Swirbul second in national championships

Dale Strode
The Aspen Times

Keegan Swirbul is climbing up the ladder of cycling.

Swirbul, a 2014 Aspen High School graduate, finished second last weekend in the U23 road race at the USA Cycling National Championships in Madison, Wis.

Swirbul, only 18, is in his first year as a professional bicycle racer.

Right after graduating from high school a semester early, he signed with the Bissell Development Team, led by team manager Axel Merckx.

“I felt strong and definitely had a chance to win.”
Keegan Swirbul, Bissell Development Team

He’s the son of cycling legend Eddie Merckx.

Swirbul finished second to Bissell Development teammate Tanner Putt at the USA Cycling National Championships.

Putt is from Park City, Utah.

The third-place finisher also is a member of the Bissell team — T.J. Eisenhart of Lehi, Utah.

Fourth place went to Robin Carpenter of Philadelphia, racing for the Hincapie Sportswear Development Team.

Zachary Carlson of Plano, Texas was fifth with Kevin Fish and Carson Lange both of Austin, Texas, sixth and seventh, respectively.

Torey Philipp of El Dorado Hills, California, finished eight.

Colin Joyce of Pocatello, Iadho, was ninth.

Tenth place went to Alexey Vermeulen of Pinckney, Michigan, also a Bissell Development rider.

The field included 160 cyclists.

They rode 140 kilometers with a finish at Blue Mounds State Park in southern Wisconsin.

“I felt strong and definitely had a chance to win,” said Swirbul, who lives in Carbondale. He finished 3 seconds behind the winner.

“My timing was not good, and I ran out of real estate on the final climb,” Swirbul said.

He was attempting to become the first 18-year-old to win the U23 national title since Greg Lemond.

“I’m learning things at every race that I hope will assist me in the future,” he said.

Swirbul is scheduled to race in the USA Pro Challenge in Colorado in August. The stage race will begin Monday, Aug. 18, with the Aspen/Snowmass Circuit Race.

Stage 2 on Aug 19 will go from Aspen to Crested Butte via Highway 82, Basalt, Carbondale, Redstone, McClure Pass and Kebler Pass.