USACF Weekend Recap: Junior Men sit atop Nation’s Cup Rankings after Standout Performances at Paris Roubaix and Gent-Wevelgem

As the pro’s race the Spring Classics throughout Europe, the best junior riders in the world compete in the Nation’s Cup races that accompany them. These races give young riders an opportunity to race in Europe against the fastest junior fields and the standings at the end of the series determines the amount of starting slots each country will get at World Championships in Yorkshire – Top-ten teams receiving the maximum amount of five riders.

USA Cycling sent a team of six promising men, Quinn Simmons (Durango, Colo.; Lux Cycling) Michael Garrison (Decatur, Ga; Lux Cycling); Magnus Sheffield (Pittsford, N.Y.; Hot Tubes), Luke Lamperti (Sebastopol, Calif.; Lux Cycling), Seth Callahan (Monroe, Ga.; Lux Cycling); Nolan Jenkins (Colorado Springs, Colo.; Lux Cycling).. After stand out performances at Gent-Wevelgem and Paris Roubaix, the U.S. is currently ranked first in the Nation’s Cup standings. The Junior Men ast won the Nations Cup in 2015.

At the first Nation’s Cup of 2019, Quinn Simmons became the first American to win the junior race at Gent-Wevelgem, winning with an attack 2km from the finish to drop British rider Lewis Askey.

“The trust in a team is integral to any success,” said Junior Program Manager for USA Cycling, Billy Innes, after the win, “Quinn had the full support of his teammates, sacrificing their own chances at glory for his, and it all paid off. All the planning and preparation was a team effort and it was amazing to see the team execute so well.”

After Gent-Wevelgem, the team set their eyes on the Paris-Roubaix Junior race. As the race progressed, Michael Garrison rolled off the front with 70km to go to set a teammate up for later in the race. He spent 65km in a solo break, eventually being caught by a Dutch and French rider with 8km to go.

“65km off the front of Roubaix was arguably the most physically demanding day of my cycling career. The move wasn’t meant to stick. I assumed I’d stay up the road for a bit, force other teams to chance and soon a smaller bridge group would form up. That wasn’t the case.

Michael Garrison with brother Ian after the race

Eventually the gap was a minute and a half and I was rolling. Entering every sector solo at the head of the race was like a dream. Riding through constant crowds didn’t feel like real life. When I was caught by 2 with about 8km to go, I was already spent. I was caught by another and rode into the velodrome fighting for third. We sprinted, I lost, but I had no complaints. Yes, I missed the podium but I’ll cherish this day for the rest of my life.

After the race was over I was destroyed. I could barely talk straight when giving interviews. It was my brother’s [National Team U23 athlete Ian Garrison who joined us at the Tour in 2017] birthday and he told me he was riding there so I was really just looking for him. I kept scanning the whole velodrome looking even as some journalists were asking questions. When we got back to the cars, he hopped out of the back. This was the best part of my day. I almost broke down in tears as it had been months since I had seen him.”

The Junior Men will continue their Spring racing in Belgium with Ster van Zuid Limburg April 19-22, 2019.

Megan Jastrab claimed another Nation’s cup victory at the Junior Healthy Ageing Tour this weekend helping to cement the U.S. Junior Women’s first place ranking in the Nation’s Cup Standings.

Over the past four weeks, Megan has shown the world what American cycling fans have known since she came onto the junior racing scene: she is a force to be reckoned with. Jastrab joined other promising U.S. junior women, Katie Clouse (Park City, Utah; DNA Cycling), Zoe Ta-Perez (Orange, Calif.; Lux Cycling), Jane Tullis (Rome, Ga.; Lux Cycling), Ava Sykes (Clover, S.C.; Lux Cycling) and Gabrielle Lehnhart (Eugene, Ore.; Lux Cycling – One of our Athlete Guests at Mick and Sabrina’s BBR event last November), in competing for USA Cycling at these Junior Nation’s Cup races.

Coming off a stage win earlier that week at the Redlands Classic, Jastrab traveled to Italy to compete in the Trofeo Da Moreno where she won the field sprint with teammate Katie Clouse placing sixth. The following weekend, the team raced in Belgium at Gent-Wevelgem where Jastrab won the field sprint to take second with Clouse finishing fifth.

During their off-week, the team opted to do a small kermesse in Belgium where Jastrab and the USA Cycling Junior Women Development Squad also made waves for a third weekend in a row. Without the option of a women’s field they raced with the junior men where Jastrab placed third in a field of 82 men.

This past weekend was the Healthy Ageing Tour, a three-day stage race in the Netherlands. Jastrab won all but two jerseys, claiming the top step on the first and third stage as well as the overall GC. During the last stage, after having some mechanical difficulties she got a bike change in the last 7km, she then chased back to the peloton between the cars to catch the peloton at 1km at win the sprint.

“I am extremely happy with my performance and the team’s performance at Healthy Ageing Tour. After only 4 weeks of riding together, I can confidently say we rode as one,” said Jastrab, “Going into the final stage with the GC lead, we knew it was going to be a battle and everyone went all in to keep the GC. On the final stage with 5k to go I broke 7 spokes of my front wheel and had to have a bike change. It was a fast change and I got back in the group quickly. After that, I had to work my way through the peloton of a 100 girls. I took gaps where I saw them and was at the front again with around 3k to go. Going into the final straight away I was with Katie [Clouse] and then moved to top 5 with 1k to go and waited till around 200 to start sprinting. It was an amazing feeling winning the stage and keeping the GC, BYR, and Points Jerseys after all the work the girls and I put in this weekend. I can't thank USA Cycling (Foundation) enough for providing me with this opportunity to race in Europe for the last 4 weeks. I learned a lot and had an amazing time.”

With the U.S. ranked first in the Nation’s Cup standings, leading second ranked Great Britain by 17 points, they will be allocated the maximum amount of five slots for the junior women category at the 2019 World Championships this September in Yorkshire, U.K.

Junior Nation’s Cup Standings:

  • United States 84 Points
  • Great Britain 67 Points
  • Netherlands 55 Points
  • Sweden 42 Points
  • France 33 Points

“This team really came together in this race when the pressure was on,” said Jeff Pierce, Director of Elite Athletics, Road and Track for USA Cycling, “They answered all of the attacks in a very aggressive race and delivered Megan to the final kilometers in perfect condition. It was an impressive performance by everyone. Megan was simply unstoppable in the sprints. The other countries are all very happy to see her get on the plane today back to the USA.”