US Pro Championship Road Race: Busche beats Hincapie

This is a reprint of the article I wrote for US Pro Cycling News.

It took Matthew Busche (Radioshack) about 5 minutes to find out that he was the new owner of the stars and stripes jersey. During that 5 minutes, Busche had plenty of time to think about whether his bike throw to the line was enough to beat George Hincapie (BMC). Both Busche and Hincapie were part of a four man break that got away after many, many attacks from the field. When Hincapie sprinted for the line, it was only Busche who was able to go with him, and he took the win through a photo finish.

Under oppressive heat, the 99 riders took the start in Greenville, SC. The route was the same as it had been the past few years, with three 4.2 mile laps around town, then four 22.5 mile laps around the Paris Mountain loop, finishing with three short laps around the town. After last year, when breakaway which allowed Ben King to solo to a win got a 17 minute gap, the peloton was not going to allow that to happen again this year. The pace was kept high, and breaks were chased down.

First break

Right before the first ascent of Paris Mountain, a break with Cameron Cogburn (Jelly Belly), David Williams (Bissell), Julian Kyer (Kelly Benefit Strategies) and Nick Frey (Jamis-Sutter Home) got away. However, by the top of the climb, they only had 10 seconds on the group, with Jeff Louder of BMC pulling the peloton up the climb.

This high pace destroyed the field and caught the break. Out of a group of about 40 who made it to the top of Paris Mountain, Brookwalter, Jason McCartney (RadioShack), Timmy Duggan (Liquigas-Cannondale), Jesse Anthony (Kelly Benefit Strategy), Quinn Keough (Exergy), and Robert Bush (Chipotle Development Team) attacked and caught Williams (the only original break member left) on the downhill.

High pace

The pace was kept high, even though they got over two and a half minutes on the group. By the last ascent up Paris Mountain, only Duggan, Bookwalter, Anthony, and McCartney were left. They had a minute, but that didn’t last long. From the field emerged a chasing group of Tejay Van Garderen (HTC-Highroad), Matthew Busche (RadioShack), George Hincapie (BMC), and they were soon joined by Louder, Jason McCartney (RadioShack), Ted King (Liquigas-Cannondale) and Pat McCarty (Spidertech).

This group was away and out of it, and as the group came into the last 3 town circuits, the formative four person break emerged.

The last break

Van Garderen’s atack attempt enabled him to pull away with King, Hincapie, and Busche. There were no real attacks out of this group, as they watched each other carefully. There was a fear of going to early and not having enough to stay away, then being dropped, or being caught by the chase group as well. So, the group stayed together until the last 300 meters. It was then that Busche attacked. Hincapie was soon able to jump on his wheel and at 250 meters to go, he pulled around Busche. But he couldn’t shake him. Busche hung on his wheel and surged again, but Hincapie still lead by about 20 meters. However, one last surge from Busche, and a desperate bike throw, let him take the win from Hincapie. The finish this close wasn’t able to be called right away, and the officials had to look at the photo finish before they called it officially for Busche. So, the Stars and Stripes jersey stays in the RadioShack team and another young pro takes it for the 2nd year running!

Top 5 results

  1. Matthew Busche (RadioShack)
  2. George Hincapie (BMC)
  3. Ted King (Liquigas-Cannondale)
  4. Tejay Van Garderen (HTC-Highroad)
  5. Kyle Wamsley (Bissell)