2016 in Review: UofL Cycling 12th in MWCCC Road Season

The 2016 Mid West Collegiate Cycling Conference road season was historic in some ways. It saw the addition of a new event, inclement weather and was the final season with divisional rankings that mixed varsity and club teams alike.  At the conclusion of the Conference Championships hosted by Purdue University, UofL cycling finished 12th of 16 teams in Div. I.

The third road season for the Cardinals featured a modest haul of results, but a key shift in participation from previous years. Four women raced for UofL and two men raced in the A category, the highest participation figures since the team’s founding. The team saw contributions from ten different athletes in four different categories, once again the most diverse group since the team’s founding.

Another point of growth for UofL Cycling is the Cardinal Criterium, the first race ever hosted by a cycling club out of the University of Louisville.

Relive each of the Cardinals’ races in the 2016 MWCCC road season:

Cardinal Criterium– March 12

The first-ever race hosted by the University of Louisville was held at Long Run Park. The race, a successful first event, drew some of the largest collegiate fields of the season.

John Francisco led the Cardinals in his only appearance of the season, finishing 12th in the Men’s A race. Ben King came in 33rd to begin his season-long ascent in the conference.

Rikus Van Zyl finished 6th in the men’s C while Evan Cruson finished 16th.

In the Men’s D, triathlon crossovers Nick Reader and Erik Seibt finished 13th and 22nd while Greg Lewis finished 52nd.

Representing UofL in the Women’s B/C field were Emma Coakley in 24th, Irina Miralda in 26th and Caroline DuPlessis, who after a mechanical was unable to finish.

Lindsey Wilson College Road RaceMarch 19 & 20

In the Women’s B race, Caroline DuPlessis and Kelsey Voit crossed the line together in 18th and 19th after completing the 25-mile wind swept course.

In the Men’s C, Rikus Van Zyl cleaned up a group sprint for 5th after a four man break attacked on the final climb. Jacob Holtgrewe ushered Van Zyl up the climb and settled in for 19th while Abner Miralda finished 26th.

Michigan State Strade Marrone & University of Michigan Criterium – April 2 & 3

A race weekend for tough athletes, it featured dirt roads, and sub-freezing temperatures accompanied by snow and sleet.

In the Individual Time Trials, Abner Miralda earned 4th place in the Men’s C category while Greg Lewis finished 7th in the Men’s D event.

The road race saw Miralda finish 12th and Lewis 28th in their respective categories.

Lewis went on to finish 21st in the D criterium while Miralda earned 9th in the Men’s C.

Notre Dame Cycling Classic – April 9 & 10

Cancelled due to heavy snow!

Lindenwood Road Extravaganza – April 16 & 17

The hilliest parcours in the MWCCC saw Ben King rise to 18th in the Men’s A race while Rikus Van Zyl rode to 7th in the Men’s C, followed by Jacob Holtgrewe in 13th.

The downtown criterium in St. Charles, MO featured a sharp turn with a long stretch of cobbles. King finished 17th in the A’s while Van Zyl raced to 9th and Holtgrewe to 25th in the Men’s C.

Purdue MWCCC Championships – April 23 & 24

In the Men’s D road race Greg Lewis finished 33rd while Rikus Van Zyl earned his best placement of the year with 4th place in the C’s. Kelsey Voit anchored the women with an 11th place in the B’s. Ben King finished 16th in the Men A’s.

In the criterium Ben King finished 32nd.

Hind sight is 20/20 and although the Cardinals failed to best 2015’s 6th place finish in Div. I with a 12th place finish, the group’s progress in diversifying and growing is promising as USA Cycling has split collegiate cycling from its past of school-size sanctioning. Starting in mid 2016, USAC moved to Varsity and Club divisions stacking up similarly resourced teams against one another.

The new alignment helps club programs, like the University of Louisville Student Cycling Coalition, stand on their own and out of the shadow of larger, better funded varsity programs.

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Francisco Elected President, SCC Election Results 

The student members of the Student Cycling Coalition cast their ballots on Nov. 30 to elect the organization’s student leaders for the 2017 calendar year. Headlining the results is the selection of engineering student John Francisco as president.

Francisco brings years of experience to the leadership of the Student Cycling Coalition. A three year member of the organization, he has experienced and contributed to the growth of the organization. He has extensive knowledge of the cycling industry both from a retail and experience standpoint, having worked with the SCC’s partner bicycle shop VO2 Multisport and his racing in national and international events as a junior.

“I am looking forward to the challenge of leading the team,” said Francisco. “I will work to continue to grow and improve it.”

The former president, Jacob Holtgrewe, was elected to the recruitment position. During his tenure as president in 2016 the team grew it’s non-racing activity extensively and developed a strong mountain bike program.

Studio art student Nick Reader was retained as Triathlon Coordinator and will be joined by pre-med/biology student Chris Nupp as co-coordinator.

After organizing the mountain bike team to its best-ever season, Kalem Fetters will take the reigns as the Cycling Coordinator.

Elijah Eisert, a political science major, was elected secretary of the organization. He will manage both internal and external communication of the organization.

Engineering student Greg Lewis was elected controller and will manage the budget of the Student Cycling Coalition.

The uniform and merchandise coordinator will be Charlie Hamilton.

The new officers will begin their terms on January 1st, 2017.

UofL Cycling and Triathlon competes simultaneously in 3 cities, earns 3 wins.

By Abner Miralda

Louisville, Ky. — UofL Cycling and UofL Triathlon have historic weekend, earning three wins, two podiums, and two top-10 finishes simultaneously. Mark Renn earned wins in the Down Hill and Four-Cross disciplines in St. Louis, Mo. while Rikus Van Zyl rode to the top spot in a cyclocross race in Cincinnati, Oh. UofL Triathlon earned two top-10 finishes in Dayton, Oh.

Mark Renn opened up the MWCCC collegiate mountain bike season with dominating wins in the B class downhill and dual slalom events hosted by Lindenwood University. Renn’s downhill time of 2:52 would have placed him in 4th in the A class, a handful of seconds outside the podium. Renn is trying to become the first Cardinal to qualify and compete in the USA Cycling collegiate MTB nationals. To see the full MTB results, click Here.

In Dayton, UofL Triathlon competed in the University of Dayton Sprint Triathlon. Mike Baird led the Cardinals with a 4th place finish, gaining time on his opponents with the fastest transitions in the top-5 finishers. Newly added athlete Nick Reader sprung ahead into 6th place overall with the second-fastest run of the day, averaging 5:29/mile. Emma Coakley continues to outswim the competition, finishing the first leg 1st in the women and 4th overall. She went on to finish 10th in the women’s field. Evan Cruson and Sam Dugan finished their first triathlons for UofL Triathlon 24th and 29th respectively with breakthrough bike legs. To see full Triathlon results, click Here.

The UofL Cycling cyclocross initiative hit the season opener in Cincinnati successfully with Rikus Van Zyl winning the Cat 5 race while Jacob Holtgrewe rounded out the podium in 3rd. John Francisco finished 3rd in the Elite/1/2 race while equipment troubles dropped Ben King to 49th in the same race.  To see the full results of Harbin Park, click Here.

This is the first time the SCC has been split into three races in three disciplines.

UofL Cycling and Triathlon are supported by Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers

Members of UofL Triathlon after finishing the Dayton Sprint Triathlon.
Members of UofL Triathlon after finishing the Dayton Sprint Triathlon.
Rikus Van Zyl rides through sand in Harbin Park.
Rikus Van Zyl rides through sand in Harbin Park.
Mark Renn in his jersey.
Mark Renn