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Human Powered Health versus the world

Human Powered Health versus the world
Who’s where at this week’s national championships

Our riders are taking on the busiest, most eclectic week of racing of the season as they aim for victory in their respective national championships, and the chance to pull on a special jersey for the year, a huge mark on any athletes palmarès.

Robin Carpenter explains the pull of the special jersey best. “There’s just something about them that is a lot more tangible than almost any other race we do,” he says.

“Winning any race is great but with nationals, there’s this very specific prize at the end of the tunnel you could claim that literally everyone and their mother can understand. There’s so much in cycling that is difficult to communicate to the average citizen and I think that if you ever get to pull on that stripey jersey it’s just an instant validation of everything you have ever put into the sport.”

As the program’s most international squad of riders ever, our eyes will be trained across eight countries on three continents with both teams competing in three types of cycling discipline.

Hear from the team ahead of the racing as our guide hopes to provide you with a quick and easy way of following all the action from afar. 

Destination nationals for the sunset train.
United States


It’s homecoming time. 

The United States national championship in Knoxville, Tennessee is a blue ribbon event for any US-based cycling team and even more so in 2022 with Human Powered Health entering the men’s elite race as defending champions thanks to Joey Rosskopf’s emphatic victory last year.

There will be stiff competition in the men’s event but with eight riders on the start list, the team will hope to use the numbers to their advantage on the tight, relentless course around the Sherrod road climb. 

Unfortunately, Rosskopf will not be returning to defend the stars and stripes due to contracting COVID at the Tour de Suisse, a race that was curtailed by the virus, but he has career-defining memories from 2021.

“What sticks out the most is going through the teamwork process of the entire day,” Rosskopf says. “I just remember every single rider playing their role and it was in shifts from beginning to end and there was always an hour or two where someone was on, chasing or covering a move and it was incredible,” he explains. “It was such a sense of relief to reward that display of teamwork.”   

The US jersey has been on Rosskopf’s back for a year now and is something that he will treasure, having now been both a road and TT champion. 

I have felt a tonne of pride and excitement from the people around me which has been really rewarding to see,” he says. “Maybe my own pride is watered down by the extra eyes I have on me as it doesn’t fit my personality but it’s so rare to win a race and friends and family know I’m a bike racer but they might not see anything from me for a year or two so this jersey is an obvious reminder and justification to be proud of and that has been amazingly rewarding.”

In the women’s elite race, Lily Williams, Kaia Schmid and Katie Clouse will represent the team’s interests with Williams especially being touted as one of the favorites thanks to her strong rides across hilly parcours at the recent UK-based Women’s Tour. 

For Williams, the race will be extra special as Tennessee holds a special place in her heart.

“It’s always fun coming back to the southeast and Tennessee in particular since I went to school here and used to live an hour from the circuit,” she explained. 

The 27-year-old has been on a training camp of her own in Colorado ahead of the week and will target both the road race and time trial. 

“Training kicked my butt at height last week but I just tried the enjoy the benefits of being home and soaking up that latent altitude,” Williams added. 

Joining Williams in targeting the time trial is Chad Haga. Twelfth at the recent Tour de Suisse TT in Liechtenstein, Haga is pleased with his condition. “I can be happy that my practice run for nationals went well so after a few days to rest, I’m expecting a good day in Knoxville,” he said after the race.

Haga in action on the final day of the Tour de Suisse.

There is also the battle for the criterium jersey as our Women’s WorldTour and ProTour squads head to downtown Knoxville to face the very best of the US’s world-famous crit community.

Clouse will put all her cyclocross skills to good use in the women’s race alongside Schmid – who will race off the back of a nasty tooth-smashing crash at Tulsa Tough – with Nate Brown being joined by Carpenter in the men’s race, which the program last tasted success in with Eric Young in 2013.

“I was home in June and it’s really rare that I’m within driving distance of one of the big crits in the US and home at the same time and it fits into the schedule so I couldn’t resist going to Harlem and seeing what it felt like to turn on the circuit race brain again,” Carpenter explained. 

“Afterwards I felt so good about it I asked if I could do crit nationals as kind of low pressure, opener type of effort and the directors agreed. I don’t really have any goals but I’ll be happy to fly the sunset-colored-flag while a lot of my friends and family watch,” he added.

So, keep an eye out for our jersey in Knoxville folks.

Time-trial women, June 23 | Melton Lake Park – Melton Lake Park (34.3km)
Lily Williams

Time-trial men, June 23 | Melton Lake Park – Melton Lake Park (34.3km)
Chad Haga

Criterium women, June 24 | Downtown Knoxville
Katie Clouse
Kaia Schmid

Criterium men, June 24 | Downtown Knoxville
Nate Brown
Robin Carpenter

Road race women, June 26 | Knoxville – Knoxville (114.6km) Hilly
Katie Clouse
Kaia Schmid
Lily Williams

Road race men, June 26 | Knoxville – Knoxville (186.7.6km) Hilly
Nate Brown
Robin Carpenter
Chad Haga
Colin Joyce
Ben King
Gavin Mannion
Kyle Murphy
Keegan Swirbul

How to watch
Although the time trials will not be viewable, FloBikes will carry live coverage of the men’s and women’s criteriums and road races. Coverage of the circuit races starts at 5 pm CT on June 24 with road race pictures starting on June 26 at 8 am CT. 

We will also have a team on the ground capturing all the action across our social media networks, come and say hi. 

Canada


Across the northern border, Human Powered Health will be going all-out to try and bring their fifth mens maple leaf home and in Pier-André Coté – the program’s second most successful rider of 2022 – they have a good shot at glory. 

The Quebecker will be racing both the three-lap, flat time-trial and the hilly Edmonton to Beaumont road race.

“The TT seems pretty straight forward but the weather will definitely be a factor as a lot of rain and strong wind is forecasted,” Coté said ahead of the event, noting that it will favor those who can push in the right places to take advantage of the conditions. 

Three days later Coté will join teammates Nickolas Zukowsky and Adam de Vos in the road race, which he predicts as an open race. 

If it was anything else than a national championship it would most likely be a bunch sprint,” the 25-year-old says. “With the more aggressive way nationals are usually ridden, it will probably be a reduced bunch or even a breakaway of opportunists who reach the line.”

Like many of our riders, even just the excitement to be back competing in his home country is something that motivates Coté.

“It will be great to race in Canada. I have great memories from the last time we raced nationals when Adam won the road race and we will do anything to make such a great achievement happen again for the team.”

Time-trial men, June 23 | Beaumont – Beaumont (48.5km)
Pier-André Coté

Road race men, June 26 | Edmonton – Edmonton (161.1km) Hilly
Pier-André Coté
Adam de Vos
Nickolas Zukowsky

The Netherlands


As the team’s second most represented nation, the Dutch championship stands out in the race week with four out of the five athletes competing. 

Sprinter-supreme Arvid de Kleijn will take to the famous VAM-Berg climb – quite literally a semi-cobbled climb built on a disused landfill site – in the men’s race with all three of our Dutch women competing the next day.

It looks like nothing but after a few times it feels like a mountain,” de Kleijn says. 

De Kleijn enters the race in solid sprinting form off the back of the ZLM Tour.

Nina Buijsman describes the super-competitive race as a “lottery” with the Vam-Berg being, “a difficult and hard climb, especially with wind and after more laps.”

Even so, Buijsman enters the race in good form since her 12th place in the Women’s Tour and a second-place finish on stage two of the Vuelta a Burgos Feminas and will race alongside teammates Evy Kuijpers and Marit Raaijmakers

Raaijmakers went into analytic detail about the climb that defines the parcours, one which calls a “killer.”

“When you have done your first punch effort you’re not at the top yet,” Raaijmakers explains. “The last bit is a 160m cobbled section at 15% (max24%) and then goes down for 10 seconds before a corner that reduces your speed and then another 200 meters at 12% meaning it’s a full-standing effort to make it to the top after holding on with cramping muscles on the flat part before going down to the line again.” 

With the likes of Demi Vollering, Lorena Wiebes, Lucinda Brand, Shirin van Anrooij, Floortje Chantal van de Broek-Blaak, Marianne Vos, Pauline Rooijakers etc. – the list of potential winners is almost endless (Raaijmakers describes the competition as “absolute fire”) – all competing, the women’s Dutch championship is arguably the most competitive championship of the week. 

The conditions will play just as much of a part as the parcours and the riders.

It will be hot, windy and crit style around the VAM-Berg,” Raaijmakers expects. “The peloton will reduce lap by lap. No one knows how their final sprint at the VAM-Berg will be so going solo is what almost everyone prefers. Some may have the confidence to play it cool but one thing is for sure everyone is going all out to the finish. If it’s not for the win it’s just to not roll backwards”

Kuijpers als looked super strong at the Women’s Tour

Long story short as Kuijpers puts it, “the famous garbage mountain, where you will suffer a lot and the best rider will win.”

The 2022 championship will be particularly poignant as last year’s champion – on and off the bike in every sense of the word – Amy Pieters, is continuing her rehabilitation from a life-altering crash. Stay strong Amy!

“Whoever wins is a true winner,” says Raaijmakers. “They will be the next rider to wear the red/white/blue jersey that sadly we have missed the past few months as Amy won’t be there to defend her title.”

Time-trial women, June 22 | Emmen – Emmen (29.6km)
Evy Kuijpers – 18th 40’2” 

Road race men, June 24 | Westerbork – VAM-Berg (195.3km) Hilly
Arvid de Kleijn

Road race women, June 25 | Westerbork – VAM-Berg (125.3km) Hilly
Nina Buijsman
Evy Kuijpers
Marit Raaijmakers

How to watch
NOS Sport will carry live pictures of the races.

Germany


From the Netherlands to neighboring Germany where our gold medal-winning, rainbow band wearing, time-trial specialist supreme Mieke Kröger will be gunning for her third elite road title.

“I’m curious to see how I will deal with the TT as it has been a while since my last one,” Kröger said of her form ahead of Friday’s race.

A hilly route around Marsberg, on paper, the route is not the friendliest to the German’s powerful engine. 

The course is not super suitable for me but I’ll give it a shot,” she explains. “Right from the start, we will climb almost half the elevation of the whole course so it will be interesting to see how people will pace the race,” Kröger added.

What is certain is that Kröger will have many fans lining the road as she competes in her home country for the first time this year.

Time-trial women, June 24 | Marsberg – Marsberg (27.5km)
Mieke Kröger

Road race women, June 26 | Siedlinghausen – Altastenberg – Kahler Asten (130.1km) Mountains
Mieke Kröger
How to watch 

Keep up with everything on our Twitter feed.

Kröger’s commanding breakaway on the final day of the Women’s Tour reignited her racing strength.
Great Britain


For the first time ever, Human Powered Health will have a rider taking on the UK roads at the British national championships. Matt Gibson had a setback recently due to crashing in the ZLM Tour but hopes to reignite the racing fire in Scotland as he aims for the criterium bands, a jersey he won in 2018. 

“I’ve had to shift my focus to recovery and making sure I stay healthy ahead of this week’s national championships,” Gibson explains. “This hasn’t been ideal but I still feel if things go my way, I don’t see why I can’t be in the running for a good result in both the criterium and road race.”

As his signing story explores, our latest signing has a rich history in the UK circuit race scene and has all the handling and sprinting tools in his arsenal to be regarded as a true favorite on Friday night (well afternoon, but UK night).

Criterium men, June 24 | Kirkcudbright, Scotland
Matt Gibson

Road race men, June 26 | Castle Douglas – Castle Douglas (201.5km) Hilly
Matt Gibson

How to watch
You can catch all the action from Scotland on GCN+ and the Eurosport Player as well as the British Cycling YouTube channel

Gibson can rail a UK critical better than most.
Japan


The team will also be breaking new ground in Asia as Eri Yonamine targets her twelfth elite national road title. Yonamine has completed a clean sweep on five separate occasions but will only target the road race this year as the time trial falls less than 24 hours before the event. 

The Japanese rider was honest about her condition ahead of the race.

“I was not in good condition in April and May but after good rest from race days and altitude training I feel better in June,” she explains. “I come back to Japan for the win. It’s the first nationals in three years for me because of cancellation by COVID and surgery so I’m really hungry for the jersey, but just do my best as always and have a good race to satisfy myself no matter what then the result will come hopefully,” Yonamine added.

幸運を 與那嶺恵理!

Road race women, June 25
Eri Yonamine

How to watch
Keep up with everything on our Twitter feed.

Italy


Back to Europe and Barbara Malcotti will race on a pan-flat parcours that seem tailor-made for world champion Elisa Balsamo. Even so, Malcotti is keen to make a mark having come off an intense 12-day training period with the national team in Livigno.

“The heat will greatly affect the race,” Malcotti explains. “Usually I do not suffer I prefer the heat, but I don’t know how I will react to such a rush. I don’t know what to expect, it is absolutely not an Italian championship suitable for my characteristics, I don’t know what will happen, it will be a long race, a bit unpredictable since this year they have also included the under-23 jersey, I will do my best to wear on display the colors of our jersey and all the sponsors, then we’ll see how it goes.”

Road race women, June 26 | Medolla – San Felice sul Panaro (147.5km) Flat
Barbara Malcotti

How to watch
Keep up with everything on our Twitter feed.

Norway


Finally, Human Powered Health head north for the Norwegian championships. Sadly August Jensen will not take to the start as he is recovering from COVID which means that Kristian Aasvold will tackle the hilly route in his home region. 

As he jokingly commented at the recent Tour de Suisse, “it’s going to be me against like 15 Uno-X guys.”

Road race men, June 26 | Levanger – Skogn (192km) Hilly
Kristian Aasvold

How to watch
Keep up with everything on our Twitter feed.

And breathe, you’ve got to the end of our bumper nationals preview.

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