Evelyn Stevens (Boels Dolmans) delivered a scorching ride on a cool day in Santa Clarita, California, winning the Amgen Tour of California women’s time trial on Friday.
She rode the flat, 6.7-mile course that started and finished at Six Flags Magic Mountain in 14 minutes, 12 seconds.
“It was great. I felt strong right when I went through the first corner,” she said. “I was surprised to win this one. I mean obviously Richmond time trial is a huge goal for me, the Olympic time trial is a huge goal. And so this was on my list of things I wanted to win leading up to it. You can kind of have a list, and to actually do it is really satisfying.”
Lauren Stephens (Tibco-SVB) finished second, four seconds behind. The 2012 Olympic time trial champion, Kristin Armstrong (Twenty16-Sho-Air), was third, seven seconds behind Stevens.
“I had high expectations today, of course with my history, I wanted — not expected — to come out on top,” said Armstrong, 41. “I think that for my first race back, I can’t set the expectations too high. I just now have to put my head down and get to work.
“I think that Lauren Stephens, I’ve been watching her, and she continues to improve. … Every race she does she’s stronger.”
Stevens said she actually might have benefitted from a last-minute course change, which resulted in a race at sea level, rather than the originally planned high-altitude course in Big Bear Lake.
“I was actually happy not to be at altitude,” she said. ” I didn’t have time to acclimate to it. A good time trialist is good on anything.”
Neal Rogers contributed to this report from Santa Clarita.