For a sixth year in a row, the U.S. Pro Nationals returns to Knoxville, Tennessee, to see the best riders in the county compete for the coveted Stars and Stripes jersey.
The National Championship week is one of the few times we see the American WorldTour and ProTour riders return stateside to rub elbows with the continental and domestic elite.
After six years, Knoxville has become a familiar setting for the pros and amateurs alike but this will be the last year, for now, that the Marble City will play host.
“It has been an incredible achievement and honor to host USA Cycling since 2017,” said Kim Bumpas, President of Visit Knoxville, in a statement. “This will be the last year of our current agreement, and we will warmly welcome the riders back in the future. We’ve become very close with USA Cycling, and are looking forward to seeing 2023’s exciting event here in Knoxville.”
The courses remain the same from their previous years, featuring an exciting downtown criterium course and a challenging road race that always makes for exciting racing. Racing starts with the Time Trial championship on Thursday, June 22, followed by the criterium races on Friday, June 23. The road race championships will take place on Sunday, June 25.
US Pro Nats - Time Trial
Kicking off the week of professional racing is the elite women's time trial starting at 9:30 a.m. EDT on Thursday, June 22. The women will do two laps of the 7.3-mile lap for a total of 800ft of climbing.
Last year's winner, Leah Thomas, will not be back to defend her title due to ongoing injuries. But former world champion and last year's second place from last year, Amber Neben —now 48 years old— will be present to contest the top spot again this year.
But in her way will be the formidable Chloe Dygert (Canyon-SRAM). The former national and world time trial champion is on a bit of a comeback tour. After a stellar junior career, in which she won two junior world titles, the Indiana native made a blistering start to her elite career amassing seven gold medals at the UCI Track Cycling World Championships, a silver medal at the 2016 Olympic Games in the team pursuit, and the Worlds time trial title at the 2019 UCI Road World Championships.
But she's suffered from a horrific injury, illness and fitness problems ever since. This season, however, she appears to be returning to good form with multiple podium finishes at La Vuelta Femenina and Vuelta a Burgos, and a win at the RideLondon Classique. She's entering the national time trial championships as a top contender.
Some other notable riders on the start list include Lauren Stephens (EF Eeducation - TIBCO - SVB) and triathlon star Taylor Knibb (Trek-Segafredo).
In the men's race, defending champ Lawson Craddock (Bike Exchange-Jayco) will not compete nor will second-place finisher Magnus Sheffield (Ineos Grenadiers). Instead, we'll be looking to Project Echelon and its time trial specialists, Zach Gregg, Stephen Vogel and Tyler Stites. Chad Haga (Human Powered Health) finished eighth last year and is looking to improve on it this year. Will Barta (Movistar) and Brandon McNulty (UAE Team Emirates) are the only two American WorldTour riders competing and will be looking for podium results. Drake Deuel (CS Velo) and Cory Lockwood (United) are TT specialists who could be outside favorites for a podium as well.
US Pro Nats - Criterium
When: Starting at 6:15 p.m. EDT with live streaming on FloBikes.
Once again, the downtown Knoxville course will surely bring fireworks with a deep field. The course is just a 1.1-mile In length with six corners and 134ft of climbing per lap.
In the men's race, two-time defending champion Luke Lamperti (Trinity) is looking to go for the hat trick and take a third Pro Crit title. Looking to disrupt his plans will be the team of Project Echelon with the likes of Cade Bickmore, who has been on a hot streak and recently won the Tour of The Gila criterium as well as the infamous Snake Alley criterium.
The criterium specialists of L39ion of Los Angeles will once again be looking to take the top step in one of the few significant criteriums the team has yet to win. But this year, L39ion's got former winner Ty Magner in its midst; could 2023 be the year?
L39ion's sister team, the Miami Blazers, will compete with former Pro Road champion Johnny Brown as its lead alongside Spencer Moavenzadeh, who impressed with a fourth place finish at Tulsa Tough's Crybaby Hill earlier this month.
The U23 team of Aevolo will once again be looking to disrupt the race and set up Brody McDonald for a sprint finish. The new NCL teams, Denver Disruptors and Miami Nights, will compete for the first time and aiming to impress.
Riley Sheehan (Denver Disruptors) is coming in hot off a win in the Joe Martin Stage race criterium and overall win. Miami Nights has specialist Frank Travieso looking for glory. Ama Nsek (CS Velo) is another outside favorite for a top placing. Nsek is a former collegiate criterium champion and the current Cat 1 Road Race national champion. Colby Simmons (Jumbo Visma Development) returns from European racing to compete. As a former junior criterium national champion, he will look for another jersey to take home.
The women's race is just as stacked as the men's, with L39ion looking to defend Kendall Ryan's jersey for yet another year. Several teams will be looking to usurp the Lioness's dominance. The dueling NCL teams of Miami Nights and the Denver Disruptors bring stacked teams. Andrea Cyr (Miami Nights) Is the current overall leader in the American Criterium Cup and will surely be looking to add a national title to her palmarès.
The DNA Pro Cycling team also brings a strong roster, with Olivia Cummins recently placing second in the Tulsa Tough Omnium. Another strong team is the CCB-Alpine Carbon team. Almost all of their riders are under the age of 23, and will aim for the U23 jersey on offer. With two of its riders, Kat Rusch and Natalie Quinn, coming off podiums at the Armed Forces Cycling Classic, the team looks to be in an excellent position to do so.
Notable solo riders are Coryn Labecki (Jumbo Visma), A perennial favorite and a 78-time (!) national champion who should never be overlooked. The other solo WorldTour rider is U23 rider Makayla MacPherson of Human Powered Health.
US Pro Nats - Road Race
When: The road races take place on Sunday, June 25, starting at 9 a.m. EDT for the women; 1:15 p.m. for the men.
The road race course is a 7.5-mile lap with 750ft of climbing per lap. Most of the elevation comes in the form of the Sherrod road climb, which is the defining feature of the race and where splits often occur.
The women's race looks like it will be a hotly contested one. There's defending champion Emma Langley and her EF-Education-Tibco teammates who will be looking to secure the stars and stripes for another year within the team —before Langley, teammate Lauren Stephens held the honors.
Labecki wants to retake the title after winning in 2018, and Dygert, despite being without teammates, will undoubtedly make an impact. The TT specialist may be looking to make a breakaway stick.
DNA Pro Cycling has one of the largest teams in the race and will undoubtedly be a force to be reckoned with. The team of Fount Cycling will also be looking to disrupt the race and set up one of its riders for a podium finish. L39ion will look to improve on its fourth-place finish from last year, and the young CCB-Alpine Carbon team will be aiming for the U23 jersey.
In the men's race, Project Echelon will undoubtedly want to control the race for Stites. Stites finished on the podium last year and will surely be looking to take the top step this year.
The Human Powered Health squad has traditionally been dominant at Pro Nationals, winning last year with Kyle Murphy, who now rides for L39ion. They will certainly like to continue the streak this year and win again.
CS Velo has a couple of options with strong climbers in Will Copper and time trial specialist Drake Deuel, who could have a good result.
Sheehan of the Denver Disruptors recently won the Joe Martin Stage race and looks to be in a great position to be a podium contender. The U23 team of Aevolo will be looking for a good result with a solid team that has been racing across the pond in Europe earlier this year.
Former winner Johnny Brown will be racing again for the Miami Blazers. The youngest-ever winner can't be counted out for a high placing.
The two solo WorldTour riders, McNulty and Sean Quinn (EF Education - Easypost), are racing; both have had some top results in Europe and will undoubtedly threaten the more prominent domestic teams to take the win. Colby Simmons (Jumbo Visma Devo) is another solo rider who is an outside favorite for a top result.
US Pro Nats - Where to Watch
The 2023 USA Cycling Professional Road National Championships will take place in Knoxville, Tennessee, from June 22-25, 2023.
The men's and women's criterium and road races will be live-streamed on FloBikes.
Additional updates throughout the week will be made via social media — @USACycling— and on livelynxresults.com.
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