Classic competition

CMU cycling coach wants home team to claim crowns at Maverick Classic

This weekend’s Maverick Classic will feature three different stages, beginning Saturday. The first stage is an 11.6-mile time trial in Fruita. The second stage is the criterium, an eight-tenths of a mile course in downtown Grand Junction that last year drew more than 2,000 fans. The final stage is a 20.5-mile loop road race Sunday in Palisade.



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This weekend’s Maverick Classic will feature three different stages, beginning Saturday. The first stage is an 11.6-mile time trial in Fruita. The second stage is the criterium, an eight-tenths of a mile course in downtown Grand Junction that last year drew more than 2,000 fans. The final stage is a 20.5-mile loop road race Sunday in Palisade.

Patric Rostel has plenty on his plate these days.

Not only is he a few weeks into his official tenure as Colorado Mesa University’s cycling coach, but he’s helping organize this weekend’s Maverick Classic, a three-stage race put on annually by CMU. He’s finishing off an environmental science degree at the university and graduates in May.

Oh, and about that Maverick Classic, Rostel has a title to defend at his home race. He’s a player-coach of sorts for the Mavs.

Although he would love to repeat as the Maverick Classic criterium champion in the Men’s A division, the strong-legged German would be just as happy to see a teammate ascend the podium in any or all of the event’s three races.

“It doesn’t necessarily have to be me,” said Rostel, who had been serving as the program’s interim coach since the December dismissal of former coach Rick Crawford. “We want to bring someone to the top of the podium.”

A weekend of racing, which features competition for pro and collegiate cyclists on down to juniors, commences Saturday morning with a 9 a.m. time trial in Fruita. The 11.6-mile course will be staged on the rolling farm roads north of town.

Downtown Grand Junction is the next stop for riders, who will contend with a six-turn criterium course that spans eight-tenths of a mile. Racing begins at 4 p.m. and will last through the evening, with the final heat — men’s pro 1-2 — slated for 9:35 p.m.

“The downtown crit, it will be the biggest crit a lot of the collegiate racers have ever done,” said Rostel, who noted that spectator-laden, downtown courses are a rarity for college races. “Normally you have smaller crits. You never have so many spectators, like we had last year.”

CMU’s Maverick Classic website — coloradomesa.edu/maverickclassic — estimates last year’s spectator turnout at more than 2,000.

Businesses along the course, which will be set up between Third and Sixth streets and Main Street and White Avenue, will remain open during the race. Race officials are encouraging people to make use of the parking lots along Colorado Avenue between Third and Seventh streets and the lots between Sixth and Seventh streets between White and Main.

The action shifts from bustling downtown to the hills surrounding Palisade for Sunday’s 9 a.m. road race that begins with a parade lap in downtown Palisade. From there, riders will cross the river and head uphill on the Fruit and Wine Byway before returning to Palisade. Each loop is 20.5 miles and the race distance varies by category.

“We’re stoked to be able to race there,” Rostel said. “Right after you get out of town, you have a big climb, so that will definitely be decisive in the end of the race. Even up to the orchards, it will be windy and challenging. It’s not flat, with rolling hills and everything.”

Rostel likes his team’s chances at its home race, which will serve as the Rocky Mountain Collegiate Cycling Conference Championship.

Even more incentive for Rostel and his teammates to chase a spot on the podium. Rostel mentioned teammates Quint Berkemeier and Morgan Ryan as candidates to make some noise.

Said Rostel: “We definitely want to try to win our home race.”

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