CU Denver cyclist Lauren De Crescenzo

University of Colorado Denver cyclists dominated the podiums at the 2018 USA National Championships earlier this month in Grand Junction.

CU Denver cyclists
CU Denver cyclists Lauren De Crescenzo, left, and Manuela Escobar each collected several medals at the USA National Championships.

Cyrus Pearo claimed the individual time trial, clocking the top finish for both divisions (club and varsity) and setting a course record. Last year, Pearo, as the lone CU Denver rider at nationals, won the club road race.

Meanwhile, the two Lynx female cyclists who qualified for the 2018 nationals – Lauren De Crescenzo and Manuela Escobar – pedaled to strong finishes in each event over the weekend: road race, time trial and criterium. The additions of Escobar and De Crescenzo made the Lynx cycling squad a strong contender for podiums, in both male and female divisions, at this year’s nationals. Here’s how they finished:

  • Road race (50 miles): De Crescenzo, third; Escobar, sixth.
  • Individual time trial (14.78 miles): De Crescenzo, fourth; Escobar, fifth.
  • Criterium: Escobar, fourth; De Crescenzo, fifth.
  • Individual omnium (combined points in road and criterium races): De Crescenzo, third; Escobar, fourth.

After the road race, which saw De Crescenzo lead for the last seven miles, until two CU Boulder riders passed her with just a mile left, CU Denver coach Michael Carter praised his cyclists: “Manuela is only a freshman and she almost ended up on the podium (in the club women’s road race),” he said. “Lauren has another year. She’s really just getting back into racing. She had a horrific crash (before joining the CU Denver team) and is just coming back from that. It’s exciting to see how well she’s doing in such a short time.”

Pearo’s collegiate career finale covered a lot of emotional ground. He was frustrated by the road race, thanks mainly to a six-rider contingent of CU Boulder cyclists who kept the defending national champion boxed in during the 106-kilometer (66-mile) race. “I had one or two of them following me like a shadow the whole race,” said Pearo, who finished 10th, narrowly edging out a CU Buff at the finish. The Buffaloes cyclists placed first, second, fourth, eighth, 11th and 15th.

CU Denver cyclist Cyrus Pearo racing
CU Denver cyclist Cyrus Pearo rides to a first-place finish and course record in the individual time trial at the 2018 USA National Championships. Photo by Kit Hinders.

Pearo, who this spring finished his master’s in finance in the Business School, needed to wait only a day to stand atop the podium. He bested the field – both club and varsity – in the individual time trial held in De Beque, about 15 miles east of his hometown of Grand Junction. He covered the 23.8-kilometer (14.78-mile) course in a blazing 32:38.02; the next-highest finisher was a varsity rider from King University, who posted a time of 32:44.90.

Escobar, who hails from Colombia, said she enjoyed her first season as a CU Denver cyclist and already can’t wait until next year: “I can’t believe the collegiate season is over,” she said. “I’m ready for next year’s season!”

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