Rally Cycling's Tom Zirbel is no stranger to the top step of time trial podiums. The 37-year-old, who is entering his final pro season, has accumulated and impressive number of victories in the race against the clock, and he wants to add a few more as he nears retirement at the end of the season.
"I expect that out of myself, so I still want people to look at me as the guy to beat," he said. "I feel like that's how it should be. So I need to prepare myself for that and get to the point where I am the favourite in every TT. And I think Tour of California has a TT this year that should favour me if it's the same one as a couple of years ago. It's pretty decent for me, so I'm sure that will be on my radar and I'd like to perform well on such a big stage."
Zirbel went into the recent Rally team camp in fine form, even setting a new record on the team's traditional camp time trial course. According to the team's Facebook page, Zirbel beat the course record that had been previously set by Chad Haga, who now rides for Giant-Alpecin.
"Rob Britton set a blistering time of 15:06 to beat previous record of 15:24," the team announced. "Despite his efforts, the day was not to be his as Tom Zirbel stormed the course in a time of 14:57."
Zirbel would also like to win another stars-and-stripes jersey in his last season. He's hoping the time trial course in Winston-Salem will suit a power rider like himself.
"I'll just assume that it's going to be a good course for me," he said. "Just the layout of the land in that area seems pretty good for a power course more than anything, so hopefully they'll find a power course that's fair."
Zirbel further dialed in his time trial bike at the team camp last week, and Cyclingnews was able to get some of the details from the team mechanics. The big man will be putting his machine through its paces on Thursday when Rally Cycling starts the La Méditerranéenne in Spain with a 7km team time trial.