Kristin Armstrong won her fourth consecutive title at the Nature Valley Grand Prix on Sunday. The event marked her last race in America before retiring at the end of the 2009 season. Her presence in the national peloton will be sadly missed as she heads back over to Europe to rejoin her Cervélo TestTeam for her final block of racing.
“I had a lot of nerves knowing that it was my last race in America,”Armstrong said. “Last night when I was going to bed I felt like there was a big possibility that the yellow jersey could get taken away from me. I asked myself if I was at peace with everything that I’ve done because I think that I’ve pulled off a lot of wins and to leave without being on the podium would be very difficult for me. Maybe I would have had to finagle one more race! But it all worked out.”
The time trial specialist is scheduled to rejoin her Cervélo TestTeam at the women’s Giro d’Italia, to be held in July. However, Armstrong’s biggest goal will be to win a second world title when the individual time trial held is held at the end of September in Switzerland.
“My number one goal this year is to win the World Championship,”Armstrong said. “I also want to win the road race but I will have a strong team over there for that race as well. But the Giro id first and you never know what is going to happen there because we have a really strong team. I will go back to Europe prepared, thanks to Nature Valley and the peloton for giving me some great training this week.”
Armstrong was the obvious race favourite at the Nature Valley Grand Prix. Despite the absence of her Cervélo teammates, she took a commanding victory ahead of formidable opponents Shelley Olds (ProMan-Hit Squad) and Alison Powers (Team Type 1). Armstrong had claimed the yellow jersey after winning the opening time trial and saw off the challengers on every stage, maintaining her lead until the end. The difficulty of defending the jersey without the protection of teammates made her final victory salute on home soil all the more sweet.