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Zabriskie wins U.S. Pro time trial

Dave Zabriskie (Garmin-Slipstream) reaffirmed his position atop the U.S. time trial field Saturday, as he won his fourth consecutive national championship by nearly one minute on a 20.7-mile course in Greenville, South Carolina. Zabriskie blazed the winding Greenville time trial course Saturday in a time of 39:37, 1:02 faster than his winning time on the same course in 2008.

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By Brian Holcombe

U.S. Pro time trial - 2009: Zabriskie went hard on the first lap ...

U.S. Pro time trial – 2009: Zabriskie went hard on the first lap …

Photo: Casey B. Gibson

Dave Zabriskie (Garmin-Slipstream) reaffirmed his position atop the U.S. time trial field Saturday, as he won his fourth consecutive national championship by nearly one minute on a 20.7-mile course in Greenville, South Carolina.

Zabriskie blazed the winding Greenville time trial course Saturday in a time of 39:37, 1:02 faster than his winning time on the same course in 2008.

Last year’s runner-up Tom Zirbel (Bissell) slipped off the pace on the first of three laps and finished 44 seconds outside of Zabriskie for second place. Scott Zwizanksi (Kelly Benefit Strategies) slotted into third place, 1:41 off the winning time.

Zabriskie remains unbeaten against the clock in Greenville.

Tropical Storm Danny a no go
An early morning fog lifted on Saturday to reveal clear, calm skies ahead of the 11:30 a.m. start at the Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research. While the forecasted precipitation stayed away on Saturday, the warm temperatures, which topped 80 degrees F with relative humidity above 90 percent as the final starters got underway, did challenge riders.

U.S. Pro time trial - 2009: Zirbel takes second.

U.S. Pro time trial – 2009: Zirbel takes second.

Photo: Casey B. Gibson

2008 elite national time trial champion Jonathan Chodroff (OUCH-Maxxis) set the early fast time, rolling away seventh and finishing with a time of 42:44.

Chodroff’s time atop the leaderboard was brief, however, as Friedman set the fast time after lap one with Chodroff still on course. Friedman finished his third and final lap with a time of 42:37, but was unseated four riders later by Jonathan Mumford (Kelly Benefit Strategies) in 42:29.

As Friedman finished his first lap, Zwizanski rolled away from the start and set yet another fast time, taking the lead in 41:18. Zwizanski won the Vuelta a Uruguay and Tour de Beauce on the backs of time trial stage wins in 2009 and looked to be on good form Saturday. Directors Jonas Carney and Ken Mills held Zwizanski out of last week’s Tour of Utah in order for their time trial hope to arrive in Greenville fresh.

“I’ve just been focusing on training for TT efforts and it went well,” Zwizanski said of his preparation Friday. “I’ve been able to focus on time trial-specific intervals and trying to taper it down so that I’m nice a fresh for Saturday and as a bonus, be nice and fresh for Sunday.”

The favorites
Starting in reverse order of the 2008 results, Zirbel rolled his Pinarello time trial machine down the start ramp second-to-last and set the second-fastest time on the first lap, eight seconds outside of Zwizanski. Zirbel, who rode his longest time trial of the season on Saturday, struggled to find the form that earned him the stage win, ahead of Zabriskie, in the final time trial tune-up ahead of Greenville, at last week’s Tour of Utah. The Bissell rider did come on strong in the final two laps, however, moving under Zwizanski’s time and clocking in at 40:21.

U.S. Pro time trial - 2009: Zwizanki takes third, completing a "3-Z" sweep.

U.S. Pro time trial – 2009: Zwizanki takes third, completing a “3-Z” sweep.

Photo: Casey B. Gibson

Although Zirbel was the leader after three laps, the crowd of thousands became electric as Zabriskie approached the downhill finish having set the fastest time over the first two laps. Zabriskie, who struggled for good form since returning from Europe following the Clásica San Sebastián, stopped the clock at 39:37 to win his fifth national time trial national championship.

Zabriskie knew early, with help from his title sponsor, that he was on a fast ride today.

“(Friedman)’s first lap was really fast with a 13:40 and I wasn’t going to wear a radio today either, so I started the Garmin on the startline and when I came through 40 seconds faster than him, I thought, ‘I think I’m having a good day and I just have to do that two more times.’ That’s what I tried to do.”

Zabriskie’s Captain America-themed rear disc wheel and red, white and blue argyle skinsuit have become familiar in recent years and the Utah-native is proud to wear the champion’s colors.

“I really enjoy wearing this jersey over in Europe,” Zabriskie said. “It’s something I take a lot of pride in, so it doesn’t get old for me.”

Third and second in 2007 and 2008, both times by five seconds, Zirbel’s disappointment following the stage was palpable as he struggled to force an open-toothed grin on the podium and largely avoided eye contact during the post-race press conference. “Well, I didn’t expect to lose by 45 seconds. Wow, that’s an incredible ride by Dave,” Zirbel said. “To see those time gaps, I should have sat up – I had a whole minute to spare.”

U.S. Pro time trial - 2009: Tom Zirbel was flying on the downhill.

U.S. Pro time trial – 2009: Tom Zirbel was flying on the downhill.

Photo: Casey B. Gibson

Zirbel found difficulty in establishing a rhythm as the course wound through six chicanes per lap. “I’m a rhythm rider and it’s hard to get into a rhythm on a course like this, but I think any true time trialist likes to get into a rhythm so we’re all dealing with the same thing.” Zirbel’s lead in the NRC standings headed into the final two events of the season, which he will miss, is little comfort, as he felt, for the first time in his career, that he was capable and ready to win the national title.

The “Show Me (the jersey) State”
Zabriskie will first don the stars and stripes next month in the stage 5 time trial at the Tour of Missouri, which is a major focus for his squad, given that it passes near Garmin’s headquarters in Kansas City.

Photo Gallery

Results

TITLE

  • 1. ZABRISKIE Garmin-Slipstream in 39.37
  • 2. ZIRBEL Bissell Pro Cycling in 40.21
  • 3. ZWIZANSKI Kelly Benefit Strategies in 41.18
  • 4. VANULDEN Jelly Belly Cycling Team in 42.29
  • 5. MUMFORD Kelly Benefit Strategies in 42.29
  • 6. FRIEDMAN Garmin-Slipstream in 42.37
  • 7. ZAJICEK Fly V Australia in 42.38
  • 8. CHODROFF Ouch Presented By Maxxis in 42.44
  • 9. JACQUES-MAYNES Bissell Pro Cycling in 43.07
  • 10. CREED Team Type 1 in 43.11
  • 11. WINSTEAD Kenda Pro Cycling Presented By Spinergy in 43.41
  • 12. MACH Bissell Pro Cycling in 43.43
  • 13. KILUN Ouch Presented By Maxxis in 43.44
  • 14. BALDWIN Ouch Presented By Maxxis in 43.56
  • 15. SWEETING Land Rover-Orbea in 44.00
  • 16. KEM Bissell Pro Cycling in 44.24
  • 17. CRANE Jelly Belly Cycling Team in 44.50
  • 18. GAIMON Jelly Belly Cycling Team in 44.52
  • 19. REIJNEN Jelly Belly Cycling Team in 45.40
  • 20. MONTELEONE Usa Development Team in 46.01
  • 21. LANDIS Ouch Presented By Maxxis in 46.30
  • 22. HAMBLEN Dlp Racing in 46.57
  • 23. WOLFENBARGER Cinelli-Down Under in 49.03