Kyle Murphy surged to an emphatic victory to claim the US Pro Road national title in Knoxville, TN and retain the Stars and Stripes for the Human Powered Health men’s team. Murphy attacked in the race’s closing stages to cap off a dominant display, which saw the team make perfect use of their numbers inside the finale of the exciting race.
“I wouldn’t want to race against us today,” Murphy remarked after pulling on the jersey. “We were unstoppable, one of us was for sure going to win.”
The bronze medalist in 2021, Murphy attacked 3-kilometers out from the line to solo to a memorable victory.
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Having lined up in Downtown Knoxville with eight riders, Human Powered Health quickly made the numbers count by dominating the early stages of the race. This included placing Gavin Mannion and Ben King in the largest of the day’s breakaways to nullify the effect of the WorldTour athletes’ power on the formidable Sherrod Road climb and give the non-attackers a free ride of sorts.
“The team was amazing,” Murphy said of the efforts “It was really important for us to race aggressively on the less attritional parts of the course because it was classic American highway racing, so it was super important to put guys in moves, shut things down and we were just on everything.”
With the breakaway reeled back in on the final lap and the likes of Magnus Sheffield (INEOS Grenadiers), Sean Quinn (EF Education-EasyPost), Lawson Craddock (Team BikeExchange-Jayco) and criterium champion Luke Lamperti (Trinity Racing) all eyeing a throwdown, the team had to turn up the aggression.
“We had numbers as the end, and we used them,” Murphy says of the tactics. A flurry of attacks from Mannion, King, Robin Carpenter and Keegan Swirbul, softened up the elite group, providing the perfect springboard for the Californian Murphy to make the winning move.
For Murphy and the team, there was extra motivation on the final ascent of Sherrod Road, the absence of 2021 champion and teammate Joey Rosskopf.
“The last lap up the climb I got on the radio and told the boys let’s do it for Joey,” Murphy says. “He wasn’t here to be able to defend his title and the way he was riding it was entirely possible that he would have come away with the second jersey, so it feels really good to be able to do that for him.”
Speaking on the FloBikes coverage after the finish with son Nico in tow, Murphy explained that the team upheld the “winning tradition” of taking a swim in the Knoxville Quarry on the eve of the race. These moments of team bonding are what make the result so special.
“I’m just so proud to be part of this team and to have guys who are willing to dig this deep to make the victory possible, it was amazing,” Murphy concluded.
Performance Manager Jonas Carney and team director on the day Clark Sheehan have now presided over two victories in a row for the men’s program.
Speaking afterwards, Carney said, “I’m super proud of the way our team rode today. The guys really raced like a team and executed our strategy.
“I’m just really happy for Kyle. Last year he sacrificed and was the reason we won. It’s so cool to see him get the win this year,” Carney added.
An amazing result for the entire Human Powered Health family, Murphy and the squad will now take a well-earned vacation before returning for the second half of their European cycling season and the Maryland Cycling Classic p/b UnitedHealthcare Group in September.
Photos from Casey Gibson
US Pro Road National Championships Results
1 MURPHY Kyle – Human Powered Health 4:27:48
2 STITES Tyler – Project Echelon Racing 0:03
3 SHEFFIELD Magnus – INEOS Grenadiers ”
4 KING Ben – Human Powered Health 0:05
5 LAMPERTI Luke – Trinity Racing ”
6 ROSS Kent – Wildlife Generation Pro Cycling ”
7 QUINN Sean – EF Education-EasyPost ”
8 GULLICKSON Finn – CR4C Roanne ”
9 BROWN Jonathan – Miami Blazers ”
10 SWIRBUL Keegan – Human Powered Health ”
15 CARPENTER Robin – Human Powered Health 0:26
17 HAGA Chad – Human Powered Health 1:14
18 MANNION Gavin – Human Powered Health 1:16
27 BROWN Nathan – Human Powered Health 7:17
37 JOYCE Colin – Human Powered Health 11:16