Park City, Utah (August 13, 2004) – Ian MacGregor (TIAA Cref/5280) had the ride of his life yesterday taking out the USCF U/23 National Road Race and earning himself an automatic nomination for the World Championships in Verona, Italy. In a somewhat traditional early breakaway for the U/23 Nationals, MacGregor continued to be the aggressor late in the race in a move that paid off for him and his team.
Backing up after their 36km time trial in the heat yesterday, 111 Espoir men hit the road in Park city to start their 120-mile (200km) road race through the canyons southeast of town. The course consisted of three laps of 40 miles in the wee hours of the morning, giving the riders a break from the heat of the previous day. The course headed out of town and climbed a 5km hill along a wide-open freeway with beautiful views of the mountains and the lake after which it descended into the canyons through flat and undulating terrain.
With 15 miles to go the course climbed out of the canyons back up to Park city on another steep 5km climb to finish the lap. On the final lap the top of the second climb led to a short descent and continued to climb very gradually to the finish line.
It was MacGregor who was the first to stretch his legs very early in the race making an attack on the first climb. Stuart Gillespie (US National Team) joined him immediately and the pair worked together waiting for others to bridge. Five riders eventually came across to them making the break seven riders and the gap instantly grew to over two minutes.
Midway through the lap another group of four riders bridged to make the break eleven. “Once that happened,” said MacGregor, “we all worked together and every guy in the break did their turn.”
The group consisted of four TIAA Cref riders MacGregor, Jay Ku, Todd Yezefski and Nathan Mitchell, along with US National Team members Blake Caldwell and Gillespie, Robbie Yost (Subway Express), Mike Freidman (ESSM/GPOA), David Robinson (Broadmark Capitol), Michael Cody (NCC/Bikereg.com) and Matt Stephens (Mercy).
With the gap continuing and the peloton continuing attacks but never putting together a strong chase, it was obvious that this was becoming the move of the day. The gap to the chasers stretched out to over six minutes and the lead group continued to keep a smooth paceline.
In the muddle of the second lap Timmy Duggan (TIAA Cref) went on the attack to try to bridge to his four teammates. He and three other riders, Trevor Mays (Nella Madison Bikes), Jeremiah Wiscovich (LaGrange) and Steven Cozza (US National Team) set of in pursuit and quickly gained time of the peloton, getting closer to the front break.
With one lap remaining, Stuart Gillespie started the action and attacked twice on the first climb of the loop. His moves were covered by McGregor a couple of times after which MacGregor countered and got away with only Caldwell on his wheel.
Both riders worked hard together knowing they had nothing to lose with teammates back in the break and managed to open up a significant gap. This move proved to be the decisive move of the day. Behind both Ku and Yezefski dropped off the original break and fell back to their teammate Duggan who was trying to bridge. “My teammates helped me get up to them,” said Duggan, “When we picked up Jay and Todd, they just drove it and we caught back on. I was feeling super good.”
On the last lap Caldwell began to attack his breakaway partner, but MacGregor was on his every move and eventually countered him to get away. “Blake put in a couple of really strong attacks,” explained McGregor, “and I was really struggling. Actually I was puking all over myself. But I kept telling myself I just had to get over the climb and that to win I had to really want this more than anyone else and really hurt myself.”
MacGregor soloed to the finish to take the win, with Caldwell coming in 45 seconds down to take second place. In an amazing performance, Duggan came through to take third place after a long chase to catch and pass the original break.
Duggan was excited for his friend MacGregor who he grew up ski racing with. “It has been my dream to be on the podium with my best friend,” he said.
MacGregor was of course over the moon saying that he hasn’t “had any other results that have come close to this. It was purely because of my team. They were amazing out there today.”
Duggan agreed that the team was great today. “I have never done a race where everyone on the team has worked so well and everything went exactly to plan like it did today.”