A week after crushing the Hot Doggett 100 course, Matt Willing continues to show good form on the road. Matt’s background is in cross country running and cyclocross, and he has relatively little road racing experience, thus he’s had to start at the bottom with the category 5 group. During last weekend’s French Broad Cycling Classic, hosted by MHC Cycling supporter Asheville Bicycle Racing Club, Matt had the opportunity to tackle his first road omnium. In the flat/fast 20k TT, Matt completed the course in 5th place against a rather large category 5 field, albeit without any aero equipment. The next day’s 40-mile RR with 6,000+ feet of climbing better suited his skills and equipment. Despite a field of nearly 50 riders, Matt could find little assistance at the front of the field. At the mountain top finish, Matt realized that his early efforts cost him too much energy and he had to settle for 4th, but not more than 20 seconds back at the end of the final 7k climb. Having learned a valuable tactical lesson, Matt was motivated for the last stage of the omnium, a 30 minute criterium. Matt maintained his position in the top five for the entire race, rarely putting his nose in the wind on the rolling course. With one lap to go, Matt attacked at the base of the stair step climb and immediately distanced the field, riding alone to victory. After all the weekend’s points were tallied, Matt claimed first place in the omnium. Matt has now won 3 of his first 5 USAC events and is poised to climb up through the categories at a rapid rate.
Matt Willing wins Criterium and Omnium at French Broad Cycling Classic22 07 2009