KNOXVILLE (WATE) – This race was a test of endurance as only the strong survived.
Larry Warbasse sprinted to a win in Knoxville, just days after his emotional win in the Tour De Suisse. Powless took silver and Vermeulen took bronze.
The course really came down to the last lap as Warbasse, Alexey Vermeulen and Neilson Powless powered through the breakaway. Warbasse won in the last 100-meter sprint.
“I don’t think I was the strongest today, but I think I was the smartest,” said Warbasse after completing the course. “I am so shocked and I am going to be so honored to wear that jersey for a year.”
Early on, Daniel Eaton pulled out of the peloton early as a solo-rider, hoping to lure other riders to a breakaway. Eventually, Ian Garrison and Sean Bennett joined Eaton.
Team Holowesko/Citadel feathered the gap, letting the breakaway use up energy. They held the peloton at a consistent 1:45 gap for eight laps.
With six laps to go, Rally Cycling stepped on the gas, passing Team Holowesko and moving to the front of the peloton. The breakaway lost significant time as Rally Cycling aided in the chase. Eaton, Garrison and Bennet fall back and joined the pack.
Over the James White Bridge, riders Griffin Easter and Joshua Berry touched wheels and crashed. Easter with Team Illuminate was able to get back on course. The crash ended the race for Jelly Belly Cycling’s Joshua Berry.
Shane Kline with Rally Cycling briefly pulled out as a solo-rider for about half a lap, then joined the peloton again. The last half of the race saw attack after attack as groups of riders tried to break away.
Finally, with just 16 miles remaining on the course, a large group broke away. Warbasse pulled out into the front of the group. Vermeulen and Powless joined Warbasse in the breakaway.
The breakaway had a lead of 35 seconds as they start on the final lap of the race. With 3.2 miles to go Warbasse, Vermeulen and Powless stay together all the way to the last kilometer, then it came down to a three-man sprint to the finish line.