Memorial Day weekend is always packed full of racing whether you’re talking about the Monaco Grand Prix, Indy 500, AOA Mayhem Enduro, or the US National Road and Time Trial championships in Chattanooga, TN. It also turned out to be a big weekend for Wilier bikes as their increased support of US racing led to 3 out of the 4 national titles being taken on different Wilier models. Victories included the road race and the time trial, as well as Wilier bikes taking 4 out of the top 5 positions in the men’s road race.
While Eric Marcotte took the victory in the Men’s road race, Alison Powers blew away the competition in both the road race and the time trial. In addition to her criterium title, that makes her the first rider to hold all three US national titles at once. Impressive to say the least. Congratulations to the new champions.
UnitedHealthcare, SmartStop teams reward Wilier Triestina with three national titles
When the US National Road Race and Time Trial Championships drew to a close this weekend in Chattanooga, TN, Wilier were the big winners among manufacturers, with three different Wilier models being ridden to national titles out of four championship events.
In what could be viewed as something of an immediate reward for Wilier’s increased support of US racing, the wins started with the UnitedHealthcare Professional Cycling Team and Alison Powers, who took the Elite Women’s Time Trial title on Saturday in convincing fashion aboard her Wilier Twin Blade time trial machine.
Racing resumed on Monday with the men’s and women’s road races. Again, the UnitedHealthcare team was very active in making the racing, as the women’s event got underway that morning. With only three riders in the event, the team developed and executed what proved to be the winning plan, with Mara Abbott taking the Queen of the Mountains honors, and Katie Hall launching a late race attack that ultimately set the stage for another Powers win – this time with a late, solo counter-attack aboard the Wilier Triestina Cento1 SR. The win confirmed Powers’ status as a star among stars in the peloton, as she now holds the US Time Trial, Criterium and Road Race titles, becoming the first rider to hold all three titles simultaneously.
Following the women’s event, the men took to the roads of Tennessee to determine who would wear the stars and stripes jersey for the next year. With the typically diverse field of individuals and teams, domestic and international stars, the race was as much up for grabs as ever, especially as the course would select a rider that could get over the big climbs, but also that could survive and excel on the longer run-in to the finish, a series of laps on largely flat-to-rolling terrain with one sharp, short climb each lap.
As the race wore on, a series of attacks, catches and counter-attacks characterized the closing kilometers, with any of as many as fifteen riders seeming to have a shot at the win, and only a few teams having significant numbers among the winning selection. One of those teams was domestic outfit, SmartStop, with three riders in contention as the finish came into view. Eric Marcotte and Travis McCabe went first and second across the line on their Wilier bikes (Zero.9 and Cento1 Air, respectively), followed by Alex Howes (Garmin), Chris Jones (UnitedHealthcare) and Julian Kyer (also SmartStop) to claim the national title and make it four out of the five top men’s riders on Wilier Triestina bikes.
Long supporters of professional cycling on an international level, it was just two seasons ago that Wilier Triestina took the decision to expand their sponsorship efforts to include UCI Continental and Pro Continental teams in the US market. The decision made in an effort to reinforce growing sales in the US, Wilier initially supported the SmartStop and Vanderkitten squads, a year later adding both the UnitedHealthcare men’s and women’s programs.
“Wilier has over 100 years history in racing, and has supported many teams and riders. Within that history, the results of the UnitedHealthcare and SmartStop teams this weekend stand out as a clear statement being made by riders and squads that are both very new to Wilier. It’s what every sponsor hopes for, to see their athletes deliver under pressure, as was the case with Alison Powers, or to step up and exceed expectation as Eric Marcotte and the SmartStop team have done under the direction of Michael Creed. Three titles, and four out of the top five men’s finishers on Wilier? What a great weekend,” enthused Wilier USA President, Angelo Cilli.
About the Wilier Triestina Twin Blade:
Ridden to the 2014 national time trial championship by Alison Powers, the Twin Blade time trail bike features highly aerodynamic structure and shaping, and the asymmetric chainstays for which Wilier is known. The bike’s most unique feature is it’s double-crown fork, which features fork legs that are integrated with the stem. The purpose of the taller fork legs is that they help to smooth and guide airflow around the bike and rider, creating a very efficient complete bike/rider union. The front end design simultaneously improves steering precision and handling. Getting right to the heart of the matter, Powers said of the bike, “My Twin Blade is straight-up fast.”
About the Wilier Triestina Cento 1 SR:
Intended as an all-around road bike, the Cento1 SR utilizes the BB386EVO bottom bracket design which facilitates a downtube and oversized, asymmetric chainstays that are at once aerodynamic, stiff and light. Combined with the kamm-tail seat tube and fork blade shapes, this creates a bike that is resilient, responsive, comfortable and fast. Perfect for long hard rides and competition. Said Powers of her national road championship winning Cento1 SR, “It handles so well through corners and delivers great acceleration.”
About the Wilier Triestina Zero.9:
As bike design (and market impression of bike capabilities) evolves, it would seem that road bikes now fall into three or more performance categories – aero, climbing and all-around road, perhaps in addition to comfort/classics and others. The beauty of the Zero.9 is its ability to defy categorization, as seen on Monday in Tennessee, as Eric Marcotte piloted his Zero.9 to the top step of the podium in the men’s national championship road race. Based on the ultralight Zero.7 frameset, the Zero.9 utilizes asymmetric chainstays, the BB386EVO bottom bracket standard, and the oversized, lightweight frame shapes that this enables. Delivering a very comfortable, efficient platform, the Zero.9, along with smart race tactics and savvy riding brought Marcotte to the finish with fresher legs than his competitors, which made more difference than any amount of aero-specific equipment in the final sprint. Said Marcotte of the bike, “Everyone, especially my teammates, knew I was going to go through that last corner faster than everyone in that break. The confidence to do that comes from trusting in my equipment and knowing that it will perform. The Zero.9 does everything well. It’s responsive, and offers supple cornering, light weight, and good aesthetics.”