Photo: Casey B. Gibson
TOP 15 FOR HECHT AT US PRO ROAD NATIONALS
June 27th, 2017
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Pizza and ice cream were the order of the evening for the Aevolo team after a job well done at the US Pro Nationals Road Race on June 25. Spirits are high as the team builds its confidence going into under-23 nationals in Louisville, Ky., which starts this Thursday with a morning individual time trial.
Before the start of the 179 km race, team director Mike Creed told Lance Haidet, Mike Hernandez, Zeke Mostov, Tyler Stites and Gage Hecht during their pre-race meeting that this was their race in which to create opportunities. Taking that advice to heart, all raced with measured aggression and found themselves mixing it up with the best in the country on a hot, muggy day in Knoxville.
Gage Hecht was the best placed rider for Aevolo, finishing an excellent 14th place in his inaugural US Pro Nationals Road Race. The day prior, Hecht claimed 18th in the individual time trial.
“Going into the race, I felt strong,” Hecht said. “I knew my fitness would be good coming out of the Canadian block of racing. With four laps to go, my legs began to seize up a little. Luckily, Zeke was with me and was able to look out for attacks going up the road.”
Fresh off a motivating 12th place in the time trial, Mostov worked diligently for his teammates, going back to the team car for ice, food and bottles despite going down midway through the race. Meanwhile, Haidet, Hernandez, Stites and Hecht were watchful for serious moves at the front.
On the final lap, eventual race winner Larry Warbasse (Aqua Blue Sport) took off with Alexey Vermeulen (Lotto JumboNL) and Neilson Powless (Axeon Hagens Berman) and Hecht found himself in the first chase group.
“I lost a little confidence in my ability to finish with the lead pack, but my legs ended up coming around at the end. I made it a goal to do everything I could to crest the hill near the lead pack,” Hecht said. “On the final rise, my legs didn’t have the ability to accelerate, but I was able to maintain the position I had gained.”
USA Cycling has made it possible to relive the road race in its entirely on its YouTube channel. Check it out here: http://bit.ly/2ti1bRC.
Louisville is the host for under-23 and criterium nationals, which kicks off Thursday, June 29 with the individual time trial. The 34 km course is a departure from the technical route Mostov and Hecht rode at the US Pros. This time, there are minimal turns and plenty of rollers to navigate. Haidet, Hernandez, Stites, Hecht and Mostov will all take the start.
“I would really like to see someone on our team step onto the podium for the road race,” Hecht said. “Personally, I’d like to finish top ten in the time trial.”
The U23 road race takes place the next day at noon. Jason Saltzman will join his five Aevolo teammates for 177 kilometres over 23 laps around Louisville.
After a break on Saturday, the US Professional Criterium Nationals will wrap up the weekend.