Whew, it's been a long time since I've updated my blog! A lot has happened since then! After Nationals, I stayed home for a few weeks before heading over to Europe for the Worlds trip. The team for this trip was Ryan Eastman, Paul Lynch, Nate Geoffrion, Eamon Lucas, Anders Newbury, and myself. We competed in a stage race in Belgium, Liege-La Gleize, the week before worlds to help bring back our racing form. The race didn't go exactly as planned as far as results go, but we all came out of it feeling good and ready for the World Championships in Offida, Italy. We got to Offida the Monday before the racing started with the Time Trial on Friday. I spent the next four days studying the 28 kilometer TT course with Jr National Team Director Ben Sharp along with my coach, David Wenger, and parents who had come to Italy to watch me race in my final Junior World Championships. The course was not a typical TT course and one that I felt didn't really suit me. It started out on a 1.5 kilometer climb before a technical descent. The next 8 km were basically flat with a false descent. At 12 km you started a monster 4 km climb and then at the top it flattens out for a little bit and then you get on rolling hills for the next 10 kilometers. With 4 km left you had a fast descent before turning onto the 1.5 km finishing climb. I started the TT as hard as I could on the uphill, and when I got to the flat part I just got as aero as I possibly could. I ended up going through the first time check at 12 km in the lead with about 12 seconds over second place. I then lost a little time on the climb and came over the top 19 seconds back on the leader. I just put the hammer down for the next 12 kilometers and ended up losing a little more time by the finish. Luxembourg's Bob Jungels ended up winning the event with 27 seconds over Germany's Jasha Sutterlin and I completed the podium with less than a second behind Sutterlin. At first I was slightly dissapointed in third place as I have had my eyes set on the Rainbow Jersey of World Champion ever since I finished second place in the same event last year, but it's the World Championships! It's pretty hard not to be happy with a podium place!
Sunday was the 122 kilometer road race. We did 8 laps of a 16 kilometer course. The course started out same as the time trial but turned earlier and went up an extremely hard 3 kilometer climb before turning back onto the TT course with 4 km to go. The weather the day of the race was extremely sunny and nice and toasty. This meant a lot of hydrating and ice-filled socks stuck down our jerseys. USA got a call up to the front before the race due to our 4th place in the UCI Nations Cup the previous year. The race started off pretty chill, but the heat was definitely taking its toll on riders, including me, right from the start. For the first five laps I was basically just floating the back thinking that this was not my day. I felt weak and was hurting at points where I should have been excelling. With three laps to go when the real race for the rainbow jersey was starting up, either the adrenaline was starting to kick in or I just started feeling better. By now the pack had gone from about 160 riders to only about 50, and by the time we hit the top of the climb it was down to about 30. The next lap I went to the front about half way up the climb and drilled it. At the top I looked back and saw that only about six guys were able to follow me. This had all the major countries represented, and I thought for sure that this was the move. Unfortunately, we were brought back by the TT winner, Jungels, a few kilometers later. Going into the climb on the last lap I was definitely feeling the fatigue from the last laps effort. A small group of about four had gotten off the front, and had about a minute going into the climb. The Russians killed it up the climb, and the entire time up it I was cramping. I fought through the pain and was able to come over the top in the lead group that was now about 20 guys. We caught all but one of the guys in the break and hit the base of the finishing climb about 15 seconds back. I rode up the climb in about 4th wheel, but right when the sprint started I was super-chopped and had to stop sprinting. My legs over-loaded when I started sprinting again, and started going backwards. I ended up finishing the day in 14th. Overall, I'm pretty happy with how the race turned out. Of course, I was hoping for a better result, but I rode my own race and there were definitely people that were stronger than me in the race!