CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) — Matt Busche and Megan Guarnier each won their second road national championship Monday, and earned a spot on the U.S. team for the world championships in Virginia this September.
Busche, riding for Trek Factory Racing, held off Joe Dombrowski of Cannondale-Garmin in a dramatic duel through the rain to the finish line. Kiel Reijnen of UnitedHealthcare finished third, recovering from a flat tire near the end of the race to claim bronze.
Busche won his first national championship in 2011.
In the women’s race, Guarnier took advantage of a strong pace set by Boels Dolmans teammate Evie Stevens near the end of the downtown finishing circuits. She then outsprint Coryn Rivera of UnitedHealthcare with Tayler Wiles of Velocio-SRAM finishing in third.
Guarnier also won the title in 2012. She finished second last year.
For both champions, their victories carry a little more weight than their previous opportunity to wear the stars-and-stripes jersey. The world championships are coming to U.S. soil for the first time since 1986, which means Busche and Guarnier will have the rare opportunity to represent their country on home soil.
The same goes for Andrew Talansky and two-time Olympic gold medalist Kristin Armstrong, who won the men’s and women’s national time trial on Saturday.
Rain began to fall during Sunday’s road race, when Talansky attacked on the climb up Lookout Mountain in an attempt to shatter the peloton. The result of the frenetic pace set by the main field to reel in the breakaway left many of the top sprinters behind, and formed a small group to contest the finish.
Eventually, only Busche and Dombrowski were left at the front, and they battled the final couple of miles before the former champion pulled ahead at the line.
Reijnen managed to out-sprint Dombrowski’s teammate Alex Howes for third.
The women’s race became just as frantic when Stevens attacked with about five miles left in the race. She was eventually reeled in by the chasing group, but the attack helped to set up Guarnier for a sprint finish among four riders.
Guarnier managed to edge Rivera, one of the nation’s top sprinters, at the finish line. Wiles held off Amber Neben to round out the podium.