(photo gallery at end of story)
By Neal Rogers
There was no change in the overall leaders Friday as the time trial stage of the Solano Bicycle Classic was contested in the midst of an isolated agricultural area near of Fairfield, California.
In the women’s field, Saturn’s Lyne Bessette held on to her overall lead by posting a time of 30:39 over the relatively flat 12.2 mile out and back course, which was good for second on the day, six seconds behind teammate and national time trial champion Kimberly Bruckner. Saturn’s Judith Arndt came in third, 10 seconds behind Bruckner, completing the Saturn sweep over the stage and securing their control over the overall podium.
When asked about conditions on the course, Buckner summed it up with one word— “Windy.”
The course presented a challenge to riders tired from Thursday’s road race, with a tailwind on the departure, and a false flat into a headwind on the return. Still, little seems to challenge the supremacy of the Saturn women.
“We race really hard at every race,” Bruckner explained. “Our goal is to win the world cup, and to maintain our world number one ranking. For me personally, I’m looking towards the national time trials. Every time trial I race is practice for nationals.”In the men’s race, Chris Horner managed to hold on to his overall lead while losing four seconds to his biggest threat, Mercury’s Chris Wherry, and 25 seconds to stage winner Eric Wohlberg of Saturn.
“My seat post slipped,” a clearly frustrated Horner explained at the finish line. “It dropped my saddle two inches. That makes it hard.”
Yet with Horner leading Wherry by 10 seconds and Wohlberg by 43, the real fight looks to be for third place. Horner’s Prime Alliance teammate Danny pate sits in fourth overall, 48 seconds down on Horner.
Wohlberg, a six-time Canadian national time trial champion, rode his way onto the overall podium by displacing 7UP’s John Lieswyn. Lieswyn’s ninth-place effort on the day just wasn’t enough, as he dropped 52 seconds to Wohlberg and now finds himself placed fifth going into the criterium.
“I felt much better than other time trials I’ve raced this year,” Liewsyn told VeloNews. “It was a tall order to stay in the top three. I had a good ride. I was hoping for a super ride.”
As for Wohlberg, he was happy to take the stage, but immediately following his victory, his attention was directed to Saturday’s crit.
“It’s going to be a circus tomorrow,” he laughed. “Teams are going to come out guns a blazing.”
“With five teams evenly balanced, it’s going to be hard to break away. It’ll be a big fight for the time bonuses. As far as making the top three, we’ll have to see how the race unfolds. Wohlberg’s definitely not afraid to race a crit.”
SOLANO BICYCLE CLASSIC; Fairfield, CA, March 28-30; Men’s Individual Time Trial, 12.2 miles;
1. Eric Wohlberg, Saturn, 27:44; 2. Adam Sbeih, Mercury, @ 0:06; 3. Chris Wherry, Mercury, @0:21; 4. Chris Horner, Prime Alliance, @0:25; 5. Scott Moninger, Mercury, @0:31; 6. Danny Pate, Prime Alliance, @0:46;7. Mariano Friedick, Jelly Belly, @0:47; 8. Greg Henderson, 7UP/Nutra Fig, @0:51; 9. John Lieswyn, 7UP/Nutra Fig, @0:52; 10. Will Frischkorn, Saturn, @0:52;
1. Kimberly Bruckner, Saturn, 30:33; 2. Lyne Bessette, Saturn, @0:06; 3. Judith Arndt, Saturn, @0:10; 4. Tina Mayolo-Pic, Diet Rite, @1:28; 5. Stacey Peters, Bianchi USA, @1:33; 6.Susan Palmer-Komar, Talgo America, @2:09; 7. Kristin Armstrong, Team Goldy’s, @2:17; 8. Mina Pizzini, Diet Rite, @2:28; 9. Susy Pryde, Talgo America, @2:33; 10. Suzzane Sonye, Saturn, @2:37;
SOLANO BICYCLE CLASSIC; Fairfield, CA, March 28-30;
1. Chris Horner, Prime Alliance, 3:58:22; 2. Chris Wherry, Mercury, @0:10; 3. Eric Wohlberg, Saturn, @0:43; 4. Danny Pate, Prime Alliance, @0:48; 5. John Lieswyn, 7UP/Nutra Fig, @0:49;
1. Lyne Bessette, Saturn, 3:06:41; 2. Judith Arndt, Saturn, @0:09; 3. Kimberly Bruckner, Saturn, @4:40; 4. Susan Plamer-Komar, Talgo America, @8:19; 5. Susy Pryde, Talgo America, @8:43;