CapTech USA Cycling Collegiate Road National Championships Recap

Notre Dame Cycling sent Andrew O’Donnell (Grad.), John Pratt (Jr.), Jim Snitzer (Jr.), and Luke Tilmans (Sr.) to the 2014 CapTech USA Cycling Collegiate Road National Championships on May 2-4. The event was held in Richmond, VA and served as a test event for the UCI Road World Championships that will come to the city in September of 2015. The collegiate courses were identical to those that will be used in the World Championships and showcased historic parts of Richmond, including Monument Street, Broad Street, and Libby Hill.

The team and individual time trials were held on the first day of racing, Friday, May 2. Despite a crash during warmup for the TTT, the 4 Irish riders paced well and finished the 31km course in 43:12. It was good enough for 3rd place amongst DII teams and the first nationals podium in the history of Notre Dame Cycling. A few short hours later, O’Donnell and Snitzer took the line for the ITT. Amongst a very strong DII field, Snitzer finished 13th (45:09) and O’Donnell 25th (47:06).

In Saturday’s criterium Pratt took advantage of his front row start from winning the MWCCC conference omnium. Tilmans and Snitzer started near the back but managed to work their way up through the field. A short, tight, and technical descent followed by a moderately sized climb along the backstrech made for a very difficult race in which over 2/3 of the field was pulled. Tilmans managed to finish in the field at 28th, while Pratt was 29th and Snitzer 64th.

Sunday’s road race, 7 laps of a 10 miles loop, featured two sections of rough cobbles: a fast descent in the middle of the city and a switchback climb through a nearby park. Unfortunately, the race saw some very bad luck for the Irish. Tilmans suffered a flat tire only 3 miles in, received a neutral support bike, but was unable to chase back to the charging peloton. Just a few miles later, Snitzer went down in a crash that took out over 20 riders. He was still able to finish 54th. Pratt, the last remaining ND rider, rode near the front of the field even putting in a solo attack during the first lap. Unfortunately, he too suffered a flat tire with 2 laps to go and had to settle for 48th.

Notre Dame Cycling thanks all of their sponsors and fans for their support throughout the 2014 road season and the city of Richmond for hosting a fantastic event. Happy riding to all this summer! It won’t be long until the 2015 MWCCC season and National Championships in Asheville, NC.

CapTech USA Cycling Collegiate Road National Championships Preview

From MWCCC conference director Matt Jones: “In the D2 men’s field, Notre Dame has dominated the entire season, even taking a few wins from the larger varsity programs. John Pratt has led this charge and is expected to be an active force in both the road race and criterium. This will continue into the TTT where a podium finish for Notre Dame would not be out of the question.”

See the following for a complete preview:

Notre Dame Nationals roster:

TTT- Andrew O’Donnell (Grad.), John Pratt (Jr.), Jim Snitzer (Jr.), Luke Tilmans (Sr.)

ITT- O’Donnell, Snitzer

Crit- Pratt, Snitzer, Tilmans

RR- Pratt, Snitzer, Tilmans

Follow @cyclingirish on twitter for live updates from this weekends National Championships in Richmond, VA.

MWCCC Regionals Purdue Recap

The Notre Dame Cycling team competed in West Lafayette, IN on April 26-27 in the MWCCC Regional Championships hosted by Purdue with the Division II conference title on the line. The races were held west of Purdue’s campus and began with an 8-mile team time trial on Saturday morning. The Notre Dame men’s A team represented by John Pratt (Jr.), Jim Snitzer (Jr.), Luke Tilmans (Sr.), and Andrew O’Donnell (Grad.) took a season best 4th place, only 32 seconds behind the winning time, while averaging a blistering 28+ mph pace.

Shortly after the time trial, the road races began. The course consisted of a 9.4-mile lap including a one-mile, 160ft climb followed by sections with strong winds and a fast decent. The races had riders completing between three and eight laps totaling 28-75 miles, depending on their respective categories. Sarah Cullen (Fr.), despite wrecking early on in the race, took 7th in the women’s B race after quickly catching up to the field. Mike Lorenzen (Grad.) once again set the pace for the men’s D race. He took third place after establishing himself in a four-man breakaway, providing the Irish with their first podium spot of the weekend. In the men’s C road race, Tom Frederick (grad.) was able to bridge to a seven-man break and took a season best 6th place. Notre Dame’s star freshman James Pratt was able to fend off several attacks by riders from Marian in the men’s B field, and took a career best second place in the final sprint. The men’s A road race saw an uncharacteristically large amount of wrecks, which claimed riders Douglas Ansel (Grad.) and O’Donnell as victims. However, the Irish were able to get their leader John Pratt in the day’s six-man breakaway. Both Snitzer and Tilmans worked together to cover other teams’ attempts to bridge the gap allowing the break to gain more than a ten-minute advantage. Pratt took second in the final sprint, while Tilmans and Snitzer finished 17th and 20th respectively.

Sunday’s circuit race featured a four-mile loop that included a short, steep climb, with no time to recover due to strong crosswinds and a quick descent back to the base of the climb. Cullen put in an impressive effort to grab 9th place in women’s B. Lorenzen applied constant pressure while attacking the men’s D field, eventually taking 15th.  In men’s C, an attack by a rider from Case Western established the ten-man break including Frederick in the final lap. On the finishing climb, Frederick took another impressive top ten finish grabbing 5th place. The men’s A field was shelled by the tough climb and strong crosswinds; however, John Pratt helped Snitzer establish himself in the days surviving field. Snitzer eventually grabbed 18th, Pratt 21st, Tilmans 25th, and O’Donnell 30th in a very difficult race.

For the fourth year running, the Notre Dame Cycling team emerged as the MWCCC Division II team champions. Furthermore, John Pratt and Jim Snitzer took first and second place respectively in the Division II Individual Omnium. Notre Dame would like to thank Purdue for hosting a very well organized race weekend and providing a stellar setting to help bring an end to another successful MWCCC season.

Men’s A riders John Pratt, Jim Snitzer, Luke Tilmans, and Andrew O’Donnell will head to Richmond, VA for the USA Cycling Collegiate Road National Championships on May 2-4. The Irish will face the best collegiate riders from across the country on the course for the eventual 2015 UCI Road World Championships.

Home Race Recap

Over 200 cyclists from schools across the Midwest Collegiate Cycling Conference came to South Bend, IN on April 12-13 for the 4th annual Notre Dame Collegiate Cycling Classic. The Notre Dame cycling team hosted the event with the help of St. Joseph County and the City of South Bend. It also acted as a fundraiser for the Ara Parseghian Medical Research Foundation. Saturday’s races were held south of the city, starting and finishing at the Greene Intermediate Center. Teams competed in the 7.8-mile team time trial in the morning. The Irish A team, consisting of John Pratt (Jr.), Jim Snitzer (Jr.), and Luke Tilmans (Sr. ) took 5th, less than a minute behind the best time of the day set by Marian.

In the afternoon, riders took the line in the road race, varying between 28 and 72 miles in length depending upon category. The wind picked up throughout the day, making for some very hard racing. Sarah Cullen (Fr.) set the tempo at the front of the women’s B field, but after 28-miles the peloton was still together going into the final sprint. Cullen managed to take 8th. In the men’s D road race, Mike Lorenzen (Grad.) came in 3rd, while Tom Frederick (Grad.) and August Kunkel (Sr.) were 13th and 16th respectively in men’s C. The men’s A road race saw a large crash in a crosswind section of the course in just the first of 5 laps. Thankfully, no Notre Dame riders hit the pavement. Shortly following the crash, Pratt managed to get himself into the 5-man breakaway that would eventually stay away until the finish while Douglas Ansel (Grad.), Snitzer, and Tilmans rode in the second group on the road. Unfortunately, Tilmans was disqualified for going over the centerline and Ansel suffered a flat tire. In the end, Pratt was 4th and Snitzer 15th after an extremely hard day of racing.

Sunday’s short, technical, 6-turn criterium course wound through the newly developing Triangle Neighborhood before bringing riders near the Eddy St Commons and finishing on Napoleon St. Early in the day, Emma-Kate Conlin (Fr.) and Cullen rode strongly to bring in another pair of top ten finishes for women’s B.  Lorenzen had another men’s D podium finish, grabbing 2nd with the support of teammates David Berno (So.), Joe Mueller (So.), and Sam Melgar (So.). Kunkel and Frederick both recorded season-bests 5th and 8th respectively in Men’s C. After initially being gapped by the peloton, James Pratt (Fr.) fought hard to catch back on in the men’s B race. He eventually caught the field and held on for an impressive 12th. In men’s A, the final race of the day, Pratt once again made it into the winning breakaway. Meanwhile, bake in the peloton, Tilmans and Ansel were near the front but were both caught behind a crash in the final lap, continuing their bad luck from the day before. At the finish, Pratt recorded 5th despite taking large pulls to chase down riders from Marian and Lindsey Wilson.

The Notre Dame cycling team thanks St. Joseph County, the City of South Bend, and all the volunteers that helped out to make the weekend a success. The Irish will travel to Purdue University on April 26-27 for the MWCCC Regional Championships before going to USA Cycling Collegiate Road Nationals on May 2-4 in Richmond, VA.

Ripon Criterium Recap

The Irish looked to take on the MWCCC once again in a single day criterium event hosted by Ripon College in Wisconsin. The course was tremendously challenging, featuring a couple kicker hills and a sweeping fast descent. The racing started around noon when women Sarah Cullen and Emma-Kate in the women’s B/C field. The field quickly shredded itself, but the Irish women held steady for two great results, a 2nd for Sarah, and 6th for Emma-Kate. The next event of the day for the Irish featured Josh Corcoran in the men’s C field. As in the previous races, the field was dismantled by the hills. Josh proved to hold steady, though, for a very well earned 10th place finish. The final event of the day was the Men’s A race. Jim Snitzer, Luke Tilmans, and John Pratt took the line against some of the top riders in the Midwest, themselves included. Despite the hills, not many riders were shelled from this field. Eventually, though, after a couple of attacks, several riders were able to get up the road. Snitzer and Tilmans found themselves finish 10th and 11th, respectively, in the second break. Pratt finished 24th. It was a great day for all Notre Dame cyclists. A special shout out goes to the Corcoran family for graciously hosting us. It was an exhilarating weekend of sunshine, chain grease, sweat that revolved around a barrage of great efforts by all of the riders.

Next weekend, MWCCC action comes to South Bend for the annual Notre Dame Collegiate Cycling Classic! See the home race tab for more details.

Michigan State Road Race and ITT Recap

The cycling Irish headed up to Michigan State University for a full day of racing on Saturday, March 29. The races included a road race, featuring 5 mile laps with a 2 mile section of dirt roads, and a 6.8 mile individual time trial.

Men’s A:

Juniors John Pratt and Jim Snitzer and Senior Luke Tilmans started the men’s A 55-mile road race responding to numerous attacks from varsity programs Lindenwood and Marian. After Notre Dame was left out of an early break of 10, Pratt attempted to get away from the main field and his other season-long individual omnium competitors. Unfortunately, none of the attacks stuck. A chase group including Snitzer and Tilmans with about 12 riders formed in the dirt section during the 3rd lap. The next 3 laps were extremely agressive, seeing many attempts to bridge to the leaders. In the end, Snitzer and Tilmans finished 17th and 18th respectively.

Just an hour after finishing the road race, the 3 A’s took the line for the ITT. Pratt finished with the 4th best time of the day, just 13 seconds of the leaders pace, while Snitzer was just behind him in 5th. Tilmans managed to place 20th, despite loosing about a minute to taking a wrong turn.

Men’s D:

Graduate student Tom Frederick and Sophomores Brennan Lanier and David Berno led the way for the Irish in the men’s D 25-mile road race race. After just 3 miles in, the peloton was abruptly stopped due to fire crew responding to a barn fire near the course. After a two hour delay, the race was restarted with a combined D and C field. Frederick came out on top among the Ds, while Lanier and Berno finished 4th and 5th, respectively. For Berno, it was a stellar first career cycling race, and for Lanier, it was a strong season debut. Terrific Tom will likely upgrade to the C’s for his next race after a well-deserved victory. This season’s very strong group of D riders will look to continue to produce numerous top-5 finishes and possibly move up to C’s in the coming weekends.

In the Individual Time Trial, Frederick was 2nd, Lorenzen (who drove up in the afternoon after competing in the Holy Half Marathon that morning) 4th, Lanier 5th, and Berno 7th.

Women’s B/C:

Freshmen Sarah Cullen and Devin Stalker had a strong showing in the women’s B/C field for the second straight weekend. After taking large pulls at the front of the group chasing the 3-person breakaway, Cullen took 5th. Stalker finished her first career road race and rode on dirt roads for the first time, coming in 10th.

In the ITT, Cullen was 3rd and Stalker 5th.

Next up for the cycling Irish is Ripon’s team time trial and criterium on Saturday, April 5.

Case Western Criterium Recap

In classic Midwestern cold, clouds, and wind, the Cycling Irish took to the streets of Cleveland, OH, for Case Western’s criterium on Sunday, March 23. The course wrapped around the Cleveland Brown’s football stadium and saw temperatures in the mid-20s with snow flurries at times.

Men’s A:

The men’s A team scored Notre Dame’s first criterium win of the season and its first ever A criterium win in school history. Early in the race John Pratt (Jr.) jumped into the day’s winning 6-man break. Back in the main field, Jim Snitzer (Jr.) and Luke Tilmans (Sr.) slowed the pace at the front of the rest of the field to ensure the move with Pratt would stay clear to the finish. The team tactics worked to perfection and Pratt was comfortably in the top 6 heading into the final hundred meters. He started his sprint early and sailed to the line in front of riders from varsity programs Lindenwood, Lindsey Wilson, and Marian.  After a hard day of controlling the field, Tilmans and Snitzer finished solidly in the field with 15th and 17th respectively.

Men’s D:

Graduate students, Tom Frederick and Mike Lorenzen, set a fast pace at the front throughout the race. The high speed reduced the field in numbers setting them up well for the final laps. Frederick, who spent much of the day leading the race, was caught out in an untimely crash with only half a mile to go. Lorenzen managed to keep a high position going for the sprint and took an impressive 2nd place.

Women’s B/C:

Freshmen riders Sarah Cullen, Emma-Kate Conlin, and Devin Stalker, proved to be a young, but resilient trio for the Irish in the women’s B/C category.  Early in the race, 2 riders from Michigan and Marian started a breakaway the ended up sticking until the end.  Despite attempts by Cullen to bridge to the break, the field had to settle for a sprint for third. Conlin had a strong performance finishing 8th and helped keep Sarah at the front. In the final sprint, Sarah struck early and found herself finish a carrier best 5th. Stalker rounded out the great day’s ride for the women’s team by finish 12th.

Notre Dame solidified its lead of DII Team standings, while Pratt and Snitzer remain 1st and 3rd respectively in the individual DII standings.  John Pratt jumped to 2nd overall in the conference after his victory Sunday.