By Jared Eborn
Wearing the Stars and Stripes that comes with being the national champion is nothing new to guys like Dave Zabriskie (Garmin-Cervélo).
But for Tayler Wiles and Rob Squire, it’s a habit they’d love to get into.
While Zabriskie slipped into the familiar Stars and Stripes as the U.S. time trial champion for the sixth time beating Tom Zirbel by 31 seconds in South Carolina, Wiles and Squire showed the Beehive State is anything but done producing national champions.
Wiles, riding for the Peanut Butter & Co. TWENTY 12 professional team, covered the 30 kilometer course in Augusta, Georgia to win the U23 national championship and earn her first Stars and Stripes jersey.
“This national title means a great deal to me, this time trial has been one of my biggest goals all year and with the incredible support of my team, our sponsors, my family and my coach I was able to make it happen,” Wiles said. “I'm very excited and grateful to all the people who helped me pull on the stars and stripes.”
Wiles’ time of 43 minutes, 6.7 seconds was a whopping 43 seconds faster than that of second-place finisher Jerika Hutchinson from California. Wiles, a 22-year-old Murray High graduate, has made serious strides in recent years and has podium showings in race at the Tour of the Gila and the Mount Hamilton Classic Road Race.
While Wiles’ national championship was her first, Squire has seen the top of the podium before – but as a mountain biker in the junior ranks.
His victory in the U23 road race removed what little doubt anyone had about his successful transition from dirt to pavement. The Sandy product races for Garmin-Cervelo’s Chipotle Development team and is fast becoming one of the best all-around racers on the team’s roster.
After sizing up the field for much of the race in Georgia, Squire and teammate Jacob Rathe attacked and found themselves alone off the front when the rest of the field failed to counter on the final lap. Squire and Rathe crossed the finish line together with Squire taking the victory, almost three minutes ahead of the chasing peloton.
“I usually do pretty well in the heat,” Squire said. “I was hoping for it to be hot. I got the heat so we brought the pace.”
It was a pace the others simply couldn’t match. Utah’s Chase Pinkham (Bissell) finished seventh while Tanner Putt (Team Type 1) finished 15th. Salt Lake’s Connor O’Leary (RaceLab) showed his recovery from cancer is progressing well finished with the main group in 48th place.
Pinkham also finished 11th in the U23 time trial while Squire checked in at 15th.
Those results were good, but Pinkham showed his form was in great shape a few weeks earlier when he competed in the U.S. Pro championships and produced a pair of top 10 finishes. The Salt Lake City native finished ninth in the time trial and 10th in the road race behind most of the biggest names in American professional cycling.
Matt Bradley, less than a year after cancer claimed his lower leg to amputation (see cycling utah’s June 2011 issue for a profile), placed second in the paracycling time trial, third in the criterium and fourth in the road race.