Zirbel 2nd in USPRO TT
BISSELL's Tom Zirbel finished 2nd today in the USPRO Time Trial to winner for the fourth consecutive year, Garmin's Dave Zabriskie. This race has been a goal of Tom's since finishing second last year to Zabriskie by a margin of 5 seconds. However, today Zabriskie tore up the pavement and definitively won the race by 44 seconds over Tom despite putting in a colossal effort. The technical 33.4K course did push the limit on Tom's 200 pound 6'4" frame, but he still managed to beat his 2008 time on the same course by over 20 seconds.
The very small start list of 23 riders contained the largest team rosters from BISSELL, OUCH, and Jelly Belly who each raced 4 riders, and the only 2 pro tour riders were Zabriskie and his teammate, Mike Friedman. Many other teams withheld from racing the TT knowing that they couldn't contest the Zabriskie/Zirbel dual and hoped to reserve strength for the road race. BISSELL had a solid performance today and looks forward to battling it out tomorrow.
Greenville resident, George Hincapie, wooed his hometown crowds as he once again took the stars and stripes for the third time in his career. The always brutal Greenville course had 95 starters with only 43 finishing.
As in years past, the race went off with some early showmanship when Dave Zabriskie took off in the first opening lap in Greenville and managed to stay away through the second large lap including 2 trips up the uncompromising Paris Mountain. There were some efforts in the chase and BISSELL was well represented with Tom Zirbel, Paul Mach, and Shelden Deeny all part of the main chase group. Zabriskie was finally brought back as the riders headed into the 3rd large lap, and the serious racing began.
As soon as Zabriskie was reabsorbed, counterattacks ensued. A break of 4 got off and Andy Jacques-Maynes was the solo chaser. Andy put forth a huge effort in this incredibly tough spot but was never able to catch the group. As the pace in the lead group escalated, riders were dropped leaving only 2, Alex Howes (Garmin) and Chris Jones (Team Type 1). BISSELL again tried to reach the lead group as Frank Pipp went off in chase. Frank eventually bridged up to the leaders and the group of 3 worked well together. The screaming tempo resulted in Jones being the sole leader as Pipp and Howes were eventually dropped. The main group finally reduced the gap to Jones to 20 seconds at which point Hincapie made his move. George took a few riders with him and they were able to bridge up to Jones.
The lead group gradually grew to 8 on the final ascent up Paris Mountain. Not content to let the dangerous group get away, a strong chase group of 9 immerged including BISSELL’s Burke Swindlehurst. The chase group was not able to reel them in, however, and the gap grew from 30 seconds to over a minute in the final lap in downtown Greenville.
After a late attack from BMC’s Jeff Louder, 3 riders, Hincapie, Louder, and Andrew Bajadali (Kelly Benefits) battled for the win. Bajadali attacked on the final turn but Hincapie patiently sat on his wheel and seemed to come around with ease to take the win. Louder crossed for 3rd. Top BISSELL riders Burke Swindlehurst and Ben Jacques-Maynes finished 15th and 21st, respectively. 2009 provided a hot and exciting challenge between the top US pros in Greenville.
The Greenville Hospital System USA Cycling Professional Championships return to Greenville, South Carolina for the fourth year August 29-30 and pit the bulk of the domestic peloton against select ProTour riders in a battle for stars and stripes jerseys in the time trial and road race.
2009 marks the 25th anniversary of the one-day road race national championships.
A small group of specialists will contest the mostly flat, 20.7-mile time trial on Saturday. Dave Zabriskie (Garmin-Slipstream) is the odds-on favorite to earn his fourth-consecutive national title in the race of truth. Zabriskie has not been beaten on the Greenville course, although Tom Zirbel (Bissell) came close in 2008, finishing five seconds off Zabriskie’s winning time of 40.39.
This could be Zirbel’s year to pull on the stars and stripes skinsuit. He won nearly every NRC time trial in 2009, including the final tune-up prior to the championships at the Tour of Utah. The individual NRC leader outpaced Zabriskie by 23 seconds in Utah and threw his hat into the ring as co-favorite. The Utah course was nearly pancake flat and served as an indicator of the specialists’ form ahead of nationals.
Other favorites for the time trial include Steven Cozza (Garmin-Slipstream) and Scott Zwizanski (Kelly Benefit Strategies).
Riders will contest the 110-mile road race on Sunday. The road race follows two circuits – one long and one short – and includes four ascents of Paris Mountain near Furman University. The climb has factored heavily in each of the championships since 2006, whittling the lead group each year to a handful of leaders and launching George Hincapie, Levi Leipheimer and Tyler Hamilton to wins in 2006, 2007 and 2008, respectively.
Defending champion Hamilton will not be at the start in Greenville after accepting his second racing ban for doping earlier this year. This is the second consecutive year that the defending champion will be absent – Leipheimer missed the 2008 championships to ride the Vuelta a España. Leipheimer will also miss the start on Sunday, still recovering from a fractured wrist suffered in stage 13 at the Tour de France.
The bulk of the race-making is likely to fall to the Garmin-Slipstream squad, which placed three riders in the top four in 2008. The ProTour team’s development squad recently swept the men’s U23 national championships in Bend, Oregon.
With Columbia-HTC teammate Craig Lewis expected to be out with the H1N1 virus, 2006 champion and hometown favorite Hincapie will face a difficult task, riding solo on Sunday. Hincapie was heavily marked in 2008 and should see the same level of attention in 2009.
Fresh off strong results at the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah, the BMC Racing Team, where some say Hincapie will ride in 2010, will rival Garmin-Slipstream’s firepower in Greenville. BMC lists seven riders on the preliminary startlist, with Jeff Louder and Brent Bookwalter both capable of podium finishes Sunday afternoon. Louder finished fifth in Greenville in 2008 and hopes to continue the form that landed him the highest American finish at last week’s Tour of Utah, in third overall.
Other domestic teams will bring their “A” games to Greenville in a bid to upset the heavyweights. Many of the domestic leaders have directed their late season focus to the final two weeks of August in order to peak ahead of the Tour of Utah and the national championships.
Domestic favorites to factor in the finale include Ben Jacques-Maynes (Bissell), Chris Baldwin (OUCH-Maxxis), Andrew Bajadali (Kelly Benefit Strategies) and Phil Zajicek (Fly V Australia). Each have shown good form recently, although Bajadali abandoned in Utah with respiratory illness and Zajicek, who suffered severe cramping in Utah, will ride solo.
Coming at the peak of contract season and allowing teams to field all of their American license holders, the road race is a uniquely tactical race. Riders like Ted King (Cervélo TestTeam) who ride for international teams line up against teams fielding rosters of anywhere between two and ten riders.
In 2006, Zabriskie and Leipheimer, who rode for CSC and Gerolsteiner, respectively, shared race radio and caravan support with Hincapie, his Discovery Channel teammate Jason McCartney and their director Viatcheslav Ekimov.
Assuming they make the breakaway on Sunday, a team like Garmin-Slipstream, which fields arguably the strongest squad in the race, will be able to ride defensively for much of the race, awaiting the perfect opportunity to attack. This tactic failed the team in 2008, however, as Blake Caldwell lost the two-up sprint to Hamilton by a tire width.
With Garmin expected to play a dominant role on Sunday, it may be well worth watching what kind of cooperation – if any – Hincapie gets from BMC riders in the field. It might well provide an early answer to speculation about his plans for next season.
Weather on the way
With thunderstorms and temperatures in the upper 80’s F forecasted this weekend, weather could play a central role in the outcome of both races. Tropical Storm Danny is approaching the Carolina coast as well and could bring heavy rains and winds to Greenville. Windy, wet conditions could make the start order in Saturday’s time trial very important, as riders attempt to out-whit Mother Nature.
In the road race, a strong, attentive team could shred the peloton in heavy winds, while the technical inner circuit could become treacherous in the rain, allowing a strong-willed rider to jump away from the group near the finish.
Whether under sunny skies or a cloak of rain, new national time trial and road race champions will raise their arms atop the podium this weekend in Greenville.
Tom Zirbel of the BISSELL Pro Cycling Team has won most of the time trials this year on the NRC circuit and today he faces his biggest race of the year, the US Greenville Hospital System USA Cycling Professional Time Trial Championship. Last year, Zirbel finished in second place, less than five seconds from the three-time champion David Zabriskie (Garmin-Slipstream).
On Friday afternoon, a calm Zirbel stated that he hadn’t changed his preparation much since last year but he is more confident in himself and his abilities this year. Confidence that comes from winning and also from experience.
“I’m a year older, I still feel like I’m new at this sport, I’m 31 racing age but I got into late, this is my second full season as a pro, I had a full season in 2006, 2007 injuries, 2008 injuries, so that has helped, and it’s just time and I’m ready to take another step up.”
In 2007, Zirbel sat out most of the season with a blood clot, In 2008, he crashed out of the Tour of the Gila with a broken collarbone where upon his return he won the Tour of Elk Grove prologue, the Tour of Utah time trial and the second place at US Pro TT. He started off strong in 2009 by finishing seventhat the Tour of California Time Trial in Solvang, the only domestic rider to crack the top 10, and then went on to dominate the NRC time trials during the season.
While most time trials in North America are short, certainly shorter than the 20.7 mile (33.3 km) championship course, Zirbel doesn’t train specifically for prologues and ten-minute time trials but choses to focus on 20- and 40-minute efforts.
“If you look at the aerobic contribution of a 15-minute time trial and a 40-minute time trial, it’s about the same, maybe a percent or so different. It’s using the same system and it’s a matter of just not loading your legs with that lactic acid too soon and that comes down to perceived effort.”
One tool is his arsenal is visualization, something he didn’t practice very often last year.
“Vizualization, it kept me up a couple of nights this week, even in Utah there were a couple of times I started going down that road and ‘oh it’s a little early, we have work to do in Utah’. I knew all the corners, where you have to scrub off a little speed and how fast you can take this corner and it’s been awhile.”
Interestingly, Zirbel can’t tell if he’s setting a good time during the race itself.
“I didn’t think I was going well in Utah. I had a good first half in Utah and then the second half, out there on the track, I felt like I was creeping, I just go by perceived effort, that’s all you can ask for in a time trial is to be completely smashed at the end.” said Zirbel who did win the Tour of Utah time trial. “Not going ‘I should have done this differently or I should have went harder here’, that’s not going to happen tomorrow, I’m going to make sure of it, I’m going to make sure that I had the best race that I could of had. After that, it’s out of my hands.”
“Maybe a little vomit if you’re lucky, just keep the cameras rolling” laughed Zirbel when I asked if it was all about smashed by the end.
During the forty-minutes of so, he will keep his mind focused on thoughts such as “’am I going too hard?’, ‘am I going hard enough’, ‘I have to set up for this turn’, ‘I can take it this fast’. ” He then added with a chuckle “Forty minutes of focus I can do that right? ”
No outside input as Zirbel usually does not use a race radio. At last year’s race, he had one to get time checks but is “is leaning towards not this year.”
With a start time of 12:06pm, Zirbel is the second-to-last rider to go out of the gate, with only one rider, Zabriskie, racing the course two-minutes after him.
The final day of racing in Utah concluded with a 90 minute crit in downtown Salt Lake City. The pace was screaming from the start as Rock Racing rode a tough tempo at the front in protection of their GC leader, Francisco Mancebo. BMC looked to spotlight the day for Utah's BMC rider, Jeff Louder, as they sent off an early break containing Brent Bookwalter (BMC). Bookwalter was joined by California Giant's Justin England and the duo built a 10 second gap.
Meanwhile, two chasers, Dave Zabriskie (Garmin) and David Veilleux (KBS), brigded up to the pair and the new leaders were able to build up a 20 second gap. Rock Racing kept close tabs on the 4 and eventually they were brought back.
As soon as the catch occured, there were instant counter attacks. BISSELL riders, Jeremy Vennell and Frank Pipp, were involved in several of the moves and narrow gaps were formed; however, all were together going into the final lap. Bernie Sulzberger (Fly V) shot out of the final corner taking the win ahead of US criterium champion, John Murphy (OUCH).
BISSELL wrapped up a successful Tour of Utah with a stage win, 2 days on the podium, 4 top 5 stage finishes, and a 6th place overall.
The BISSELL Pro Cycling Team defined team racing as they delivered Burke Swindlehurst to a 2nd place finish at the Tour of Utah's Queen Stage from Park City to Snowbird. Right out of the neutral laps in Park City, it was evident that BISSELL had one goal for the day and that was to support Burke on the stage.
Morgan Schmitt was the first BISSELL to be involved in the early brief attacks. At 14k into the brutal 159k stage, 3 BISSELL riders, Burke Swindlehurst, Ben Jacques-Maynes, and Jeremy Vennell, made the move of the day and were followed by Alex Howes (Felt-Garmin), Glen Chadwick (Rock Racing), Dan Bowman (Kelly Benefits), Andy Guptill (Colavita), Ian McGregor (Team Type 1), and Ben King (Fly V). BISSELL drove the break and took advantage of a relatively apathetic peloton. Jeremy was on first watch and turned himself inside out as he motored the group up the Alpine Loop and into the base of the Sundance Climb. After his huge effort, Jeremy fell off the group as they ascended Sundance.
Back in the peloton, Rock was getting little help from other teams and the gap was able to grow to a maximum of 9 minutes. The lead group continued to drill down the very technical descent of Sundance and eventually to the base of the final climb up Little Cottonwood Canyon. BJM and Burke had two concerns in the break, Howes who was their main threat in the GC and Chadwick who was the strongest climber in the group. Keeping the threats in mind, BJM came to the front of the group and drove a monstrous tempo hoping to wear out Howes.
Meanwhile, Chadwick was a concern because he was relatively rested after having sat in the break all day due to Mancebo's (Rock Racing) position in the main group. BJM drilled the group and after his final sacrificial effort, he fell off 8k from the finish. However, Ben's efforts had succeeded in wearing down the group. Burke was left to mark Howes and Chadwick on his own.
At 7k from the finish, Howes made a schenanigans-type move where he grabbed a hot dog from a fan, took a bite, and attacked. This was the move that would deliver him victory. Before Burke could realize this was in fact a threat, it was too late. He tried to claw his way up to Howes to the huge cheers from his hometown fans; however, the youth of the move would prove too much. Howes went onto take the win with Burke finishing 37 seconds back for 2nd. Back in the chase, Mancebo hunted the leaders solo after having shed the support of his teammates, and he was able to overtake everyone from the origanal break except for Howes and Burke. Mancebo finished 3rd and maintained his lead in the GC.
Burke's 2nd place finish would bring him up to 6th in the GC; however, this was not his goal and he is disappointed to have narrowly missed out on the stage win. Eric Wohlberg, team director, says "no matter what the end result was today, this was an outstanding race by the whole BISSELL Team".
Zirbel Crushes TT Rivals in Utah
Tom Zirbel (BISSELL) once again dominated the time trial in an astounding fashion by a margin of 14 seconds over 2nd placed rider, Ian McKissick (BMC), and 19 seconds over 3rd place finisher, Brent Bookwalter. The BISSELL time trialists mastered the speedway at Miller Motorsports Park and placed 3 riders in the top 10. New Zealand Time Trial Champion Jeremy Vennell (BISSELL) had a strong 4th place finish losing out on the podium by only 3 seconds, and Ben Jacques-Maynes finished 6th best on the day.
The week's racing has been a tough one, and Tom reflects on things coming into Friday. "I have been feeling average this week but have been trying to maintain positive thinking remembering that this is a max 20 min effort", says Tom. On the course Tom says, "I felt really strong on the front half of the course but then lost a bit when I got to the track". But Tom's doubt that his lead would not hold was not to be, and he won the Utah time trial stage for the second year in a row.
In the general classification, BJM and Burke sit in 12th and 13th places, respectively, and are 3:03/3:04 minutes back. Saturday's 155K Queen Stage will be one for the climbers. A stage with massive climbs over Sundance and Little Cottonwood Canyon can certainly produce significant time gaps and Burke hopes to use this to his advantage.
Thursday's final 20 mile ascent up Mount Nebo shattered the peloton but BISSELL's Burke Swindlehurst was in the select group to finish in the top 10.
The race started off with a 7.6 mile neutral zone but the riders quickly got to work forcing early paces of 45 MPH with a lot of frequent attacks. None of the early attacks would stick until a 6 man break including BISSELL's Frank Pipp got successfully off and built up a maximum gap close to 4 minutes. As the race approached Mount Nebo, both the break and the peloton began to fall apart. The 6 man break was reduced to 4 with Pipp remaining in the front group but eventually they, too, were reabsorbed.
A new lead group emerged and included eventual stage winner, Darren Lill (Team Type 1). Lill attacked the front group and went on to take the win 21 seconds ahead of Rock Racing's Mancebo and BMC's Louder who finished in 2nd and 3rd, respectively.
BISSELL's Ben Jacques-Maynes reflects on a tough day, "no amount of acclimation was going to help with that effort." BJM finished 2:59 back and fell to 17th place. Burke currently sits in 11th place in the overall and is 2:50 behind race leader, Mancebo. Tomorrow's individual time trial will offer BISSELL the opportunity to capitalize on the stage.
Rock Racing's climbing specialists, Francisco Mancebo and Oscar Sevilla, shattered the field on the top of the final climb up Big Mountain but BISSELL's Ben Jacques-Maynes and Burke Swindlehurst rode out of their minds finishing in the top group.
The day's 137k started out with several attacks over the first climb and Frank Pipp, Paul Mach, and Omer Kem provided good coverage. The most significant move came at the 2nd intermediate sprint when Brad White (OUCH) and Sam Bewley (Trek-Livestrong) attacked and built up a 3:30 gap. After the pair had been together for 30k, Bewley fell off White's pace while Brad continued his strong climb. BMC led the chase over the climb and at the top crest of Big Mountain Moises Aldape (Team Type 1) attacked the group. Mancebo and Sevilla got on his wheel and the trio caught White on the final part of the climb. Mancebo and Sevilla put in another attack and shed White and Aldape. The duo soared down the descent crossing the finish together with Mancebo getting the win. A diminished field came through 25 seconds back with David Veilleux (Kelly Benefits) taking the field sprint for 3rd.
BJM and Burke came in with the lead group. BJM sits in 5th overall at 25 seconds back and Burke keeps the leaders in sight at 55 seconds back.
Thursday's 20 mile finishing climb up Mt. Nebo will again test the riders and continue to define this as the toughest climbing race in the USA.
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., August 17, 2009 – Tomorrow, BISSELL Pro Cycling’s Burke Swindlehurst will lead his team’s eight-man roster six days of some of the toughest racing on the NRC calendar, the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah. A Utah native, Swindlehurst finished fourth overall at the same race in both 2008 and 2006. “I’m feeling very excited for the Tour of Utah,” he said. “I have unfinished business with the race after twice finishing one spot off the podium. I intend to change that this time around.”
Swindlehurst will be joined by teammates Ben Jacques-Maynes, Tom Zirbel, Frank Pipp, Paul Mach, Omer Kem, Jeremy Vennell, and Morgan Schmitt. The strong, well-rounded squad has been training in Utah, where they’ve ridden this year’s course and worked to become acclimated to the altitude and extreme climbing that marks the course.
BISSELL’s strong time trialists will look to take advantage of the two time trial stages, the opening prologue and the stage 3 time trial at the Miller Motorsports Park where Zirbel finished first last year. The team hopes to be in position to set up Swindlehurst for the stage 4, Queen Stage, which takes the riders from Park City to the mountain-top finish at Snowbird. Swindlehurst finished the stage in fourth place last year and will be concentrating his efforts here to make the difference in the overall. “I’m very much looking forward to racing on the roads I regularly train on and in front of a hometown crowd,” said Swindlehurst.
The BISSELL Pro Cycling Team sits in good position after Tuesday's 4.5K opening prologue.
Ben Jacques-Maynes was the first BISSELL rider to take the course. He was the 10th rider off and set a blistering pace of 6:16 which held as the fastest time of the day until eventual stage winner, Brent Bookwalter (BMC), came through 3 seconds faster. Tom Zirbel was the fourth last rider on the course and had a time of 6:21 in 10th place. Jeremy Vennell finished in 12th and Paul Mach rounds out the top 20. Frank Pipp, Morgan Schmitt, and Burke Swindlehurst all sit within 25 seconds of the leader.
BISSELL is in good shape as they head into 85 miles of substantial climbing of stage 1. Director, Eric Wohlberg says, "For once we do not have any responsibility to defend from the gun and can allocate energy into playing the cards instead of holding them."
Pipp Dominates 1st Day of Racing at Downers Grove Harsh Weather and Numerous Crashes Make for a Difficult 2nd Day
BISSELL’s Frank Pipp used his great racing sense to time his win perfectly in Saturday’s Downers Grove opener. Frank attacked out of an early 20-man break in the 50K race on the historic crit course. He was quickly followed by Jeremy Powers (Jelly Belly) and pursued a bit further back by Karl Menzies (OUCH). Menzies eventually made it across to the duo with a lap to go, and Frank brilliantly marked the strong sprinter going into the final lap. Powers attacked his break mates on the finishing lap, while Frank forced Menzies to follow, knowing that there was not much left in his energy reserves. Going into the finish, Frank overtook the pair for the smart win. BISSELL’s Andy Jacques-Maynes also came through in the main group for an 11th place finish.
Sunday’s National Criterium Championships was marred by thunderous skies and late race crashes. After 2 rain delays, the 100K criterium eventually got underway. Luis Amaran (Colavita) was in an early solo breakaway and built up over a minute gap on the main group with two chasers, Mike Creed (Team Type 1) and Dan Bowman (Kelly Benefits) inching closer every lap. Back in the peloton, the group knew it was going to be a long and tough day. BISSELL did an outstanding job of keeping the race in check and consistently rotated BISSELL riders to the front of the group to maintain control. With 20 laps to go, Amaran, Creed, and Bowman consolidated efforts; however, 3 laps later they were absorbed by the group. As the end of the race neared and the riders had the stars and stripes jersey in their sights, the race became even more aggressive and the wet road conditions caused even more problems. In the final 15 laps, there were several significant crashes leaving Andy Jacques-Maynes in 8th overall, and the only finishing rider for BISSELL. None of the BISSELL riders were seriously injured, but most walked away with some painful reminders of a tough fought battle.
By VeloNews.com Updated: Sep 26th 2010 7:41 PM EDT
By Mark Zalewski
The Saturday evening before the national criterium championships in Downers Grove, Illinois, is traditionally reserved for pro-am races for the men and women, half of the distances of the main events on Sunday.
But with money on the line the racing is an odd combination of sprinting for dollars while saving something for Sunday’s big event ? or doing one’s best to avoid disaster the night before the title match.
For the men’s defending champion Rahsaan Bahati (Rock Racing) the wiser choice was pulling out of the race well before the finish, and for the women it was Brook Miller (TIBCO) easing off on the gas on the final lap. But for others it was an early pay-day, as Frank Pipp (Bissell) and Kat Carrol (TIBCO) took the wins, both out of breakaways.
In the men’s race the 50km was run on ever-darkening streets, making the later laps a challenge on the darker corners. This could have contributed to the large number of breakaways rolling off the front, in groups of two and three. In the final laps there was a pair of two riders, Frank Pipp and Jeremy Powers (Jelly Belly), with a big gap and no organization in the small groups behind, or the field far behind.
“Each of us on the team wanted to hit the front and open up the legs for tomorrow, but not take any big chances ? if it was a field sprint I don’t think we would have contested it,” said Pipp about the team strategy. “Our whole team is riding great and I happened to be the lucky one to get in the group that went to the line.”
But out of the small groups behind came a forceful bridge from Pipp’s former teammate Karl Menzies (OUCH-Maxxis), looking to spoil the party as the race entered the final lap.
“I knew he was coming up to us so I attacked Jeremy [Powers] over the top but I didn’t get much of a gap. Then Karl got to his wheel but I was just dangling off the front, so I shut it down. They caught me on turn four and then Jeremy went and I looked at Karl ? he ended up going but didn’t quite get across to Jeremy and then I jumped across to him going into the last turn and ended up passing him.”
Rahsan Bahati was not showing any of his cards, riding on the front only early in the race and then floating to the back, a normal place for him mid-race, then finally shutting it down before the business end of the race.
The women’s race saw a breakaway finish as well, but the solo variety with Kat Carroll taking it to the line, not at all worried about needing to save some for Sunday.
“This race is always a great opener and if you can’t go hard for two days in a row you probably shouldn’t be a professional!” she laughed.
“I’m coming off some great racing in Europe, Cascade and nationals, so I have some good form right now. It was great to get a chance to open it up before tomorrow. I seem to be in a break here every odd year on this night, but usually with a couple of people ? this was the first time solo and my first win of the year.”
With Carroll up the road her teammate and defending national champion Brooke Miller was able to sit back on the final laps, out of danger. But she opened the racing up early taking a flyer on the first lap and getting in a three-rider break that lasted a few laps ? signaling to the rest of the field that while she may of had a slow start to the season she will be ready to go for the stars and stripes tomorrow.
“I feel fantastic!” said Miller. “I am very excited and I feel great. I am just coming onto form because I had a sick winter so I never really got early season training in. I never really felt like I have gotten into stride this season and never felt like myself. So now I just feel really good for this part of the season.”
Miller also said that even if the race came down to a field sprint that she was not likely to contest it, as that would be giving away the secret on how to win in the final turn of the technical figure-eight course ? something that Tina Pic (Colavita-Sutter Home) did for her last year.
From Tim Farnham:
The biggest race in Grand Rapids on Wednesday night's are out at the Grattan race track just east of town. It is a 2 mile somewhat hilly track that is normally used for race cars or prototype cars from the big 3.
The race started out as normal with a few attacks from the local strongmen. I like to do some early attacking as well since it gets me fired up and ready to drop the hammer later on ;-) Eventually Nathan Williams (BISSELL Elite) and I were in an 11 man break with about 30 seconds on the group. We were all rotating through pretty smoothly sans some shenanigans by a select few. Then at about 5 laps to go, Nathan thought it was a good idea to attack up the short kicker before the start/finish line. He and I went and the break got strung out, but nobody was willing to do the work needed to reel us back in. Every lap we added about 10 seconds to our lead. Nathan sucked up t
From Tim Farnham's Blog on August 11, 2009:
This trip has been a blast so far. My bro Tommy and I have been exploring the Grand Rapids night life (which is killer) and riding daily. Friday was the BISSELL company ride. Basically, all the BISSELL pros in town met at the BISSELL HQ for a meet and greet with the employees and all sponsors that felt like riding. We rode out of town and were greeted with a nice warm rain. It felt pretty good actually :-)
From Jonathan Coulter, Soigneur:
Newlywed Bissell Pro Cycling speedster Frank Pipp dug deep into his bag of tricks in an effort to outscheme a powerful Colavita armada at last nights mid-week Fuze Salisbury Criterium, part of the Giordana Crossroads Classic in North Carolina.
With full squads from Colavita, Mountain Khakis, DLP and Kenda in attendance, Pipp was ably supported by the previous nights 4th place finisher Cody O'Reilly, Peter Latham and Andy Jacques Maynes. With the race starting at 8:45pm on a technical, 8 corner downtown circuit, it was not long before the attacks started flying down main street. Pipp, making the most of his positioning at the head of the peleton, saw an opening only 15 minutes into the 60 minute slugfest and launched off the front. He was quickly tagged by Colavita speedster Sebastian Haedo and Mountain Khakis' Isaac Howe, and the trio began the arduous task of advancing their lead on the aggressive peleton.
After several laps of lung busting effort, vigilant marking by Pete Latham and Andy Jacques-Maynes saw the impetus taken out from the bunch, and the gap to Pipp and the other escapees extended out to 35 seconds.
With Pipps ability to win races from small breakaways, Colavita knew they had to send another rider up to the break to offset his cunning, and after rapidfire attempts by Luca Damiani, Alejandro Borrajo and Kyle Walmsley, it was Luis Amaran that escaped the peleton's clutches and began making headway on the break.
Over the final 15 laps Pipp was forced to do the lions share of the work as Amaran closed in. To the roar of the crowd Amaran made the juncture with only two corners remaining, flying past the breakaway. Outgunned against the two Colavitas, Pipp latched onto his wheel and coming out of the final turn was forced to begin the sprint. With 100 metres to go it looked like his power would save the day, but alas Haedo and Howe managed to rush by on the line. Andy Jacques-Maynes was 8th.
"It was great to be able to represent Bissell at this excellent series put on by Giordana," said Pipp.
Pipp and the Bissell riders will now rest up before this weekends NRC double header in Charlotte and Hanes Park.
By: Kirsten FrattiniPublished: August 6, 2009, 22:24
BMC, Rock Racing get acclimated to altitude with pre-Tour camps
Several US-based teams with strong contenders for the overall are taking this year's Tour of Utah seriously enough to hold pre-event training camps to prepare for the six-stage race set to begin on August 18.
Set in the mountains near Salt Lake City, Utah, the race will hit elevations as high as 2600m (8,500 feet), and riders need to prepare for the altitude well in advance.
The camps come at the expense of participation in this weekend's National Calendar criteriums, the Presbyterian Hospital Invitational and Hanes Park Classic, which offer up nearly the same amount of points toward the series overall, but over more challenging terrain.
Team BMC is one outfit that headed out early to prepare for what is arguably the toughest stage race in the US. Defending champion Jeff Louder, who resides in Salt Lake City, will be joined by his teammates for a 10-day training camp aimed at scouting the decisive climbs, but more importantly allowing riders time to acclimate to the higher altitude.
"The critical selection takes place at high elevation and it's hard to race at high elevation without being acclimated physiologically." said Gavin Chilcott, directeur sportif.
"There is a difference in styles to race effectively at altitude. Even if you're completely acclimated, you don't have the ability to race the same as you would at sea level. Being on the higher resistance on long climbs is important, but it's also about getting used to producing high output at high elevation."
After a short prologue, stage one of this year's event passes over Big Mountain (2000m) before a stage two finish atop Mt. Nebo (2600m). A technical time trial offers a break in the climbing before riders hit the second mountain finish at the Snowbird ski resort (2500m). The race concludes on August 23rd with a flat criterium.
Last year, BMC's team training camp in Utah bore fruit when Louder won the overall title. This year, top-notch squads like Rock Racing and Bissell have caught on to the importance of preparing at higher elevation and are taking the extra time to reconnoitre the key ascents of the race.
"Just to survive, guys are going early," said Tom Zirbel, the team's time trial specialist from Boulder, Colorado. "Some of the team is going to Utah early but I'm at altitude anyway so I won't be going. They wanted to do some riding, see the courses and try to get accustom to the altitude.
"The altitude itself plays a big role and the courses are so selective. I don't see myself as one of the guys fighting for the win, it's Burke's [Swindlehurst] race to win, he's our best shot."
Oscar Sevilla,the winner of this year's Cascade Cycling Classic, is aiming at putting on another winning show at the Tour of Utah. He and his teammates are also taking the time to preview the parcours before the racing begins.
"The Tour of Utah is very similar to Cascade," said Sevilla after his win in July. "There is a lot of climbing and I want to have a good race there. I will go to Los Angeles for a few days to recover and then take a week training camp in Utah to prepare for the stage race."
The National Racing Calendar mens individual race remains tight as we enter the dog days of August, with Bissell’s Tom Zirbel retaking the lead from defending champ Rory Sutherland at last weekend’s Tour of Elk Grove stage race. Zirbel won the Elk Grove opening time trial and wound up third overall.
Colavita-Sutter Home’s Sebastian Haedo, who won stage 2 at Elk Grove also moved past Sutherland into second. Sutherland (OUCH-Maxxis) finished out of the points at the race.
Karl Menzies (OUCH) won the Elk Grove overall and now sits fifth in the individual rankings.
Team Bissell also holds the lead in the NRC team rankings.
The Elk Grove women’s race was not part of the NRC so the women’s standings are unchanged from last week. Team Type 1’s Alison Powers continues to hold a substantial lead over Olympian Kristin Armstrong (Cervelo) and newcomer Evie Stevens (Webcor).
GRAND RAPIDS -- Imagine serving as host of a major sporting event in the heart of your hometown.
It's an idea Graham Howard will come close to fulfilling Saturday when the Meijer Grand Cycling Classic returns to some of the brick-lined streets of downtown Grand Rapids.
The third annual pro-am cycling criterium features hundreds of riders, including Howard and fellow Bissell Pro Cycling Team members, competing for a $12,000 purse.
"From March to early September, I'm in and out of town competing, and I spend a fair amount of the winters cycling in California," said Howard, a graduate of Grand Rapids Christian and Calvin College. "So when the Grand Classic comes to town, it's a very special day for me and the entire Bissell team since the company is based here.
"It's also special because the area has come out to support this race. The community comes out and lines the streets and has a good time. It's a rare chance to see some of the finest cyclists in the U.S. come to town to race through downtown."
Howard, 24, a philosophy major, became interested in competitive cycling after being introduced to a friend's neighbor, who also rode competitively.
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