Matthew Busche, a Wauwatosa native, out-sprinted Tour de France veteran George Hincapie and two other riders to win the USA Cycling Pro Road Race National Championship in Greenville, S.C.
Two years ago, Busche battled Hincapie to the line in the national championship road race, but finished fifth in what was then a breakout performance.
He got his payback and a national championship on Monday, racing away from the pack in a four-man break that included Hincapie (BMC Racing Team), Ted King (Liquigas-Cannondale) and Tejay Van Garderen (HTC-Highroad). At the line, Busche edged his wheel ahead of Hincapie, the home town favorite, and two-time national road race champion.
The new victor told CyclingNews: "You never really want to have it come down to a sprint with Hincapie. That's why I had to be aggressive out of the last corner. Hincapie came flying by and I caught his wheel. I mustered up enough energy right at the end to throw the bike to the line."
On a day with temperatures topping 90, the national championship turned into a race of attrition. More than half the field abandoned the 115-mile race, which included laps up and over Paris Mountain.
Busche followed Van Garderen on the fourth and final climb up the mountain and secured himself in the group that raced for the victory over the last 10 miles.
"No game plan, Busche said in a telephone interview. "I was just trying to stay in good position and see what the guys were doing and not do too much work.
"Obviously, George was the heavy-hitter. I was definitely watching him, but Ted and TeJay are good riders too."
Busche, 26, graduated from Wauwatosa West High School in 2003 and ran cross-country and track at Luther College in Iowa. He switched to cycling after his sophomore year and has sprinted into the upper echelon of the sport.
His victory for Team RadioShack follows a strong outing in the Amgen Tour of California. Busche helped his teammate, Chris Horner, win the multi-stage race that finished last weekend.
While appreciative of his early success, Busche called the win on Memorial Day "career-changing and life-changing.
"It just gives you notoriety," Busche said. "It's the biggest result I've had."