(See our 2019 USA Cycling coverage.)
KNOXVILLE (WATE) – A month ago, Jonny Brown moved to Knoxville — knowing he’d be riding weeks later in the USA Cycling Championships in his new “backyard.”
Then — he won.
“I’m just trying to take it in, it’s kind of unbelievable right now,” said Jonny Brown, the Hagens Berman Axeon rider, minutes after winning the men’s road race.
Brown is the youngest pro champion ever at 21-years-old. He says, going into the race, his age was something he thought might be a challenge.
“Everyone in that group was way stronger than me and had way more experience. I tried to use that to my advantage being the young guy sitting on sometimes,” said Brown.
This race, special because of his victory but also because of his connection to another rider, his older brother Nathan Brown.
Nathan, who dropped out of the race, was the first to greet Brown after his victory, hugging on the course yards from the finish line.
“It was our first race together, a pro race, that was special in itself. To get the win also… it just makes it that much better,” said Brown.
Also there for the race: Brown’s parents. They watched from a follow car behind Nathan’s EF Education First-Drapac, team. Then, they streamed the race live as it went watching Brown.
“I’ve been in this sport a long time, because of the effort they put into this sport… it’s huge,” said David Brown, Brown’s father.
Brown’s mother, Barbara, says she watched from the live stream the moment her sons hugged after Brown’s win.
“I’m just so emotionally drained. we were in a follow vehicle, following Nathan’s team. We were watching it live stream at the same time. Then, at the very end, I just wanted to cry I was just so emotional,” said Barbara Brown.
Brown says he doesn’t know how he’ll be celebrating the win, but he’s grateful to the Knoxville fans who, he says, gave him the needed push in the final laps.