David Zabriskie (Garmin-Slipstream) blitzed his way on the Greenville Hospital System USA Cycling Professional Championships course clocking a time of 39:37 to win the US Pro Time Trial title for the fourth time in a row. Zabriskie beat his time of last year, on the same course, by one minute and two seconds.
“No, I really enjoy wearing this jersey over in Europe, “said Zabriskie when asked if winning the Stars and Stripes ever gets old. “it’s something I take a lot of pride in and it doesn’t get old for me.”
Attack of the Killer Zs (thanks TBird). Strongman Tom Zirbel of the BISSELL Pro Cycling Team also beat his time from last year, but finished second, again, at forty-four seconds down and was clearly disappointed especially when he first saw the results at the post-race press conference.
“I didn’t expect to lose by 45 seconds, wow, that’s an incredible ride.” said Zirbel who was the only rider to go under one minute to Zabriskie. “I didn’t have time splits while I was riding. I just figured it would be close so I was riding as if it was going to come down to 2 or 3 seconds like it did last year, so wow to see those time gaps, I should have sat up, I had a whole minute to spare.”
Kelly Benefit Strategies’ Scott Zwizanski was third at one minute and forty-one seconds down. Zwizanski won two time trials this year, at the Vuelta al Uruguay and the Tour de Beauce, while he was on his way to winning the overall. While timetrialing was his strength in his amateur days, Zwizanski didn’t focus on it once he turned pro in 2004. Midway last year, it started clicking again, when he started feeling confident at Nature Valley.
“Ever since then, it’s been a confidence thing and just a mental ability to suffer, TT is all about suffering. That’s back, I’m racing at a bit of lighter weight this year which is good, a great environment, combination of things have just helped, the biggest thing is just the confidence.” said Zwizanski who did a hard training ride yesterday to mimick the same conditions as his previous wins.
Zwizanski’s teammate Reid Mumford finished fourth at two minutes and fifty-two seconds. “It’s good, I’m really excited about it, it’s a huge improvement over what I was able to do last year. My preparation going into it was really good.” said Mumford who used the Tour of Utah to get ready.
Jelly Belly’s Bernard Van Ulden was fifth, also at two minutes and fifty-two seconds down and 26 hundreds of a second off Mumford. Van Ulden credits motorpacing for his top 5. “For me lately, that seems to be the best way to train, I just think that it works your intensity really well without destroying your muscles or your legs so much. Other than that, I just try to not stress too much about this year, just try to concentrate more on the overall general fitness.”
It’s about the laps. The seventh man out of the gate, 2008 Elite National TT Champion Jonathan Chodroff (OUCH) set the fastest intermediate time after the first lap of 13:57 which was soon bested by Mike Friedman (Garmin-Slipstream) with 13:40.
Zabriskie, riding with a radio, used his teammate’s first lap time as a gauge. “I think he had a great ride. I knew his first lap was 13:40 and I wasn’t going to wear a radio today, I started my Garmin on the start line and when I came through 40 seconds faster than him, I thought I’m having a good day and just need to do that two more times. That’s what I tried to do.”
Soon all the riders were on course, and we all waited to see the first intermediate times in the battle of the Zs, and Zabriskie set a 13:05, followed by Zwizanski with 13:26 and Zirbel with 13:34. Zirbel increased his pace in the second lap to clock a 13:20 behind Zabriskie’s 13:12. In the third lap, Zabriskie time went up to 13:20 but still set the fastest time per lap today.
|Rider||Team||Lap 1||Lap 2||Lap 3||2009 Result||2008 Result|
|2||ZIRBEL Tom||Bissell Pro Cycling||13:34||13:20||13:27||40:21||40:44|
|3||ZWIZANSKI Scott||Kelly Benefit Strategies||13:26||13:55||13:57||41:18||42:58|
|4||MUMFORD Reid||Kelly Benefit Strategies||13:53||14:15||14:21||42:29||43:24|
|5||VAN ULDEN Bernard||Jelly Belly Cycling Team||13:56||14:20||14:13||42:29||42:58|
Rhythm. The course was the same as last year with three laps around a 11.1 km/6.9-mile course with turns and hills. Both Zabriskie and Zwizanski liked the fact that they had three laps which gave them a chance to find the right lines.
“It could be from my swimming background doing laps. I personally like doing laps where you can get feedback on your speed on each lap, it’s just a personal preference.” said Zwizanski. “I just wanted to go as fast as I could and that I could hold it as well.”
But Zirbel had difficulty with flow. “I’m a rhythm rider, it’s hard to get into a rhythm on a course like this but I think any true time trialist likes getting into a rhythm so we’re all feeling the same thing. I would like a more straightforward TT with longer straightaways but it’s really not a technical.”
Mumford had to face other challenges on course – twice. “When I coming through that second lap, I got slotted in between Zirbel and Zabriskie so lot of VIPs wanted to be following those guys. I got passed by Zirbel maybe a third of a way through that second lap for me and three cars passed and it was all bottled up as I going into the turn around so that made tricky, it wasn’t that I had to put on my brakes or anything but it was a little congested there. It was on my mind, I was thinking a lot about it going into it. ”
And then on his third and last lap. “Zabriskie passed me with about 4 K to go for me and a couple of VIPs made some pretty aggressive passes on me, I was trying to pick off the corner and stay on the inside of the road and at one point, this guy honked at me and came around me. I was the one racing not the VIP, it was kind of a strange situation for me.”
The course was much faster this year, as all the top 5 set faster times.. While once again there was a tailwind going into the start/finish area but this year a headwind slowed things down on the descent.
“The biggest difference from last year was the headwind coming down the big hill, the big sweeping left hand turn was a lot slower that it was last year. Last year, it seemed like you were coming into that corner pretty hot, it was a pretty scary corner because you had so much speed.” said Mumford.
Another reason for the faster times is knowledge of the course. “The same thing happened last year at Tour of Missouri, the same exact time trial course and everybody was going a lot faster. I think with all the guys here having ridden the course here last year, everybody had a better idea of what the were in for. It’s not a course where you can really get into a groove, and if you have it in your head and you know you’re going to have to struggle with it around the whole course then it helps mentally when you are struggling. ” explained Van Ulden.
What’s next? The 185.1 km/115.0 miles race to decide the US Pro Road Race champion. The field is wide open with Garmin-Slipstream still smarting from last year’s race where they had the numbers in the break but finished second. The BMC, BISSELL, Team Type 1 and Kelly Benefit squads all want a shot at the title and will be racing aggressively, putting the hurt on everytime the road goes up Paris Mountain. It will be interesting to see if the solo riders such as George Hincapie (Columbia-HTC), Jason McCartney (Saxo Bank) and Teddy King (Cervelo) will combine forces on Sunday. Or will Hincapie combine forces with his rumored new team BMC?
The 185.1 km/115.0 miles course is really divided into 3 sections, it starts off with the 3 loops around the 4.18-mile short circuit followed by the heavy hitter of the 4 times around the big lap which includes the climb up Paris Mountain and for those still in the game, it finishes with 3 laps around the same short circuit.
Complete results here
Gallery (Click for larger images)
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