On Sunday 18 July USA Cycling and the Colnago Gran Fondo National Series held the USA Gran Fondo National Championship in Asheville, North Carolina. 200 amateur cyclists lined up at the start including 2019 USA Masters National Champion Michael Olheiser (Monster Racing), multiple State Champion Brendan Housler (EVOQ.BIKE), “always on the podium” Aaron Boyleston (Davis Phinney Foundation) and Katie Aman (3T/Q&M), who just rode in her first USA Women’s Pro Road Championship in June.
After racing across four timed segments on a 100 mile gran fondo route in the Blue Ridge Mountains, North Carolina resident and pro cyclist Sean Gardner won the overall Men’s USA National Gran Fondo title by completing the segments in a total time of 1:08:00. His victory was not a surprise, in 2020 Gardner was the first cyclist in the world to Everest in less than seven hours (6:59:38).
48 year-old former pro rider Amy Phillips from Chattanooga, Tennessee defeated a talented Women’s field, including professionals half her age, to earned the Women’s USA National Gran Fondo title with a time of 1:16:06.
Cyclists from southern states dominated the results with Virginian Rachel Jordan (1:16:27) winning the W23-34 age category and Beth Leasure-Hudson (1:28:18) from West Virginia earning victory in the W55-64 race. Local North Carolina riders Liam Flanagan (1:09:35) and Brendan Housler (1:09:46) each won their respective categories, MU23 and M35-44. Kentuckian Brian Schworm (1:10:21) was fastest in the M45-54 category and Atlanta, Georgia cyclist Brendan Sullivan (1:12:15) earned the M55-64 gran fondo national title.
The oldest competitor, 79 year-old S. Durward Higgins (1:37:52) from Tennessee, earned his USA Cycling Gran Fondo National Champion jersey by defeating fellow septuagenarian Whitney Fanning of Dallas, Texas.
800 additional amateur cyclists participated in Gran Fondo Asheville, a non-national championship amateur race that took place at the same time on the same route.
Find complete Gran Fondo Asheville / USA Gran Fondo National Championship results HERE.
PHOTOS: Gran Fondo National Series, WLOS