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Clara Hughes beats Stevens and Neben to win Pan Am Games time trial

2011 Tour of the Gila, stage 3
Hughes winning the SRAM Tour of the Gila time trial last week. Photo: Casey B. Gibson

Canadian Clara Hughes beat Americans Evelyn Stevens and Amber Neben Friday to win the 24.2-mile individual time trial at the Pan American Championships in Colombia.

Hughes finished in 25:59, 28 seconds ahead of Stevens.

“I’m really happy with today’s result after beginning to focus on the time trial just five weeks ago after the 2010 UCI Track World Championships. I am grateful the national team believed in me enough to give me a spot on the team here, and I wanted to give Canada a good result here,” said Hughes.

Hughes has returned to road racing this season after focusing on speedskating since 2003. She has won medals in both the summer and winter Olympics and has set her sights on the 2012 Olympic time trial in London. She won a bronze medla in the time trial at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta.

Before London, she is targeting the UCI world championships this fall in Denmark. Her win at the Pan Ams guarantees her a spot on the Canadian world championship team.

“Everything I do in the coming months will be to bring my best to the start line in Denmark and see how I fare against the best racers in the world,” she said.

Argentine Leandro Messineo won the men’s time trial. followed by Colombian Ivan Mauricio Casas and Venezuela’s Tomas Gil.

The Pan Am road races are this Sunday.

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