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MIT cyclists win Division II national championship

MIT Cycling's national champions celebrate in stars and stripes atop a hard-earned winner's podium.
MIT Cycling's national champions celebrate in stars and stripes atop a hard-earned winner's podium.
Photo / Issao Fujiwara

The MIT Cycling Team won the 2008 Division II national road racing championships after a weekend of exceptional performances by its men's and women's teams. At the USA Cycling Collegiate National Championships, held May 9-11 in Colorado, MIT Cycling seized an early lead in the opening team time trial and built their advantage throughout the weekend to take a surprise victory.

The women's team scored first with a win in Friday's team time trial. Martha Buckley, Yuri Matsumoto, Zuzka Trnovcova and Sonya Cates powered through a flat and windy course, covering 20 kilometers in 29 minutes and 51 seconds to take the win by 8 seconds over their closest rivals. Later that day, the men's team of Jason Sears, Eric Edlund, Seth Behrends and Issao Fujiwara beat a host of strong competitors to finish fourth in the men's team time trial in 25 minutes and 10 seconds.

MIT's women added to their laurels over Saturday's 51-mile road-race course, which featured a combination of flat terrain exposed to the wind and difficult power climbs. Buckley finished a strong third, Matsumoto came in 10th and Cates took 19th. In the men's race, Edlund took 13th in the field sprint while Fujiwara came in 57th.

With these strong finishes, the Engineers were still ahead coming into Sunday's flat, fast and technical criterium race, and once again MIT's women turned in great performances. Matsumoto unleashed her devastating sprint, which had earned her the Eastern Collegiate Cycling Conference Division II women's championship only two weeks before, to finish sixth. Buckley came in two spots behind and Cates finished only a few seconds behind the day's race leaders, in 27th. In the 75-minute men's race, Sears sprinted to an outstanding fourth, beating his own seventh place from last year's nationals criterium. A veteran of many collegiate cycling championships on road and track, Sears made sure he was part of the day's key breakaway group that finished ahead of the main field. Edlund, Fujiwara and Behrends all finished in the main pack.

When all the points were tallied, MIT had ended its stunning weekend with 395 points, beating Dartmouth's 364 points to take first place among Division II schools across the country.

The MIT Cycling Team is presented by FXDD, a leading online retail foreign exchange firm. FXDD is a subsidiary of Compagnie Financière Tradition, the third largest interdealer broker worldwide, servicing 7,000 institutional clients since 1959.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on May 14, 2008 (download PDF).

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