THREE FOR THREE:
AEVOLO DOMINATE U23 NATIONALS
July 26th-29th, 2018
Hecht claims TT, criterium title, Hoehn rules road race
It was a perfect weekend in Hagerstown, Maryland – no exaggeration or hyperbole needed. The Aevolo team swept the Under 23 National Championships, with Gage Hecht claiming victory in the time trial and criterium while Alex Hoehn soloed to a stars and stripes jersey in the road race.
In the 30-kilometer time trial, the first race of the event, Hecht stormed into first with a time of 37:40, 46 seconds faster than second place. Tyler Stites also clocked a solid time of 39:22 to take fifth place.
“I wanted to hit the first hill on the way out hard, but I was sure to save enough in the tank to make it back over the hill at least at the same pace. I really put it all out there in the final five kilometers when the course pitched up to the finish,” Hecht said.
After his incredible time trial ride to fifth place in the US Pro Nationals a month earlier, Hecht had to overcome more nerves than usual before leaving the start house.
“I definitely felt a little pressure,” Hecht said. “I was pretty nervous in the morning, but I did my best to stay calm and listen to Creed on what I should expect and how to perform.”
Despite thunderstorms postponing the road race, the Aevolo team continued their winning ways the next day. This time it was Hoehn’s turn to pull on the stars and stripes after a late attack out of the breakaway turned out to be his winning move.
“I made a couple attacks to thin the break out on the final lay and one final attack up one of the last climbs to go solo from 3K from the finish,” Hoehn said. “It was all TT position from there. It felt unreal to cross the line solo. I’ve never done that in a race before. The boys raced amazing as they were able to control the peloton while I was in the break. I couldn’t have done it without them. The feeling is amazing. I’ve never felt that alive on my bike ever. To cross the line solo is something I’ve dreamed about doing for quite some time.”
Despite the busy schedule, the team still found quiet time to work on school work, as well as memorize each other’s birthdate and birthplace, an impromptu competition first conquered by recent birthday boy Tyler Stites.
The criterium wrapped up the weekend of racing in Maryland and plans didn’t go as expected for the team, who were setting up crit specialists Imeh Nsek and Michael Hernandez for victory.
“The finishing laps were hectic,” Nsek said. “It led to Hernandez and me crashing, but Gage saved the day by winning the field sprint.”
Hecht said the victory came as a complete surprise, who went into the race hoping to bury himself to help Hernandez and Nsek get the title.
“I was really frustrated for them when their crashes happened,” Hecht said. “After jumping on another wheel and coming around if for the finish, I was surprised and happy to bring the team another jersey. However, I was also sad to see two of my teammates go down when they were close to racing into their first national title.”
There’s not much time to celebrate however, the team will start the Tour of Utah, its biggest race participation yet, on August 6-12.
All Photos by Casey B. Gibson