Led by double national champion Alex Howes, the Felt-Holowesko Partners team dominated the men’s Under-23 U.S. National Road Championships in Bend, Oregon, over the weekend. Howes won both the road race and the criterium, while his teammate Peter Stetina scored his second consecutive U23 national time trial title.
Howes kicked things off for the team by winning the tough 162-kilometer road race on a scorching day in Bend, with temperatures topping 100 degrees. The Felt team put three riders in the top-five that day—Peter Salon and Peter Stetina finished fourth and fifth as well.
The selective course took its toll on the 119 riders in the road race, causing race officials to cut the contest to six laps of the 27-kilometer loop instead of the seven that were originally planned. As a lead group of 12 riders that included Howes and Salon hit the sixth lap and final lap, Ben King (Trek-Livestrong) attacked and it was only Howes, Salon and Scott Stewart (Team Waste Management) who followed.
The final lap saw several attacks and counter attacks among the four riders on the climbs, but they regrouped on the final descent into the start/finish area. Howes attacked once, was caught, and then unleashed a devastating sprint to take the national title.
Two days after winning the road title, Howes donned the stars-and-stripes jersey for the second time at nationals when he sprinted to victory in the U23 Criterium National Championship on a breakaway.
“Alex put in an impressive move with 1.5 laps to go to drop his breakaway mates,” said Felt-Holowesko Partners team director Chann McRae.
Time Trial Repeat
In the U23 Men’s Time Trial Championship, Stetina faced what was, in his estimation, a much tougher field than the one he trounced last year by more than two minutes. Stetina covered the 35km course, which follows the Stage 4 time trial of the Cascade Cycling Classic stage race, in 45:34. Riding his Felt DA time trial bike, he was 33 seconds faster than second-place Bjorn Selander.
With the win, Stetina secured his spot on the U.S. national team for the U23 World Time Trial Championships, September 23 in Mendrisio, Switzerland.
Congratulations to the entire Felt-Holowesko team on an incredible weekend in Oregon!