat, making the race that much faster.
Finally with about ten laps to go a solo rider was able to gain enough of an advantage to stay away for a few laps. This opportunistic move didn’t last, but it ignited the spirits in every rider looking to stave off a field sprint. This brought Elevate-KHS, Rally Cycling, and Holowesko-Citadel to the front to control the pace as the laps ticked down.
Inside 5 laps to go we saw attack after attack attempt to snap the rubber band holding the peloton together to no avail, the most dangerous attack coming inside the final lap by UHC’s Eric Marcotte. Unfortunately for Eric, his attack didn’t pan out as it created the pace Rally needed to finish off their leadout train for Ty Magner with Eric Young (Rally) on his wheel and Sam Bassetti sitting in the best possible position coming into 400 meters to go.
Rally Cycling’s Ty Magner launched inside 400 meters to go and was able to hold it until the line with his teammate Eric Young coming in just behind him while Sam Bassetti pulled his best ever US Pro result by rounding out the podium for the Bronze medal.
Though just a few steps away from the stars and stripes jersey, the team couldn’t be more proud with how the boys raced and the bronze medal in the USA Cycling Pro Criterium National Championships that they all earned together.
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