By Kirsten Robbins in Branson, Missouri
Christian Vande Velde of the Garmin-Chipotle squad clocked in with the fastest time of the day in the Tour of Missouri's stage three time trial, taking the victory in Branson. The result placed him more than twenty seconds ahead of three-time world champion Mick Rogers (Team Columbia) and bested the mark set by last year's winner Levi Leipheimer by a few seconds.
The American admitted that focusing on the individual discipline was an addition to his training regimen this year. The specialty helped him capture the pink jersey in the opening of the Giro d'Italia and a fifth place in the Tour de France. His team is built around talented time trialists that fine-tune their ability with the latest training and technology.
"I've been working on my time trial position a lot this winter, I've been in the wind tunnel, and my team has put a lot of effort into that," said Vande Velde who admitted that this was his first year training specifically on his time trial bike at home.
"This team doesn't mess around when it comes to warming up, time trial equipment, wattage and Team Columbia is the same," he continued, complimenting Mick Rogers sat beside him in the post race press conference. "So it's no surprise when you see our two teams, Garmin-Chipotle and Columbia so dominant in the this event."
According to Jonathan Vaughters, time trialing is an area the team will continue to hone in on in the future. "We put a lot of effort into our time trailing," he said while watching Vande Velde cross the finish line with a large lead over riders like Rogers, Svein Tuft and George Hincapie. "I like time trialing, I think it's a fun game. Moreoverm, the technology aspect of it is something that we are passionate about."
Garmin-Chipotle recently added to their array of top-notch soloists when they signed Great Britain's Bradley Wiggins. The prologue specialist is a three-time World Champion in the pursuit and the Madison along with double gold medals at the Olympic Games. The signing forced the cycling industry to wonder why a team already stacked with good time trialists would add another.
"Our team is what it is and oppose to trying to be second or third best at climbing or sprinting, we figure we will reinforce what we can win at - time trialing."