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.

Lindenwood Race Weekend Recap

On the weekend of March 15-16, the Cycling Irish travelled to St. Charles, MO after a heavy week of training in Longmont, CO for spring break. The Lindenwood Race Weekend featured two days of hard racing. Saturday featured a 13 mile team time trial and a road race with 3 major climbs and 1,700ft of elevation gain per 21-mile lap. Sunday’s criterium was held in downtown historic St. Charles.

Men’s A:

With the help of Freshman B rider James Pratt, A riders John Pratt and Jim Snitzer led the team time trial to 6th place despite missing key A rider Luke Tilmans and not having any aero equipment because of spring break travel. Later in the day, Pratt and Snitzer took the line in the 4-lap, 84 miles road race, the longest of the season. In a crosswind section late in the second lap, Pratt drove a successful attack that saw 14 riders get away from the main field. After several more climbs and riders being dropped from both the breakaway and peloton, it was apparent the break was going to stick. One Marian and one Lindenwood rider managed to get away from the break during the last lap and Pratt took 9th. Meanwhile, back in the second group on the road, Snitzer attacked on the last major climb of the race with a Lindenwood rider. They stayed away until the finish and Snitzer took 11th.

For the second race weekend in a row, the criterium came down to a field sprint, a rarity in collegiate A races. The strong wind made it difficult for attacks to stick. In order to place high in the sprint, you needed to be very close to the front going into the last turn because it was sharp and required riders to slow down and accelerate sharply before the finish line. Pratt entered the turn around 15th place, not a very good position if you are looking for a win. Nevertheless, he showcased his signature sprint to overtake numerous riders in the final meters and move all the way up to 6th. Snitzer finished mid-pack, 32nd.

After his 4th consecutive top-10 finish, Pratt remains in 4th place overall in the MWCCC individual omnium and 1st place in DII. Snitzer moved into 3rd in DII.

Men’s B:

After stepping up to give a tremendous effort in the A team time trial, Freshman James Pratt began the 63-mile, 3 lap road race as a top contender for a podium spot. Although the hills of Missouri allowed the peloton to gain large time gaps on the 6’3” rider from Notre Dame, Pratt powered his way back into contention after each of the first 6 climbs, compensating for his losses by gaining time on the flat sections and the descents. During the final lap, Pratt began to test the rest of the B field by setting the pace on the 7th big climb of the day. However, the big freshman could not overcome the force of gravity as quickly as some of the competition and settled for a still-impressive top ten finish at the end of the grueling race.

Early in the criterium, a breakaway consisting of 2 riders both from Marian, formed. They ended up staying away until the finish, leaving the field to sprint for 3rd. Pratt prepared to foil the hopes of a Marian sweep of the podium. With 2 laps to go he advanced to 5th place in the peloton and followed a strong pace set by Minnesota. After accelerating to the front of the peloton during the last lap, Pratt zipped around the final corner and hammered his sprint to a 3rd place finish several bike lengths ahead of his closest competitors, celebrating a personal best finish in a thrilling field sprint.

Men’s D:

Graduate student’s Tom Frederick and Mike Lorenzen kicked off the weekend with a first place in the team time trial, despite only having 2 of the normally 4-person sized team. Just a few hours later, they both started near the front of the 21-mile, 1 lap road race, with Frederick setting the pace prior to the first of the large hills. Lorenzen suffered a set back during the first climb as two other riders were taken out of contention due to a thrown chain and blown tire. He was able to rejoin the group on the following climb. During the last major climb, a 2-man breakaway formed and Frederick led the chase group. Despite not being able to catch the 2nd place rider, Frederick dropped the other chasers in the final mile to take an impressive 3rd place in his second collegiate road race. Lorenzen hung on to take 23rd.

In the criterium, Lorenzen was sidelined with bike mechanical difficulties while Tom managed to work with a main group of 8 riders. After taking an impressive pull into a 25 mph headwind that pulled the 2nd place rider back into the group with one lap to go, he took 8th.

In Brief:

TTT- Men’s A 6th, Men’s D 1st

RR- John Pratt 9th (A), Jim Snitzer 11th (A), James Pratt 10th (B), Tom Frederick 3rd (D), Mike Lorenzen 23rd (D)

Crit- John Pratt 6th (A), Jim Snitzer 32nd (A), James Pratt 3rd (B), Tom Frederick 8th (D)

The team sits in 4th place in the overall team standings and 1st in DII after two weekends of racing. Next, ND travels to Cleveland, OH for Case Western’s criterium this weekend on Sunday, March 23.

Lindsey Wilson Race Weekend Recap

Men’s A:

Notre Dame’s A team began their first weekend of racing in 2014 with a resounding performance all-around. Saturday morning’s team time trial was the first event, where Luke Tilmans (Sr) Jim Snitzer (Jr) John Pratt (Jr) and James Pratt (Fr) drove the Irish to a solid 5th place finish, beating all other non-varsity squads. The 75 mile A road race on Saturday afternoon, contested by over 50 riders, was fast-paced and aggressive throughout. Snitzer and Pratt proved their strength by making the day’s breakaway of 12 riders. In the finale, Pratt fought to an impressive 5th place finish. Tilmans rode strong in the second group on the road, pushing the pace over Kentucky’s countless climbs and finishing a career best 18th. Snitzer posted 29th after his strong start. Sunday’s criterium saw countless attacks off the front, but each one was reeled in by the charging peloton. Pratt once again fought his way off the front, but was reeled back in by the main field. In the final sprint, Pratt took 7th and Tilmans was 28th out of the highly competitive 60 rider field.

Men’s B:

James Pratt was the lone B rider for the Irish. After stepping up to assist the A’s in the morning’s team time trial, the talented freshman stayed with the lead group going into the final climb of the 50-mile B road race and took 8th over the top. He also had a strong performance in his first collegiate criterium.

Men’s D:

Graduate student Tom Frederick completed his first-ever mass start race in a very large D field. After avoiding several wrecks in the early miles of the road race and consequently missing the winning break, he fought his way back through the field. Out-climbing his group on the final climb, he took an impressive 28th out of a 70+ rider field. He also had a very successful first criterium, managing to stay near the front of a D field that was scattered by the cross winds down the backstretch of the course.

Women’s B/C:

Freshmen Sarah Cullen and Emma-Kate Conlin also made their collegiate racing debuts over the Lindsey Wilson weekend. Despite only having the 2 riders for the normally 4-person team time trial, they managed to bring in 3rd place. They each had a very strong showing in their first collegiate road race, with Cullen taking 6th and Conlin 22nd. In Sunday’s criterium, Cullen was 8th and Conlin 17th.

The cycling Irish sit in 5th overall, 1st in DII, in the Midwest Collegiate Cycling Conference after the first weekend of racing. Next up, much of the team will be attending spring break training camp in Longmont, CO. Afterwards, they will return to racing at Lindenwood on March 15-16.

Road 2014: Season Preview

2013 Review:


Team Ranking: 3 (1 D2)

Men’s A: John Pratt 10 (1 D2), Joseph Magro 13 (2 D2), Andrew O’Donnell 32, Jim Snitzer 45, Luke Tilmans 53

Women’s A: Carolyn McCann 28

National Championship

Team Time Trial: 7

Road Race: Jim Snitzer 12, Joseph Magro 14, John Pratt 31, Luke Tilmans 43, Andrew O’Donnell 61

Criterium: Andrew O’Donnell 42, Joseph Magro 43, John Pratt 51

Omnium: Joseph Magro 18, John Pratt 33

Key Losses: Joseph Magro A, Andrew O’Donnell A, Carolyn McCann A, Brian Hurley B, Michael Chifala B, Josh Corcoran B, Phil Palmon C, David Pratt C, Pat Handy C, Rob Piscatelli D

2014 Road Preview

Returning Riders:  Douglas Ansel (G), Luke Tilmans (SR), August Kunkel (SR), Jason Koncsol (SR), John Pratt (JR), James Snitzer (JR), Samuel Melgar (SO), Brennan Lanier (SO), Domenic Canonico (SO), Ryan Twardzik (SO), Paige Handy (SO), Emily Kunce (SO)

Newcomers:  Thomas Frederick (G), Mike Lorenzen (G), David Berno (SO), Jon Leslie (SO), Martin Duchossois (SO), Joe Mueller (SO), Emma-Kate Conlin (FR), Sarah Cullen (FR), James Pratt (FR)


Feb. 22-23 MWCCC Lindsey Wilson TTT, RR, Crit
Mar. 15-16 MWCCC Lindenwood TTT, RR, Crit
Mar. 23 MWCCC Case Western Crit
Mar. 29-30 MWCCC Michigan/Michigan State ITT, RR, Crit
April 5-6 MWCCC Ripon TTT, RR, Crit
April 12-13 MWCCC Notre Dame TTT, RR, Crit
April 19 MWCCC Marian Circuit
April 26-27 Regionals Purdue TTT, RR, Crit
May 2-4 Nationals Richmond, VA TTT, ITT, RR, Crit

 Season Outlook

A young Irish squad enters the 2014 road campaign aiming for an unprecedented 4th consecutive MWCCC D2 team title. Another league championship is no certainty though, as Notre Dame will arrive in Kentucky without 10 contributing athletes from 2013, and their 27 combined years of collegiate racing experience. With 43% of the A team and 100% of the B team victim to graduation, it is lindseywilson 021_result_resultimperative that ND’s large freshmen and sophomore classes continue to develop in the C and D categories to take advantage of the tiered conference scoring system.  Despite the losses, Notre Dame does return an extremely accomplished core of A riders whose impact should not be overlooked.  Among these athletes are the 2013 D2 men’s conference champion, ¾ of the 2013 Nationals TTT team, and one of the top ranked collegiate cyclocross racers in the United States. An MWCCC stop at Notre Dame on April 12-13th will bring some of the best collegiate cycling talent in the nation to the streets of downtown South Bend, and serve as one of the final tune-ups for the national championships. These national championships, to be held in Richmond, VA, are being billed as a test event for the 2015 UCI World Championship and return to the East Coast for the first time in over a decade.

Category by Category Analysis

Men’s A: An untested, but highly talented, Men’s A team will take the line at Lindsey Wilson looking to prove they belong with league superpowers Marian and Lindenwood. Defending D2 conference champion John Pratt will lead the team into the season, and with 2 years of A racing under his belt is not only one of the best finishers in the conference, but also more than capable of filling the captain’s role on the road. Jim Snitzer and Luke Tilmans are also set to fill vital roles on ND’s A team. A strong climber, Snitzer put DSCF0311_resultthe conference on notice with his unexpected 12th place finish on the slopes of Utah at the 2013 national championship road race, while the rouleur Tilmans will step out of the shadows and into a starring role after strong contributions to the 2013 nationals TTT team. Veteran Douglas Ansel, a force on the MWCCC cyclocross scene, will also be a valuable asset when he returns to the pavement late in the season.  With skills complementing one another 2013_08_03 034so well, count on Notre Dame to be a fixture in both criteriums and road races throughout the spring, as well as a strong competitor at the 2014 collegiate road national championship.

Men’s B: Although freshman James Pratt is a newcomer to collegiate cycling, he is no stranger to bike racing as he joins his older brother at the top of ND’s team. After a successful amateur summer season and a dedicated winter, expect James to have a short learning curve at the collegiate level. Holding record times up some of the most difficult training hills in South Bend, look for Pratt to strike early and often in the hillier road races on the conference schedule. Also debuting as the 4th member of the A TTT team, Pratt looks to be embarking on a notable career with the Cycling Irish.

Men’s C:  August Kunkel is the lone returning Men’s C rider, but hails from hilly Southeastern IN and can climb with the front of this field when in form. He will enter the season hoping that many of the D riders can quickly upgrade to bolster a category the Irish have owned in recent seasons.

Women’s B/C:  The women’s team enters 2013 young, but larger than it has been in years. Two ND women are set to make their collegiate debut at Lindsey Wilson, Emma-Kate Conlin and Sarah Cullen. Conlin, a freshman at Saint Mary’s College, has raced IMG_0010_resultboth road and mountain in junior categories, while Cullen is an accomplished triathlete who could be a podium threat from week 1. Emily Kunce is also back in action for Notre Dame, and will look to build on a freshman campaign which saw her first ever bike racing experience. ND’s fastest B/C rider in 2013, Paige Handy will miss the spring season studying abroad, but was in tremendous shape during the fall and will return to the team in 2015. These ladies will be some of the most important contributors to the Irish this season due to the collegiate scoring system, and so far look to be up to the task!

Men’s D: In the perennial question mark category, Notre Dame will field a team of ten riders, only five of which have competed in a collegiate race. Undoubtedly one of the most experienced, if not successful, ND athletes, Samuel Melgar will continue his DSC_6654comeback to cycling in 2014. Working to regain the world class form he displayed at the 2010 Junior Olympic Games, Melgar will welcome the assistance of senior Jason Koncsol, who overcame a fractured arm in the second race of 2013 to become one of the DSC_6660_resultbreakout riders of the season. Sophomores Brennan LanierDomenic Canonico, and Ryan Twardzik add depth to the squad, while new graduate students Mike Lorenzen, an iron man, and Thomas Frederick have both put in huge training hours over the winter. Joe Mueller, Jonathan Leslie, and David Berno all have extensive triathlon experience, and should adapt quickly to road competition this spring. All eyes will be on the D squad throughout the season, as their collective progress towards upgrades to the C category will be critical to repeating the team’s school record 3rd place conference finish in 2013.