Fort Lewis College Cycling Bound for National Championships

May 3, 2024

The USA Cycling Collegiate Road National Championships are being held in Albuquerque, New Mexico May 3rd-5th. The Fort Lewis College Skyhawks Cycling Team returns to the National Championships with defending road race National Champion Kellen Caldwell. FLC Cycling Director Ian Burnett says the Skyhawks have multiple racers who can win in both the road race and criterium. By Connor Shreve. This story is sponsored by Serious Texas BBQ and Happy Pappy’s Pizza & Wings.

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The Fort Lewis College cycling team is pedaling for more than just podiums at the USA Cycling Collegiate National Championship. You're watching the Local News Network, brought to you by Serious Texas Bar-B-Q and Happy Pappy's Pizza-n-Wings. I'm Connor Shreve. The Skyhawks return to the Collegiate Road Cycling National Championships with an eye on defending its men's road race title from last season, but in a weekend that includes a team time trial, road race, and criterium races, FLC cycling director Ian Burnett says, "The goal starts with winning the team time trial."

That's always such a hard one to tell who's going to bring what for a team. That's definitely the one you can control the most. And then the road race, I think we know how to win it. You know, we won it in the men's last year. We know kind of how the dynamic plays out a little more than we did last year, so we're excited to see how that plays out. And then the crit is, yeah, just kind of a gamble.

Burnett says the Skyhawks come into the race with a couple of riders who will be on the list of favorites.

Yeah, I think overall we have Natalie Quinn, who's one of our seniors who's joining EF Education after she's done here, so she's going to Europe and racing the big leagues after this. So I think we're excited to see how she rides. Kellen Caldwell, who's a returner, our national champion, see if he can defend that. Definitely have a couple more eyes on him this year.

All the eyes on Caldwell could open up gaps for riders like Luca Haines, who's played more of a teammate role this season, but is coming off a win at the Skyhawk Squawker Classic and a second-place finish at the Tour of the Gila.

Mentally, it's a huge confidence boost. I think especially the guy who finished third, this kid, Brody McDonald, is a, he was U23 national champ last year. He's one of the big favorites for the road race and criterium this year at Collegiate Nationals, racing for Milligan University. So just knowing that and knowing that, you know, we have, yeah, it's just a huge confidence boost being able to say, "Okay, look, I can on my day, I can beat this, I can beat this guy.

Haines says, having familiarity with the course helps between a long climb, some rollers, an uphill finish, and likely wind, there'll be plenty of opportunities to split the field.

It's the same course as last year, which is nice. It's also in Albuquerque which is at altitude, which helps us. We're the only school that goes down in elevation to race, which definitely gives us a little bit of an advantage.

Haines believes the Skyhawks have four or five riders capable of winning the Stars and Stripes, depending on how race strategy shakes out. You can follow the race action and results online. Learn more about these and other stories online at Thanks for watching this edition of The Local News Network. I'm Connor Shreve.


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