Mavericks’ Horbach wins criterium title at nationals
Ariane Horbach had another great day at the USA Cycling Collegiate Road National Championships in Richmond, Virginia.
Less than one second separated the first three riders in Saturday’s women’s criterium race, but the Colorado Mesa cyclist once again emerged victorious.
Horbach won the race with a time of 50 minutes, 54 seconds. Less than 15 seconds separated Horbach and the 25th-place finisher in what was a mass sprint finish.
CMU coach Patric Rostel said it was stressful watching Horbach in the crowded finish..
“That was bunch of girls there at the finish,” he said. “There were 25, 26 girls all sprinting there. From my angle, it’s nerve-wracking as a coach because you want to be in there riding, but you have to watch.”
Rostel, who like Horbach is from Germany, is also a former national champion cyclist.
After a dominating season in the Rocky Mountain Cycling Conference, Horbach was one of the favorites to win the criterium.
“I think her experience and her power (gives her an) advantage over all the other girls,” Rostel said.
With her European racing background, Horbach is used to tough competition.
“She’s raced more than a lot of these girls and also (raced) in Europe. It gives her an advantage. Where some of these girls have been competing only in small events with not very many riders, she’s been in big events with 120 other girls,” Rostel said.
Ariana Dittmer finished 13th with a time of 57:50 and Lexie Millard was 26th with a time of 53:17.
It was a disappointing day for the CMU men’s team, which didn’t place a rider in the top five.
Morgan Ryan was the Mavericks’ top finisher, placing seventh. He finished third in the in 2013 race.
Spencer Oswald, one of the stronger CMU riders, didn’t race in the criterium. Rostel said Oswald is resting for today’s road race. Oswald rode both the team and individual time trials Friday.
The Mavericks hold a commanding lead in the overall standings, with a team total of 365 points. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is second with 213 points.
Today is the final day of competition with the road race. The women’s course is just less than 50 miles and the men will race 68 miles.
“We need to stay on top of (our) game,” Rostel said. “Two more races that we can win and the overall road omnium is icing on the cake for us.”
Horbach will again be a favorite in the women’s road race.