Zirbel and Walle win opening stage at North Star Grand Prix

Tom Zirbel and Brianna Walle win a short opening time trial at the North Star Grand Prix.

The 17th annual North Star Grand Prix in St. Paul, Minnesota began with an 8km time trial for the men and women Wednesday. Defending champion, Tom Zirbel (Rally Cycling), was the first stage winner and produced the only sub-10 minute finish time on the out-and-back course.

“It’s short enough and straight enough that you gauge your effort over 10 minutes and make sure you’re completely exhausted at the end,” said Zirbel. “None of the corners are technical. It’s just about feeling good on the day.” A gap of three seconds decided the race between Zirbel and second-place finisher Aaron Beebe. Zirbel’s teammate Evan Huffman rounded out the podium, on same time as Beebe.

Brianna Walle (TIBCO – Silicon Valley Bank) won the 8km out and back time trial course in 10 minutes and 55 seconds. Second-place finisher, Lauren Stephens, crossed the line less than a second behind her teammate who both posted the only two sub-11 minute times. Colavita – Bianchi’s Lauretta Hanson was third, 26 seconds behind Walle.

For tonight’s St. Paul Criterium, Walle will be wearing the leader’s jersey along with Stephens wearing the sprint jersey.