Emmerich, The Netherlands - Four Axeon Hagens Berman Cycling Team riders racing for USA Cycling's Under 23 squad finished in the top 15 in Thursday's individual time trial at the Olympia's Tour including U.S. Under 23 time trial champion Geoffrey Curran, who was runner-up.
Starting 55th to last of the 121 riders, Curran was in the "hot seat" until eventual winner Miles Scotson of Australia bettered his time by 27 seconds. The 15.3-kilometer race against the watch was the first of two stages Thursday.
"I could not have gone 27 seconds faster," Curran said. "With that in mind, when you get beat, it can be better to get shellacked by an insurmountable margin, rather than a second or two. When it is only a few seconds, then maybe you are always thinking about every head bob or lapse in concentration, rather than feeling good about the ride."
Scotson was the Australian Under 23 silver medalist in the time trial and is a stagiaire this fall for Wanty-Groupe Gobert. He averaged 45.7 kilometers an hour in notching the winning time of 20:03.
Curran said the weather was "typically Dutch," with a steady wind and cloudy skies.
"It was brisk until getting on the course," he said, "so a nice morning for a time trial. The course was good for me with two rolling hills in the middle and then a twisting, flat run in to a short sharp climb to the finish."
Three of Curran's Team USA teammates were within 25 seconds of his time: USA Cycling Pro Road Tour runner-up Neilson Powless was fifth (32 seconds off the winning time), U.S. national road champion Greg Daniel was 12th (49 seconds back) and past race leader Colin Joyce finished 13th (52 seconds back).
"I am super proud of the guys and their form is clearly good," USA Cycling Under 23 General Manager Michael Sayers said. "It was good to see Greg getting his racing legs back and he provided us with great time splits. We still feel good about the last two days and will use our local knowledge to help each other out."
Following the time trial, three Team USA riders were in the top 15 in the overall standings. Curran moved from 14th to 11th (2:03 behind), Joyce was 14th (2:24 behind) and Justin Oien was 15th (2:35 behind). Thursday's second stage was a 120.1-km road race.
The six-day, seven-stage race continues through Sunday with the final two stages being run near the Team USA service course in Limburg.
(Header photo of Curran at the Amgen Tour of California by Davey Wilson.)