Madeleine Boutet came tantalizingly close to climbing onto the podium at the USA Cycling Nationals last year.
Wednesday, the 15-year-old from Anchorage stepped up and took a spot on that coveted platform.
Boutet seized silver in the 45-kilometer road race for girls 15-16 at the nationals in Madison, Wis., just missing out on gold in a sprint to the line.
Winner Hannah Arensman of North Carolina and Boutet were both clocked in 1 hour, 20 minutes, 53 seconds, on the 28-mile course. Arensman nipped Boutet, who led with 200 meters to go, by about a wheel length.
A year ago at the nationals in Augusta, Ga., Boutet finished sixth in the road race, 12th in the time trial and 13th in the criterium.
Wednesday, she was part of a group of six riders who went clear of the field when the peleton split on the first major climb, a grade of about 9 to 10 percent. Boutet went to the lead on the final climb, but could not quite hold off Arensman when the course flattened in the sprint to the line. Boutet and Arensman averaged nearly 21 mph in the race, which featured 27 riders.
Boutet will compete in a 20-kilometer (12.4-mile) time trial Thursday and in a criterium Sunday.
She is coming off a series of strong performances last month in the Mt. Hood Cycling Classic in Oregon, where she finished eighth overall in her division.
Anchorage Daily News