Kaden Hopkins endured a difficult outing at the USA Cycling Collegiate Road National Championships.
The 19-year-old was part of the Fort Lewis College team chasing a 25th national championship at the event in Augusta, Georgia, which consisted of team time-trial on Friday, followed by a road race on Saturday and criterium race on Sunday.
Hopkins headed into the championships in high spirits, having clinched his first victories at the collegiate level as a freshman just last month, however, his weekend took a turn for the worse during the road race on Saturday. Placed strongly in a discipline which suits his strengths, Hopkins was in a great position and looking comfortable among a big field as they prepared on a steep climb before the finishing straight.
As the field proceeded on to the descent at the end of lap three, a rider came on Hopkins’s inside from behind and hooked his handlebar causing him and others to crash.
The result of the unfortunate crash was a broken front wheel, damaged gears and a great deal of road rash and bruising to his body, which required medical treatment, ending his day on the road.
Despite still suffering with soreness from the previous day’s crash, incredibly Hopkins opted to race in the criterium on Sunday despite the less than ideal rainy conditions over the 0.8 of a mile loop course with tight right turns.
Hopkins managed to get himself into the lead break of about 15 or so riders of the 65 rider field, but following multiple crashes in front of him, he took the decision to ease up and ride more cautiously, eventually crossing the line in 37th position overall.
In an other wise difficult weekend for Hopkins, there was a positive to take away as his Fort Lewis team-mate James Hillier managed to make a break for the line to clinch a sprint finish victory.