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Davis, California

Friday, March 1, 2024

UC Davis Cycling Club races past the competition

It’s no secret that Davis is a bike-friendly town.

So it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that the UC Davis Club Cycling team captured wins in both the men’s and women’s team time trial events to take home the National Collegiate Cycling Association Division I team title at the USA Collegiate Road National Championships in Fort Collins, Colo. on May 10.

It was UC Davis’ fourth national championship. It also won the event in 1994, 2001 and 2006.

“I believe this was possibly the strongest team we have ever fielded,” said coach Judd Van Sickle.

The national championships consist of three events beginning with a road race – a 50-plus mile course where riders have to endure hills and intense wind conditions.

An event called the criterium follows. This is a race that involves completing as many laps as possible in a given time period over a short course.

The weekend culminated with the team time trial, which pits four top cyclists against the clock. The lowest overall time wins.

“UC Davis has an excellent reputation as one of the best cycling programs in the nation,” said rider Lisa Auchincloss. “We have one of the largest teams with a huge amount of talent in all fields. Winning the title was a realistic goal from the get-go.”

UC Davis lived up to its status as a cycling powerhouse, taking first in men’s team time trial with a time of 35:17:41. The men’s squad was comprised of Paul Mach, Phillip Mooney, Will Riffelmacher and Adam Switters.

The Aggies also took first in the women’s team time trial with a time of 41:30:2. The team consisted of Auchincloss, Amy Chandos, Larissa Fitchett and Danielle Haulman.

Dealing with difficult weather conditions, both the men’s and women’s teams recorded decisive victories in this event, helping UC Davis accumulate a composite score of 410 points to win the overall title.

“We came out and practiced this event every week and we’re never satisfied with our performance,” said Fitchett. “It took all season to get it right and we were able to make it come together when it counted.”

“[This] really shows our strength and focus in the team time trial discipline,” said Van Sickle.

In addition to the eight time trial riders, four other Aggies qualified for individual events at nationals.

Daniel Stuart finished 60th overall in the men’s road race and Nils Johnson came in at 41st in the men’s criterium. Johnson also finished 28th in the road race.

On the women’s side, Allison Oliver finished 20th in the criterium and Emily Foxman competed in the road race.

This run to a title was a long journey for the UC Davis squad. Training began in October and the season ran through late April.

The competitive races, held in locations throughout California and Nevada, began in early February.

All of this led up to the Western Collegiate Cycling Conference Championship during the last weekend of April.

This year, host UC Davis qualified as a team by winning the league title.

Two weeks later, the top riders made the journey to nationals where they realized their dream of a national championship.

This accomplishment did not come without its fair share of work, however, as riders on the squad put many hours of training in each week.

“Men’s and women’s ‘A’ riders will ride between 14 and 25 hours a week, depending on their particular level and goals,” said Van Sickle. “It is a major commitment and life-defining endeavor.”

Despite UC Davis stealing the show, over 40 schools were represented at nationals this year.

The Aggies were able to hold off defending Division I champion Less-McRae College, which finished second overall with a composite score of 383.

Host Colorado State was the runner-up in the men’s team time trial with a time of 36:42:98. Stanford finished 1:20 behind UC Davis in the women’s team time trial.


MAX ROSENBLUM can be reached at sports@theaggie.org.


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