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U.S. Team Falls Short in 80-Mile Cycling Event at Military World Games

Oct. 24, 2019 | BY Joe Lacdan

After nearly three hours of twists and turns, members of the Armed Forces Sports men's cycling team fell short of victory during the 7th CISM Military World Games individual road race.

Bicyclists turn a corner during an 80-mile race.
Road Race
The peloton turns a corner on the shore of East Lake during the men’s cycling road race of the 2019 CISM Military World Games in Wuhan, China, Oct. 21, 2019. More than 100 teams are competing in 32 sports.
Photo By: EJ Hersom, DOD
VIRIN: 191021-D-DB155-011

Six members of the men's cycling team from the Air Force, Army and Marine Corps took part in an arduous 127.6-kilometer road race in Wuhan, China.

"I think we did a good job executing the plan. Our goal was to keep the sprinters in position and rested as best as possible," said Air Force Capt. Stefan Zavislan. "There are a lot of different teams that have a lot of firepower here, so we tried our best to cover their moves and stay out of trouble."

Fast. Technical. Twisted. That's how most U.S. cyclists described the course, with the entire team finishing the race at roughly 2 hours and 45 minutes.

Framed by trees on the roadside, bicyclists compete in an 80-mile race.
Fast Turn
Army Capt. Alexander Driscoll of the U.S. armed forces men’s cycling team rides in the center of a peloton on the shores of East Lake during the men’s cycling road race of the 2019 CISM Military World Games in Wuhan, China Oct. 21, 2019.
Photo By: EJ Hersom, DOD
VIRIN: 191021-D-DB155-001

"For these guys, this is the highest level you can achieve while in the military, so this is our pinnacle event and everyone performed great today," said Army Reserve Capt. Jose Solis, the U.S. men and women's cycling coach. 

The first U.S. cyclist to cross the finish line was Air Force Maj. Ian Holt, who finished three seconds after German cyclist Patrick Haller, placing 11th out of 102 participants.

"We had one rider, Major Holt, who was in the break, which barely survived," Zavislan said. "At 80 miles, it's certainly not short, and with all of the bumping and banging, the result that really matters is the top finish from the team."

Next across the finish line for the United States was Marine Corps Capt. Ryan Buerman, with a time of 2:42:53.

Closely packed bicyclists compete in an 80-mile race.
Cycling Crew
Air Force Capt. Stefan Zavislan of the U.S. armed forces men’s cycling team, front, and Marine Corps Capt. Ryan Buerman race on the shores of East Lake during the men’s cycling road race of the 2019 CISM Military World Games in Wuhan, China Oct. 21, 2019.
Photo By: EJ Hersom, DOD
VIRIN: 191021-D-DB155-004

Rounding out the six-man cycling squad were Army Capt. Alexander Driscoll, Air Force 1st Lt. Tristan Manderfeld and  Air Force Capt. John ShalekBriski.

The United States took seventh place in the team competition out of 22 international teams. Latvia won the team gold, Germany took silver and France won the team bronze. German cyclist Patrick Haller finished at 2:42:45 and took gold, Latvia cyclist Andris Vosekalns took silver with a time of 2:42:47 and France cyclist Alexis Bodiot took bronze in the individual competition with a time of 2:42:48.

(Joe Lacdan is assigned to Army News Service.)