Neben claims women's time trials event at USA Cycling championships

Thursday, June 21, 2012 2:04 PM
Last updated Friday, June 22, 2012 1:41 AM
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Amber Neben called it “risky” competing in this week’s USA Cycling National Championships.

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Robert Bush, of Louisville, Ky., celebrates after crossing the finish line during the time trials race of the USA Cycling National Championships at Strom Thurmond Dam.  The criterium is today.  EMILY ROSE BENNETT/STAFF
EMILY ROSE BENNETT/STAFF
Robert Bush, of Louisville, Ky., celebrates after crossing the finish line during the time trials race of the USA Cycling National Championships at Strom Thurmond Dam. The criterium is today.

After locking up a spot as one of four members on the U.S. Olympic Women’s Cycling Team, she thought about sitting out this week, especially with the Olympic Games five weeks away. But the lure of winning the nation’s top prize was just too strong.

“I’m looking ahead to the Games. So it was a little risky coming here with my form and being a little flat,” she said. “But at the same time, it’s the national championships. It’s a super special race. It’s always fun to compete here, and I like to compete.”

Neben’s decision to ride paid off in a big way for her Thursday. She bested her U.S. Olympic teammate, Evelyn Stevens, by a second to claim her first USA Cycling time trials national championship.

Neben, of Lake Forest, Calif., finished the 30-kilometer course in a time of 39 minutes and 27 seconds. She edged Stevens, who posted a time of 39:28; last year, Stevens narrowly defeated Neben. Alison Powers placed third at 39:46, while Carmen Small finished fourth (40:51) and Alison Tetrick (41:00) took fifth.

Neben finally broke through in this event after posting seven runner-up showings since 2002.

“I feel like I’m stronger and faster than I was last year,” she said. “Last year when I was here, I was more in peak form. Here, I’m four or five weeks away. So I’m not far away. That’s really positive.”

In the U-23 Men’s event, Evan Huffman, of Elk Grove, Calif., posted a time of 36:40 to claim the national title. The 22-year-old finished seventh in the time trials last year.

“All the best riders in the country are here,” he said. “So that’s a big result.”

Huffman is a former triathlete who began cycling in 2007 and started cycling full time in 2009.

This is his final year in the U-23 category, and he said he’s ready to move up.

“This is really big for my career, getting on a bigger team next year,” he said. “It really shows I’m ready to go to the professional level.”

PLANNED ROAD CLOSURES

The following areas will be affected during the championships:

TODAY: The National Criterium Champ­ionships will be in downtown Augusta.

• The eastbound lane of Broad Street from Eighth to 10th streets and the westbound lane of Greene Street from Eighth to 11th streets will be closed to all traffic from 5 a.m. until 10 p.m.

• Eighth, Ninth and 10th streets from Greene Street to Broad Street will be closed, as will 11th Street from Greene Street to Ellis Street.

• Ellis Street will be open to traffic. Drivers wanting to get to Broad or Greene streets from Ellis can do so at the intersection of Eighth and Ellis under the direction of deputies.

No parking will be allowed on the following streets after 5 a.m. today:

• Broad Street eastbound lanes from Eighth to 10th streets

• Greene Street westbound lanes from Eighth to 11th streets

• Ellis Street from Eighth to 11th streets

• Eighth, Ninth, 10th and 11th streets from Broad Street to Greene Street

SATURDAY AND SUNDAY: Comp­etition will be held at Major Matthew P. Burke, M.D., Championship Course on Range Road. Race traffic will enter Fort Gordon at Gate 1.

SCHEDULE OF EVENTS

TODAY: Criterium, 8 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., elite men, elite women/U23 women, U23 men, junior men and women, Paralympic men and women, downtown Augusta; U.S. Paralympic team announcement, 6 p.m., Ninth and Broad streets

SATURDAY: Road race, 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., junior men and women, U23 men, Paralympic men and women, Maj. Matthew P. Burke M.D. Championship Course, Fort Gordon

SUNDAY: Road race, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., junior men (ages 17-18), elite men, elite women/U23 women, Maj. Matthew P. Burke M.D. Championship Course, Fort Gordon


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