Greg Daniel (Axeon Hagens Berman) won his first pro road national championship as the 2016 Volkswagen Professional Road National Championships concluded on Saturday in Winston-Salem, N.C.
The undulating course and North Carolina heat whittled the field from 80 to 25, and Daniel took the win in 4:21:34, followed by Alex Howes (Cannondale Pro Cycling) and Travis McCabe(Holowesko-Citadel Racing Team p/b Hincapie Racing) in 4:21:39.
“I think deep down I didn’t think it was possible, like maybe there’s a 0.1% chance,” said Daniel. “I had really good legs today, but I still can’t believe it. I’m expecting myself to wake up in bed thinking, ‘Oh yea, that’s just a dream.’”
Daniel picked up the win in the final half lap of the 12-lap, 187km race, making his move in the last 5km on the heels of a breakaway effort by teammate Logan Owen the lap prior.
Various large groups held lengthy breaks all afternoon, led mostly by the sizeable Rally Cycling contingent and riders that include Daniel, Howes, McCabe, 2014 champion Eric Marcotte (Team Jamis), 2015 champion Matthew Busche (UnitedHealthcare), Kiel Reijnen (Trek Factory Racing) and others. Daniel made his move at the Volkswagen Climb, just 800 meters from the finish, and managed to stay away for the win five seconds ahead of his challengers.
“In the last lap, it was Logan off the front, so I could just relax and not do anything,” Daniel said. “When he got caught, there were a few moves off the front, but I think everyone was just kind of tired at that point. I was just following wheels.”
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