Last-lap pass gives Cole criterium national title

ASHEVILLE, N.C. – A last-lap pass gave Janelle Cole the national championship in the criterium event on a grueling course through downtown Asheville at the USA Cycling Collegiate Road Nationals on Saturday.

A six-rider breakaway was trimmed to four in the final third of the race. Cole battled with riders from Milligan, UT-Dallas, and Penn State-Lehigh Valley over the final circuits and was in third as the final lap began. She positioned herself for an uphill sprint to the finish on the final straightaway and edged out the rider from Milligan for a dramatic come-from-behind victory.

“Thanks to an awesome attack leadout from Allison [Arensman], I was able to have my ideal small field sprint,” Cole said after picking up her first career individual national title. “Sometimes in races as grueling as that one, the only thing that keeps you going is the support from the sides. It was absolutely incredible to have my best friends and teammates, and even their families, there cheering me on.”

Arensman was with the lead pack for much of the race before the four-rider breakaway. She and a rider from Furman battled each other for the final several laps before Arensman overtook her near the finish line, making Brevard the only school to place two riders inside the top five. On the men’s side, Nick Jowsey endured a difficult course to give the Tornados a top-ten finish.

Brevard will attempt to win its first-ever road national title and third overall national championship this season on Sunday. The team time trial event, which starts and ends in Marshall and follows a 12.4-mile course along the French Broad River, begins at 8:30 a.m. with the Division II men. Individual time trials begin at approximately 1:30 p.m. with the awards ceremony to follow.

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