August 31, 2009
Hincapie takes US title
Garmin-Slipstream's Dave Zabriskie launched the race with a blistering attack that's become almost as much a Greenville tradition as his metronomic victories in the Saturday time trial. Dave Z's pace shed a lot of riders, but he was recaptured at around the halfway point and the pace settled down a bit.
On the final climb of Paris Mountain, an 8-man group rode away from the field, featuring Hincapie, Andrew Bajadali and Matthew Busche of Kelly Benefits, Jeff Louder and Brent Bookwalter of BMC (rumored to be Hincapie's 2010 team), Patrick McCarty of Ouch, Phil Zajicek of Fly V Australia, and Chris Jones of Team Type 1, who had already spent a lot of time off the front.
Missing that break were all of Garmin-Slipstream and Bissell's riders, and a group of 9 chased less than a minute behind Hincapie, but could never close the gap. On the final short circuit of around 4 miles, Jeff Louder launched a solo move, but Hincapie and Bajadali matched it in the last kilometer. Bajadali tried to launch the sprint from a long way out, and Hincapie came around him on the downhill finishing straight for the title.
Hincapie was mobbed about 50 meters beyond the finish, even before the course was neutralized, by around 100 fans. He spoke fondly of his adopted hometown and what it means to him to win on his home roads, before Steve Johnson of USA Cycling and Greenville Mayor Knox White announced that the race weekend will return in 2010.
I've posted a few pictures to a Flickr photoset, with more to come.
August 30, 2009
Zabriskie takes 4th consecutive US TT title
Bissell's Tom Zirbel was 2nd, in 40:21, which was 10 seconds faster than Zabriskie's 2008 time on the same course. Unfortunately for Zirbel, Zabriskie went nearly a minute faster than 2008 Dave Z.
Rounding out the podium was another Z, Kelly Benefit's Scott Zwizanski, with a 41:18.
Floyd Landis' first showing at the Greenville championships was unimpressive, in 21st of 23 with a 46:30. Landis was reportedly coasting on a number of the course downhills, and may have been saving his energy for the tough road race on Sunday.
I've posted a few of my TT pictures -- there are definitely more to come.
August 29, 2009
US Pro Time Trial Championship today
The pros are contesting the US time trial title later today in Greenville. I'm on the scene, snapping photos like crazy, and am looking forward to the Tweetup at 3:30 at Barley's Taproom in downtown Greenville.
It's the same course as last year, won by David Zabriskie for his third consecutive title. It's an up-and-down course, very well-suited to spectators, and Zabriskie has to be the favorite to repeat. Here's the start list and a course map. The TT at the Tour of Utah last week threw a bit of a monkey wrench into the works, as Tom Zirbel, 2nd in Greenville last year, beat Captain America by 25 seconds on a flatter course. Other guys to watch are Stephen Cozza, Ben Jacques-Maynes and Scott Zwizanski. Floyd Landis races the Greenville circuit for the first time.
August 16, 2009
US “second season” ready to kick off
The UCI-level US race calendar is dominated by races in the spring (the Tour of California and formerly the Tour de Georgia) and the fall. With Labor Day approaching, it's time for some racing.
The second season flag drops on Tuesday with the 6-stage Tour of Utah. Billing itself as “America's Toughest Stage Race,” Utah's tour will have mostly UCI Continental teams, including Floyd Landis and the OUCH Pro Cycling Team, Freddie Rodriguez, Ivan Dominguez, and Oscar Sevilla for Rock Racing, Phil Zajicek and Ben Day for Fly V, and Ben Jacques-Maynes and Tom Zirbel for Bissell Pro.
BMC Racing is the lone UCI Pro Continental squad in the race, featuring Jeff Louder, Brent Bookwalter, Jackson Stewart, and Ian McKissick. Also racing, in a solo effort, will be Utah's own Dave Zabriskie of Team Garmin-Slipstream.
In two weeks, most of the top American riders will gather in Greenville, SC, for the USA Cycling Pro Championships weekend. If you're in the southeast and you love bike racing, this is a fantastic event. There's an extremely fan-friendly time trial course raced on Saturday, and a challenging road course on Sunday that shows off both Greenville's downtown and the local geography, with Paris Mountain traditionally winnowing the field dramatically on each of the race's laps.
As far as I know, there are no rider confirmations for Greenville yet, but I would be surprised if Zabriskie doesn't defend his 3 consecutive TT titles, and if his Garmin-Slipstream doesn't bring a formidable squad after being denied the title by Tyler Hamilton (above) last year. Also, we're planning a Tweetup for Saturday afternoon in Greenville, details to come via Twitter.
Finally, kicking off on September 7, with the most star-studded field, is the Tour of Missouri. Two of the 2009 Tour de France's overall jersey winners, Mark Cavendish and Franco Pellizotti, will take the start, alongside ProTour rosters from Saxo Bank, Liquigas, Astana, Quick Step, Cervelo Test Team, Team Columbia-HTC, and Garmin-Slipstream. Astana's Levi Leipheimer is expected to return from his Tour wrist injury for the Tour of Missouri, and Saxo Bank's Jens Voigt suggested on the team website he may also make his return in Missouri.
If you're within driving distance of any of these races, you should check them out.