Cycling team prepares for road national championships

BREVARD, N.C. – The Brevard cycling team will begin its quest for its first-ever road national championship on Friday in nearby Marshall as the Tornados compete in the USA Cycling Collegiate Road National Championships.


The Brevard program has found great success in recent years, winning its third consecutive cyclocross title in January and taking its fifth mountain bike championship in the last six years in October. 2014-2015 marks the third straight season in which the Tornados have won two national titles, and Brevard has become synonymous with cycling excellence throughout the collegiate ranks.


But the road title has proven elusive to the Tornados. Brevard had never finished higher than 17th before the 2013 season, when the Tornados came in third behind MIT and Colorado Mesa. Last season, Brevard surged into second place behind individual omnium and road race titles from Allison Arensman.


Strong performances from Arensman and newcomer Janelle Cole have the Tornados entering the event with a sense of optimism. Arensman snagged a win in the criterium at the Southeastern Collegiate Cycling Conference championships three weeks ago in the team’s last competition, with Cole topping the podium in the road race. The duo also teamed up with Nicole Miranda to place second in the team time trial.


This weekend’s competitions will occur within easy driving distance of Brevard for the first time. The 49-mile women’s road race begins at 8:15 a.m. on Friday with the 73.5-mile men’s road race to follow at 12:15 p.m. Both events follow a 24.5-mile course that begins in Marshall, snakes down mountain roads near the town of Alexander, and follows the French Broad River back to the starting point.


Saturday’s criterium events will take place on a course laid out through downtown Asheville. The women will race for 50 minutes plus three additional laps beginning at 11:00 a.m., with the men racing for 70 minutes plus three laps at 1:30 p.m. The competition ends on Sunday with time trials beginning at 8:30 a.m. The course begins in Marshall and follows the second half of Friday’s road race route, which primarily runs down NC Highway 251.


The awards ceremony, where the Tornados hope to be crowned road national champions for the first time, will occur at approximately 4:00 p.m. on Sunday in Marshall.

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