Ben King Wins US National Road Race Championship

News & Results

09/20/2010| 0 comments
by Thomas A. Valentinsen
Benjamin King is the new US national road cycling champion.
Benjamin King is the new US national road cycling champion.

Ben King Wins US National Road Race Championship

Benjamin King (North Garden, Va./Trek-Livestrong) pulled off one of the most dramatic wins in the 25-year history of the USA Cycling Professional Road Race Championship. The 21-year-old held an early race break to win the 115-mile USA Cycling Professional Road Race Championship and become the first rider under the age of 23 to win the event against US cycling's top pros.

Benjamin King (North Garden, Va./Trek-Livestrong) pulled off one of the most dramatic wins in the 25-year history of the USA Cycling Professional Road Race Championship. The 21-year-old held an early race break to win the 115-mile USA Cycling Professional Road Race Championship and become the first rider under the age of 23 to win the event against US cycling's top pros.

"We were going pretty hard at the beginning there," said King. "Once I was solo I had nine minutes; I was thinking about a lot of motivators. I was praying pretty hard after Paris Mountain and my prayers got answered."

Alex Candelario (Reno, Nev./Kelly Benefit Strategies) and Kiel Reijnen (Boulder, Colo./Jelly Belly p/b Kenda) outsprinted the 12-man chase group 1:34 minutes later to grab the silver and bronze medals respectively.

"I couldn't believe how slow we were going on the first lap," said Reijnen. "The fact that Ben King had the Trek-Livestrong colors on I think guys thought the RadioShack team would help with that chase. When one big, strong team isn't motivated it really demotivates the field. (The finishing circuits) were awesome. Coming through that start/finish line you could hear the roar. Greenville is a great place for nationals."

King, the current USA Cycling U23 Road Race National Champion, and his breakaway companions Daniel Holloway (Morgan Hill, Calif./Bissell) and Scott Zwizanski (Mill Valley, Calif./Kelly Benefit Strategies) took off in the first of three, eight-mile opening circuits around downtown Greenville. With the peloton content to let the youngsters go so early in the nearly five-hour contest, the trio continued to build the gap to more than 15 minutes mid-way through the race. 

It wasn't until the third of four, 22-mile laps up and around Paris Mountain that the USA Cycling Professional Criterium National Champion Holloway and Zwizanski began to fall off the pace. King, fresh off the Tour of the Future with USA Cycling's National Development Program, continued solo up the long climb with the powerful peloton bearing down.

Heading into the closing downtown circuits a lead group of around 22 riders, including yesterday's time trial national champion Taylor Phinney (Boulder, Colo./Trek-Livestrong), reigning road race national champion and hometown favorite George Hincapie (Greenville, S.C./BMC) and former Tour de France stage winner Levi Leipheimer (Santa Rosa, Calif./RadioShack) mobilized and moved inside three minutes of King. Familiar with the art of staying away, King, who won the USA Cycling U23 Road Race National Championship earlier this summer and the 2007 USA Cycling Juniors Road Race National Championship in similar fashion, dug deep to hold off the advance in the final 12-kilometers.
 
"L ‘Avenir (Tour of the Future) had everything to do with it," explained King. "I was riding the front every single day. That's what I think I'm good at - doing the dirty work."
 
King is the first rider under the age of 23 in the event's 25-year history to win the professional road race national title.  King's road race and Phinney's time trial win serve as a testament to the future of American cycling and USA Cycling's National Development

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