Armstrong TTs at Tour of Gruene /

By Colt Trant

Armstrong and partner John Korioth
Armstrong and partner John Korioth

Photo: Colt Trant

Lance Armstrong powered to victory at this weekend’s Tour de Gruene, winning both the individual and team time trials in convincing fashion.

Armstrong’s participation was a welcome surprise to co-promoters Will Rotzler and Tom Sickmann, who learned of the Tour de France winner’s plans just days before the event.

Sickmann attributed record participation levels for the tour to the “Lance factor,” adding that, “people don’t look at him like a rock star, or celebrity, they see someone who has transcended sport with his story. They see inspiration; they see hope.”

Saturday’s inaugural individual time trial was held under sunny skies and strikingly warm temperatures, which rose quickly as Armstrong set fire to the 16.6-mile out and back course, lined from end to end with enthusiastic spectators.

Armstrong clocked a course record of 33:14, besting second place finisher and current Texas

Catch and pass: Armstrong and partner John Korioth blazed through the team time trial.
Catch and pass: Armstrong and partner John Korioth blazed through the team time trial.

Photo: PhotoSport International – Mike Gladu

state time-trial champion Erick Benz by nearly two minutes. Third place finisher Stefan Rothe described the course as, “punchy.” He added the course, “favored a rider who can change speeds and recovery quickly over the hills and winding turns.”

Sickmann, who drove the follow vehicle for Armstrong recalled, “you couldn’t tell where he stops and the bike starts, he’s so fluid and so powerful.”

Sunday’s team time trial victory by Armstrong and long-time friend John Korioth, who helped co-found the Lance Armstrong Foundation, was never in doubt as they cut into the lead of last years defending champions Pat McCarty and Phillip Wikoff considerably by the climb out of the river basin on the back side of the course. Armstrong and Korioth clocked a time of 56:37 over the 27.3-mile loop, putting almost three minutes into their nearest competitors.

Armstrong said after Sunday’s effort he, “felt better today than yesterday, made those adjustments on the position and seemed to be more comfortable and more powerful.” Armstrong added that, “the effort yesterday was actually good for today.”

Armstrong used his local race to refine his position and to get used to his TT bike again.
Armstrong used his local race to refine his position and to get used to his TT bike again.

Photo: Colt Trant

“It’s fun to race at home,” Armstrong said. “We’re here in Gruene, Texas and you have a great turnout and supportive crowd and people out on TT bikes going for it, it’s cool to see.”

Armstrong promised the enthusiastic crowd at the awards ceremony that he would be back next year to defend of his title.

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Tour de Gruene Bicycle Classic
Silver Anniversary 1984 – 2008
November 1, 2008
Gruene, Texas
Inaugural 16.6 Mile Individual Time Trial

Group Results:

Men 34 & under

1. Stefan Rothe 0:35:08
2. John Coppin 0:36:04
3. Philip Wikoff 0:37:15
4. Jeremey Thomson 0:38:50
5. Ryan Campos 0:46:10

Men 35-39
1. Lance Armstrong 0:33:14
2. Justin Wolfe 0:36:05
3. Jason Bentley 0:36:25
4. Joshua Barton 0:37:47
5. David Dohnal 0:40:56

Men 40+
1. Erick Benz 0:34:57

2. Cord Offermann 0:35:34
3. Ron Huijsman 0:36:59
4. Kurt Bickel 0:37:03
5. George Heagerty 0:38:06

Women 34 & under
1. Christina Wolfe 0:39:18
2. Sheri Rothe 0:44:45

Women 35+
1. Annick Beaudet 0:41:49
2. Aimee Gould 0:43:42

Day 2
TTT – Men (43.7km)
1. John Korioth/Lance Armstrong 56:37
2. David Wenger/Steven Wheeler, at 2:34
3. Philip Wikoff/Patrick Mccarty, at 2:58
4. Kevin Schaefer/Cord Offermann, at 4:44
5. Justin Wolfe/James Murff, at 5:36
6. Patrick Mcgrath/Kurt Bickel, at 6:56
7. Jeremey Thomson/Thomas Kubicek, at 7:59
8. J.T. Cody/Marco Challaby, at 8:06
9. Tim Pletcher/P.J. Rabice, at 8:45
10. Jason Bentley/Marcus Arredondo, at 9:00
11. Steve Waters/Rene Van Der Salm, at 10:26

TTT – Women(43.7km)
1. Christina Wolfe/Rheannon Cunningham 1:10:19
2. Kate Sherwin/Daniele Wikoff, at 2:57
3. Annick Beaudet/Melanie Mcnearney, at 20:53