Mesa third in team time trial at cycling nationals

Colorado Mesa University rolled to a third-place finish Friday in the men’s team time trial event at the 2013 USA Cycling Collegiate Road Nationals in Ogden, Utah.

The Mavericks had high hopes coming into nationals for the team time trial, but Duke and Air Force were a little faster, placing first and second, respectively.

Even with the lofty expectations, CMU rider and coach Patric Rostel said the bronze-medal performance was satisfying.

“We’re pretty happy with the results, we rode a good race,” he said via phone Friday.

Duke was the defending champion, Rostel said, so the Mavericks knew coming into nationals a gold medal would be tough to get.

Competing at the Division II level, CMU’s four-man team was made up of Rostel, Quint Berkemeier, Sam Phillips and Cole Hanson. They finished the 20-mile course in 43 minutes, 34.95 seconds. Duke’s team blistered the course, posting a winning time of 42:37.95. Air Force was about nine seconds better than CMU at 43:25.77.

The team time trial is a race against the clock with each four-person team taking off separately.

The Mavericks’ closest rival for the overall team national title, Mars Hill College (N.C.), finished sixth.

Another western Colorado team, Fort Lewis College, picked up a bronze in the Division I team time trial. The University of Colorado was fifth.

The fastest team was Marian University out of Indianapolis, which averaged more than 29.2 mph to win the Division I title with a time of 42:06.93.

In the Division II women’s race, CMU just missed the bronze medal, finishing fourth at 57:16.42. The CMU women raced with only a three-person team and finished 24 seconds ahead of Mars Hill. Massachusetts Institute of Technology won the Division II women’s crown with a time of 51:03.3.

“(They) really exceeded their expectations,” Rostel said of the CMU women’s team.

Rostel said Friday was especially satisfying since both CMU teams finished ahead of their Mars Hill rivals.

“That gives us a good advantage going into the next races,” he said.

The overall team title will go to the college with the most points from the season and the races at nationals. It includes both men’s and women’s results.

Today, Rostel looks to defend his Division II criterium national title. CMU will have a team of four in the criterium race, which will be held in downtown Ogden. Riders will race for 75 minutes, then race to the finish on the final lap.

Rostel will be the favorite in the criterium, but he thinks any of the other three riders has a shot to make the five-spot podium.

“We’re definitely ready for the criterium. The guys know what the game plan is, and all four (riders) have a shot at the podium,” he said.

Nationals conclude Sunday with the 80-mile road race.

More than 400 competitors from more than 100 schools are competing at the national championships.


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