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Men’s road race goes down to wire

Curi pulls away in women’s race, never looks back in victory

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A pack of riders makes its way along a rural road outside Kamas, Summit County, in the USCF National Road Championships Wednesday.

A pack of riders makes its way along a rural road outside Kamas, Summit County, in the USCF National Road Championships Wednesday.

Jason Olson, Deseret Morning News

PARK CITY — Carl Decker surged ahead of Ben Raby in the last quarter-mile of the elite men's road race to win the National Road Championship and Katheryn Curi won the elite women's race at the Park City Cycling Festival.

The men's race lasted just under five hours with Decker finishing with a time of 4 hours, 50 minutes, 30 seconds on the 125.6 mile course.

"It's my biggest road win, that's for sure," Decker said. "My teammates dropped back but chased me down at the end to help me. If you just put your head down then good things will happen.

Raby said he and Decker traded the lead down the stretch.

"He just got me at the end," he said, adding it was his sixth second-place finish this year.

Decker said he is actually a mountain biker by trade, so many other riders don't take him as seriously as other riders.

"This is just kind of a side project," he said. "All the other riders think mountain bikers are kind of squirrelly and unsafe in the pack. But I guess if we start winning races then they'll change their mind."

Raby, who finished just three seconds behind Decker, said the race was harder because the course was not as challenging as others.

"I was hoping it would be harder," he said. "Mentally, soft courses are very difficult. When it's not hard, your mind starts to worry about things."

The women's race finished with less drama.

Curi pulled away from the women's field with 13K to go and never looked back, leading by over a minute for most of the final stretch.

"On that first hill coming back, there was just this lull," she said. "No teams were attacking. You don't want to sacrifice too much, but you got to take risks. I knew that was my time."

Curi won with a time of 3:26:02 on the 78-mile course, 40 seconds better than second place finisher Lynn Gaggioli.

Curi's teammate, Christine Thorburn, who finished third in the time trials Tuesday, was in the closest chase group and held off many of the faster riders.

"At nationals, the strongest riders get watched by each other and they give longer leashes to girls like Katheryn," she said.

"This one is for the team," Curi said. "My team was awesome. Me and Christine — either one of us — it could have been our day."

Thorburn said Curi deserved the win after having surgery for a broken collarbone and seeing her mother die and her father suffer a heart attack — all within the last year.

"She got back some karma," Thorburn said. "She's had a really rough year."

E-mail: bhinton@desnews.com