A “flatlander” from Nebraska took the men’s national title at the USA Cycling Collegiate Road National Championships, held in Grand Junction, Colorado, May 4-6.
John Borstelmann, a junior chemistry major from Lincoln, won the omnium men’s Club Division championship. The omnium title goes to the strongest overall cyclist, combining the results of the 66-mile road race and the 80-minute criterium through the downtown streets of Grand Junction.
Borstelmann placed fifth in the road race and second in the criterium. He also won five of the six intermediate sprints during the criterium, which contribute further points to riders’ rankings.
“After the brutally hilly and high-altitude 66-mile Collegiate National Championship Road Race of 101 riders that was dominated by the University of Colorado-Boulder and Colorado State University, I sat in fifth place in the omnium (over) standings,” Borstelmann said. “During Sunday’s fast and flat 80-minute Collegiate National Championship Criterium of about 100 riders, I pushed the pace from the starting gun.”
Borstelmann was the lone rider from Nebraska, so he worked to rally other racers to keep pace and ride smoothly in order to conserve energy.
“Breakaway groups only succeed if everyone works together, even though the riders are almost always from different teams,” he said. “Fortunately, Sunday’s breakaway worked to my advantage and I pulled off a huge win.”
Official commentators at the race were surprised that Borstelmann, who they described as flatlander, bested the altitude-adjusted riders of Colorado universities and others with his combination of tactical guile and sheer strength.
Borstelmann is a member of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Cycling Club. He said the club has a goal of qualifying more riders for next year’s Nationals, including James Krist, a sophomore and former mountain bike state champion, and Kaleb Ethington, the club’s co-president.
“The support the cycling club team received from the University of Nebraska this year was crucial to my success at the USA Cycling Collegiate Road National Championships,” Borstelmann said. “I will be proud to represent our country and the University of Nebraska as this year’s club division men’s Collegiate Road Cycling Individual Omnium National Champion.”
Borstelmann also said the Cycling Club is always looking for new members. To join, interested students can send a direct message to the club via the club’s Facebook page.
“Cycling is an inclusive, exciting sport that is very accessible at the entry level, especially in college, so to all students, we ask that you consider joining our team,” he said.