Jade Wilcoxson wins women's road race - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Jade Wilcoxson wins women's road race

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -

Jade Wilcoxson was crowned the 2013 U.S. Road Pro National Champion Monday after a grueling 63.5 mile race.

Last year's men's U.S. Road Pro National Champion Timmy Duggan spoke earlier this week about the significance of this race.

He said no matter what sport you're talking about, if you tell someone you're a national champion, they know the work you put in. He said it truly is a career defining race, and riders have certainly raced like that through out the day.

First up early Monday morning were the women -- unlike the men they only had two trips up Lookout Mountain - but those two were more than enough.

"I'm a pretty good mountain critic. It was a good hill; it was steep and had two pitches so you could play with it a little. Since 2007 we haven't had a climb like that at nationals," says Mara Abbott.

Abbott was named Queen of the Mountain, and if it wasn't for a blown tire with less than two laps to race, she may have taken gold. Abbott had the lead but the botched tire change forced her to wait for a new bike.

"Bike racing is like life, stuff happens and you can't control it. You look back and say 'Wow, I raced a good race. I've raced for a while and I've had a lot of success and that's the first time something like that has happened to me," says Abbott.

Abbot's misfortune opened the door for Optum teammates Jade Wilcoxson and Lauren Hall. Wilcoxson made a move on then leader Kristin McGrath.

"I just drilled it as hard as I could and tried not to look back," says Wilcoxson.

Once in a commanding lead, Hall followed behind.

One, two went the teammates across the finish line. Wilcoxson won her first national championship in just her second pro season.

"I'm absolutely shocked; this is just a testament to Optum pro cycling and the team as a whole. The entire team today everybody did their job," says Wilcoxson.

"These moments they're so far and few in between. So I really enjoyed it," says Hall.

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