By Chris Milliman, Special to VeloNews.com
On paper a three-kilometer, downhill time trial would seem perfectly suitedto a rider with power to burn and trained in the art of the short hardeffort. As it turned out, that’s exactly the type of ride that did wintoday’s prologue at the Sea Otter Classic road stage race. New ZealanderHayden Godfrey (Health Net) spends a big portion of the season racing theteam and individual pursuits, making his physiology ideally suited forthe sub-3:00 effort.
Godfrey’s win, and Health Net placing all six riders in the top 10,marked the first crack in Chris Horner’s dominance of the domestic racingscene this year.
“It’s a miracle beating Chris Horner in any event,” said Gord Fraser(Health Net) who finished second behind Godfrey,” whether it’s 200 metersor a mountain top finish. The way he’s going, it’s really nice to beathim.”
Godfrey admitted that spending the past several weeks tuning up histeam pursuit skills, with an eye on the Athens Olympics, sent him intothe prologue in prefect condition and mind-set.
“Last week I was doing team pursuit, and it’s pretty much the same thingas we did today [as far as an effort]. I got to the finish and I was like,is that it? I was going as hard as I could, I couldn’t go any faster.”
But, said Godfrey, the track time, while excellent for today’s race,could hurt him tomorrow and the next day on the climbs.
“I’ve been doing a lot of track lately,” said Godfrey,” so the old climbinglegs aren’t as flash as they could be.
Kristin Armstrong’s legs were all flash as she won the women’s prologueby a surprisingly wide 4-second margin. While some riders chose to rideconventional road bikes with clip on bars, Armstrong (T-Mobile) went wholehog: using a time trial bike with full aero bars and a rear disk wheel.But, said the 30-year-old Armstrong, focusing on emptying the tank provedthe most effective weapon in such a short race.
“I think sometimes with shorter races we tend to question our warm-upbecause we’re not used to racing like that. You just don’t want to wasteanything.”
With sprinter Tina Pic (Genesis Scuba) taking second, Armstrong knowsthat keeping her lead through to the final day will require some vigilancein tomorrow’s circuit race. With time bonuses going to the top three tomorrow,Armstrong said she and her squad will have to keep a close eye on Pic inthe final sprint.
“I’ve learned over time that time bonuses are critical,” said Armstrong.“They do add up.”
Sea Otter Classic Road Race – Stage 1
Prologue Time Trial
1. Kristin Armstrong, T-Mobile, 3:02.26
2. Tina Pic, Genesis Scuba, 3:07.40
3. Stacey Peters, T-Mobile, 3:08.94
4. Laura Van Gilder, Genesis Scuba, 3:09.07
5. Lauren Franges, Victory Brewing, 3:10.98
6. Melissa Sanborn, Wells Fargo, 3:11.21
7. Mari Holden, T-Mobile, 3:12.66
8. Lyne Bessette, Quark, 3:12.71
9. Catherine Powers, La Grange, 3:13.32
10. Rook Campbell, Genesis Scuba. 3:13.49Men
1. Hayden Godfrey, HealthNet, 2:43.03
2. Gord Fraser, HealthNet, 2:46
3. Eric Wohlberg, Sierra Nevada, 2:47
4. Jason Lokkesmoe, HealthNet, 2:49
5. Charles Dionne, Webcor, 2:51
6. Chris Horner, Webcor, 2:52
7. Dan Schmatz, HealthNet, 2:53
8. Matt Duberly, Suerra Nevada, 2:54
9. Michael Jones, HealthNet, 2:55
10. Brice Jones, HealthNet, same time