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U.S. Armed Forces team cyclist Andy Shaw, a Marine stationed at the Pentagon, competes in Monday’s 72-kilometer race in Mackenbach, Germany.

U.S. Armed Forces team cyclist Andy Shaw, a Marine stationed at the Pentagon, competes in Monday’s 72-kilometer race in Mackenbach, Germany. (Rusty Bryan / S&S)

U.S. Armed Forces team cyclist Andy Shaw, a Marine stationed at the Pentagon, competes in Monday’s 72-kilometer race in Mackenbach, Germany.

U.S. Armed Forces team cyclist Andy Shaw, a Marine stationed at the Pentagon, competes in Monday’s 72-kilometer race in Mackenbach, Germany. (Rusty Bryan / S&S)

Mike Gallagher of Fort Lewis, Wash., leads a group of riders through the final stages of Monday’s 72-kilometer Mackenbacher Evening Criterium in Mackenbach, Germany.

Mike Gallagher of Fort Lewis, Wash., leads a group of riders through the final stages of Monday’s 72-kilometer Mackenbacher Evening Criterium in Mackenbach, Germany. (Courtesy of Debra Ponzio)

MACKENBACH, Germany — Thanks to its performance Monday night in a 72-kilometer race in Mackenbacher, the U.S. Armed Forces Cycling Team will ride some momentum into next week’s International Military Sports Council (CISM) cycling championships, according to coach Klaus Wolf.

“They rode much more free tonight,” Wolf said after his team pushed Mike Gallagher to a seventh-place finish in the Mackenbacher Evening Criterium, which took racers around the streets of this bedroom community between Kaiserslautern and Ramstein. “They should have a lot of self-confidence for CISM.”

The race was the third in three days for the seven-man U.S. Armed Forces team — it rode in a 78-kilometer event in Speyer on Saturday, and followed that with an 108-kilometer event in Lustadt on Sunday.

“We had good teamwork,” Wolf said in summing up Monday night’s race. “It’s what the team needs.”

The first event of the CISM championships in Breda, Netherlands, is a time trial on Monday, followed by a road race on July 26.

“Other countries will have some top professional riders at CISM,” Gallagher, a reservist from Fort Lewis, Wash., said. “You can’t take anything for granted.”

“There won’t be any Tour de France riders there,” added Navy racer Shawn Olin of San Diego, who finished 18th on Monday, “just future Tour de France riders.”

Gallagher said the weekend events were vital in having the riders become a team.

“These races help us build on each other,” he said. “Because we all come from different areas, we have to learn what each man can do.”

Pentagon-based Coast Guardsman George Ganoung, a time-trial specialist, broke out several times and chased the leaders, finishing 12th on Monday night.

“That’s what he’ll have to do at the time trial — ride by himself,” team technical director Debra Ponzio said.

Other team members are Coast Guardsman Steve Mlujeak of Detroit, who placed 14th Monday; Ian Holt of F.E. Warren AFB, Wyo., 16th; Marine Andy Shaw of the Pentagon, 17th; and Eric Obergfell of Randolph AFB, Texas, 19th.

Like Monday night’s race of 72 one-kilometer laps, Gallagher said, next week’s CISM road race also will consist of repetitive circuits, rather than point-to-point.

“A circuit race is more intense,” he said. “There are a lot more attacks. It’s more stressful.”

Wolf said much of the stress next week at CISM will be mental.

“I tell the team each race is as hard as you make it,” he said. “I tell them not to think about the race, just do it. They did that tonight.”


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