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Team USA
2023 World Championships

The United States Finishes 11th and 20th in the Elite Men’s Road Race

By: KK Santos  August 06, 2023

Vermaerke and Powless finish in the top 20, Roberts qualifies on top, and Valente earns bronze on the track.

Day four of the highly anticipated 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships witnessed a thrilling showcase of grit as the Elite Men’s Road Race took center stage in George’s Square. The United States earned another medal on the track and had nine riders qualify for the BMX Freestyle Finals. Marathon Mountain Bike rounded the day out with nine Americans completing their events in the Glentress Forest.


The American Elite Men’s team of Will Barta (Boise, Idaho; Movistar Team), Lawson Craddock  (Houston; Team BikeExchange-Jayco), Neilson Powless  (Roseville, Calif.; EF Education-EasyPost), Sean Quinn  (Sherman Oaks, Calif.; EF Education-EasyPost), Kevin Vermaerke (Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.; Team DSM), and Larry Warbasse (Traverse City, Mich.; AG2R Citroen Team) lined up in beautiful Edinburgh to kick off today's road race. The men embarked on their journey through the hills of Edinburgh and covered a total of 271 kilometers. The majority of the race wound through the fan-packed streets of Glasgow City Center, completing ten circuits around the city. The Americans battled their competitors all day long. Vermaerke was the first of Team USA to get into a break. Little did he know he’d be at the front of the race for over 150 kilometers. Vermaerke’s break was eventually caught at a little under 100 kilometers to go. Craddock and Powless displayed remarkable determination as they trailed behind, sticking with every chase group that emerged. At 70 kilometers to go, things began to change. In a bold move, Tadej Pogačar (SLO) unleashed a fierce attack; at the same time, Vermaerke's poorly timed flat tire forced him to lose ground. Powless responded quickly to the attack and was able to make it into the break.

Eighteen riders managed to get away from the peloton. From the leaders, Italy made an attack off the front that would obliterate what was left of the group. The pack dwindled lap after lap. Eventually, Mathieu van der Poel (NED) caught the Italian and just kept going. A gap opened up between Powless and the chase group. “I knew it was going to be tough to close it, so I tried to close it immediately with everything I had, but I came up about 50 meters too short. I was the first one to start chasing and hesitated for a second. You hesitate for two seconds, and it's over,” said Powless when asked about the race-altering move. Van der Poel picked up the pace at the front and formed a gap that was over a minute ahead of the chase group. Soon after, he slid into a barricade, but that didn’t stop him. He got back up and stayed away long enough to ride into the finish straight solo. Powless and Vermaerke finished shortly after in 11th place and 20th place, respectively.

Elite Men

1 – Mathieu van der Poel (NED)

2 – Wout van Aert (BEL)

3 – Tadej Pogačar (SLO)

11 – Neilson Powless (USA)

20 – Kevin Vermaerke (USA)

DNF – Lawson Craddock (USA)

DNF – Sean Quinn (USA)

DNF – Larry Warbasse (USA)

DNF – Will Barta (USA)


Team USA’s fourth day at the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome saw Gavin Hoover  (Manhattan Beach, Calif.; L39ion of Los Angeles) race the Men’s Omnium and Jennifer Valente (San Diego; TWENTY24 Pro Cycling) take on the Women’s Elimination Race.

The Elimination Race whittles down the number of racers each lap until it’s down to two riders and a sprint for the gold. The race was technical, with riders battling it out not to be the last one at the line. Valente, along with Lotte Kopecky (BEL) and Valentine Fortin (FRA), got down to the last three, but in the penultimate sprint, Valente was last across the line, earning her a bronze. This podium marks Valente’s 16th World Championship medal, making her the most decorated American cyclist ever.

Women’s Elimination Race

1 – Lotte Kopecky (BEL)

2 – Valentine Fortin (FRA)

3 – Jennifer Valente (USA)

Hoover opened the day with the Scratch Race, the first event of the four-race Men’s Omnium. The other three events of the Omnium are the Tempo Race, Elimination Race, and the Points Race. Looking solid throughout the Scratch Race, in the final half lap, the Belgian and the Swiss riders all went down. Hoover was up quickly and finished the event in 17th. The Tempo Race, or the Point-a-Lap as it’s sometimes called, was a fast race, with Portugal’s Iuri Leitao breaking away from the gun, and taking a lap, gaining him a distinctive advantage, ultimately winning the event. Hoover raced aggressively and placed 16th. A similar result in the third event of the Men’s Omnium, the Elimination Race, had Hoover sitting in 17th going into the final event, the Points Race. The event was combative, with attacks coming almost every lap. Hoover added 45 points to his total from a mixture of laps and sprints. He ultimately finished in 16th.

Men’s Omnium

1 – Iuri Leitao (POR) 188 pts.

2 – Benjamin Thomas (FRA) 180 pts.

3 – Shunsuke Imamura (JPN) 173 pts.

16 - Gavin Hoover (USA) 71 pts.

Marathon Mountain Bike

Opening the endurance mountain bike events, the Marathon Mountain Bike World Championships took place at the Glentress Forest, east of Glasgow. The 100-kilometer race provided racers with a mix of road, gravel, punishing climbs, and long descents. Alex Wild  (San Jose, Calif.; Mi3 Petroleum Engineering) was the top-finishing U.S. rider, placing 37th. Next up for Team USA was Danny Van Wagoner  (Farmington, Utah; Team Johnson Elite Orthodontics), who finished in 4:52:36, good for 54th. Chris Mehlman (Manchester, Mass.) came in 68th. Noah Warren  (Birmingham, Ala.; USA Cycling Athlete Development Pathway) came in 83rd. Just behind him was Patrick Collins (Worcester, Mass.; Assabet River Bicycles)  in 85th. Warren's Cape Epic partner, Hadden Beykirch (St. George, Utah; USA Cycling Athlete Development Pathway), placed 90th. In 96th was Will Foley  (Golden, Colo.; Mi3 Petroleum Engineering). Rounding out the Men’s delegation was Chris Schroeder  (Longmont, Colo.; Dimond Factory Racing), who came in 99th.

Elite Men

1 – Henrique da Silva Avanacini (BRA)

2 – Martin Stošek (CZE)

3 – Lucas Baum (GER)

37 – Alex Wild (USA)

54 – Danny van Wagoner (USA)

68 – Christopher Mehlman (USA)

83 – Noah Warren (USA)

85 – Patrick Collins (USA)

90 – Hadden Beykirch (USA)

99 – Christopher Schroeder (USA)

The Elite Women tackled the same course as the men, with the winner, Mona Mitterwallner of Austria, completing the race in 5:07:50. Kelly Catale ( Pepperell, Mass.; Team KellCat) was the top American Woman to finish, stopping the clock at 5:54:56 in 29th place. In 49th was Abigail Snyder  (Roanoke, Va.; Ride Fierce) with her time of 7:02:34.

Elite Women

1 – Mona Mitterwallner (AUT)

2 – Candice Lill (RSA)

3 – Adelheid Morath (GER)

29 – Kelly Catale (USA)

49 – Abigail Snyder (USA)

BMX Freestyle

The Elite Women started the day off with their qualifying runs. During qualifying, an average of both runs by a rider are used to determine placing, and unfortunately, Bethany Hedrick  (Ft. Mitchell, Ky.; GT Bicycles) and Angie Marino  (Buffalo, N.Y.; Cult Crew) crashed during their initial runs, missing out on their chance of advancing to the final round. Marino crashed on the wall ride with two seconds left on the clock. She came back with another incredible ride, but her score was too low from the crash earlier in the session. Hannah Roberts  (Buchanan, Mich.; Hyper BMX)  came out hot and threw down a run she could be proud of. She took the top spot going into the finals with a score of 82.66. Twelve riders will compete in the Women’s Finals tomorrow.

Four-Time World Champion Roberts commented on her run, “When I first dropped in, I was super nervous. There’s an amazing crowd here, and hearing them cheering and egging made it relieving to qualify first. It made me want to go out there and have nothing but fun. I rode with a big smile on my face. I made some mistakes, but I’m happy with my runs. Tomorrow, I have some bigger stuff planned. Whether I take home a win or not, my goal is to just push myself and have fun. That’s what it’s all about,” said Roberts.

There’s quite a bit of strategy when planning a contest run for big events like these, especially when there is even more on the line next season. With both runs counting in qualifying, there's no time to take it easy, but riders also do not want to pull out their best tricks. When it comes to finals day tomorrow, expect the best of the best from every rider as they set their sights on qualifying for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

Roberts said, “We have to weigh the risk versus the reward on going big. This is a huge event. I want to be able to do well. I want to walk away with the rainbow stripes, but at the same time, we have a lot left to do this season. And with the Olympic Games so close, you really have to weigh it out. You have to push, but I’m going to keep myself grounded, so we can finish off the season.”

The women’s competition keeps getting stiffer since BMX Freestyle became an Olympic sport. Roberts said, “The level of competition has risen since Tokyo [Olympics]. It’s been quite insane to watch over the last year alone. All these women want to go to Paris and want that chance at Olympic Gold. They’re really showing it by pushing. It’s super sick to watch. At the same time, it’s awesome to be in it. And having that strive to keep getting better and progressing. It's amazing. It’s keeping me motivated, and I love, love, love to see it.”

On the men’s side, the weather forced the organizers to cancel the Semi-Finals and send 24 men straight to the Finals on Monday instead.

Nick Bruce  (Youngstown, Ohio; DK Bicycles)  and Bryce Tryon (Lodi, Calif.; Free Agent Bikes) completed their qualifications during Saturday’s competition. Bruce’s score of 86.52 held strong through the day and ultimately put him in fourth by the end. Tryon was on the bubble but snuck into the round of 24 with a 71.38.

Daniel Sandoval  (Corona, Calif.; Free Agent Bikes) was the first rider to get close to Bruce’s scores today. His first run scored higher than Bruce, but after his second run, he would average out at 85.95, putting him in fifth. Justin Dowell  (Virginia Beach, Va.; Hyper BMX) fought through rain delays after being part of the last group to drop but would push through to get two clean runs in and finish sixth.

Jacob Thiem (Kennard, Neb.; Free Agent Bikes) would be the last American making it into the final round, taking 18th with a score of 71.38. Unfortunately, Brian Fox (Commerce, Ga.; Woodward Camp) threw down an incredible run worthy of making the finals until he crashed on one of his final tricks. He went all out in the second run, but it wasn’t enough to put him into the next round. He finished the day in 26th.

BMX Racing

The challenge classes kicked off today for the cruiser categories, with 15 riders making their respective main events.

Full Results

Up Next

August 7th sees the completion of the BMX Freestyle competition, with Roberts leading Team USA into the finals. Back at the track, Mandy Marquardt(Allentown, Pa.; Team Novo Nordisk) starts the day with the Women’s Sprint Qualifying. Hoover takes on the Men’s Elimination Race and Valente teams up with Lily Williams(Tallahassee, Fla.; Human Powered Health) for the Women’s Madison. 29 Americans will compete in the Gran Fondo Time Trial championships in Dundee. At the BMX Centre in Glasgow, the BMX Race Challenge continues on its second day.