Four-time and reigning US Pro Time Trial Champion David Zabriskie crushed another time trial, this time at stage 5 of the Tour of Missouri, clocking a time of 36:30 with an average speed of 50.301km/h (31.255mph) over the flat 30.6 km (19 mi) course in Sedalia. Silver medalist at the Beijing Olympics, Saxo Bank’s Gustav Larsson was second at 30 seconds back after dodging some motorbikes on the course. Proving that he does belong with the big boys, was Tom Zirbel (BISSELL) in third at 44 seconds down.
“We had Ryder[Hesjedal] in the Vuelta today and me winning here so it’s a good day for the team. ” said Zabriskie. “There are two days left here and we know what we have to do and we’re ready to do it.”
The TT results re-shuffled the GC classification as Zabriskie also takes over the lead with two stages to go in the stage race, with Larsson in second and Zirbel in third. Italian TT Champion Marco Pinotti (Columbia-HTC) narrowly missed the podium, finishing one second behind Zirbel.
“I feel good, I feel strong, I’m in good shape and I hope to do a good Worlds and this is good preparation for that.” said Larsson who faced unusual challenges in his race of truth. “I had big problems with the course motorbikes, they didn’t see me at all and even though I almost crashed the first time, they didn’t get out of my way. I was screaming at them, they didn’t move so I’m really angry with the race motorbikes.”
“I’ve been excited for this time trial, I’m fairly happy with third, the two guys that beat me are some of the best in the world, can’t be too disappointed. Still pretty large time gaps to these guys.” said Zirbel who chose not to wear a radio. “I tried to take it out a little bit harder in the first half, I thought I was a little bit too conservative at the Nationals course, but my halfway splits were still a little bit slower than the people around me. I felt really strong on the second half, I still feel like I had a good amount of power and I think that was just from feeling good all week. ”
rider vs bike. In the final 3 kilometers of his race, Larsson was twice impeded by a motorbike as he was taking a turn.
“There was a left-hand corner, there was a lot of traffic ahead of me and the thing is as a bike rider, you go through the corner really fast but the motorbikes didn’t see me coming. They were stopping in my line basically so I had to break full-on and I almost hit him. I had to stop and start from zero again almost and the problem was that I was shouting and wanted to get him out of my way but he still insisted and stayed ahead of me.” said Larsson. “So the problem happened in the next corner as well, so I was hung out by the motorbike and I couldn’t take the proper line, I was braking in the corners almost stopping so I lost a lot of momentum and a lot of power as well.”
According to Larsson, it would not have changed the final outcome but he estimates his lost time to be 15 seconds.
The course. Stage 5 presented by Missouri’s Electric Cooperatives featured a brand new course, tailor made for power riders as they were faced by rollers and a headwind on the way back to the finish.
“I was able to hold speed on the rollers, and pick up even more speed once they were finished. The last little part was probably the hardest with the wind and there were a few bumps in the corners.” said Zabriskie. “I felt like I had an enormous amount of power sprinting out of the corners and yeah it was a good ride.”
“It was a very tough second half of the course, headwind and large rollers, relentless rollers the whole second half, pretty much the same way this whole race has been in Missouri. It was a tough second half, if you didn’t have the juice you were going to lose a lot of time.” explained Zirbel.
What’s next? With his fifth place finish, Levi Leipheimer (Astana) moved from 41st to 6th overall in the G.C. Three teams, Saxo Bank, Bissell and Astana, each have two riders in the Top 10. Only two stages to go. Stage 6, presented by Wind Capital Group, will begin at 1:00 pm on Saturday in Chillicothe. The 177 km (110 mi) road race features two Edward Jones Sprint lines and one Michelob Ultra KOM.
Each intermediate sprint has time bonuses of 3,2 and 1 second associated with the points, and the finish time bonus is 10, 6 and 4 seconds. (see cheat sheet) The Garmin-Slipstream will be looking to let the right break up the road to gobble up the points while Team Type 1 will be watching the riders in the break to protect Moises Aldape‘s lead in the KOM competition.
Zabriskie is confident that his team knows what to do to defend the yellow jersey until the end.
“For sure, it will be hard racing, there are no half hour gaps so we’ll be pretty heads up and ride hard, but yeah petty confident.” said Zabriskie. “I think that the guys are really motivated, I don’t have to tell them anything, they know what they need to do.”
Larsson has not given up and will attack on Sunday’s tough circuit race in Kansas City, but he also has to watch his back as the Columbia-HTC squad will be launching salvos to try and move up to the podium. “Of course they are going to attack a lot but so am I, probably on the last day to see if I can do something against Zabriskie. Hopefully it’s going to be a big show on Sunday.”
As for Zirbel, he’ll certainly be feeling the heat as only one second separates him from Pinotti. “I have a full second buffer to fourth place,” he smiled. “Columbia is a great team and I think I’m going to have to rely on my team as well as a little bit of luck. Hopefully, a break will go early to eat up those time bonuses and it’s going to be a tough two days. We haven’t had the aggression in the first few days that we had last year so I think it’s building up towards the weekend, we’re expecting a battle.”
The Best Young Rider classification is shaping up for another battle as only 8 seconds separate 14 riders from current leader Dario Cataldo (Quick Step). David Veilleux (Kelly Benefit) has clearly stated that he is aiming for the white jersey. However, there are four more Quick Step riders in the top 15 classification.
Complete results here
Gallery (Click for larger images)
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