Glaesser buoyed by podium result in Redlands time trial

Canadian aiming for gold in Olympics team pursuit at Rio

Jasmin Glaesser’s third-place finish during the Greenspot time trial at the Redlands Bicycle Classic on Friday was one spot lower than her 2015 result, but she took consolation from the pedigrees of the competitors who finished ahead of her this year.

“Two ex-time trial world champions, so not bad company,” she said of stage winner Kristin Armstrong (Twenty16-RideBiker) and runner-up Amber Neben (Dare to be Project).

Armstrong covered the 11.4km course in 16:54, with Neben coming in 22 seconds slower and Glaesser at 24 seconds. Grabbing the final podium spot was a world-class result for the Canadian who just last month earned a silver medal in the team pursuit at the UCI Track World Championships.

“It’s always a little difficult, no pun intended, to switch gears like that,” she said about transitioning from the track to the road. “But I’m always super motivated to hit the road after being on the track all winter. I was definitely excited for the Redlands Classic to see where I stack up this early in the season.”

Glaesser (Rally Cycling) has stacked up quite well so far as she is currently fifth overall, 2:10 off of Armstrong’s race lead after three stages and her third-place result in a time trial that she said didn’t suit her all that well.

“It was really challenging,” she said of the Greenspot course. “A lot of it was kind of climby and draggy, so not my favourite course in terms of what suits my strengths, but I thought I paced it really well and had a good ride out there.”

This season is Glaesser’s second with the US-based UCI team that reshuffled its roster after last season and now includes three other Canadians. The Rally Cycling team got much younger in the offseason, meaning Glaesser, at just 23, is one of the senior riders on the squad.

“I don’t really look at myself as being that experienced yet, but it’s so inspiring to have these young girls on the team,” she said. “And for a lot of them it’s their first [US Pro Road Tour] race and their first season in the elite ranks, so it’s really fun to – I wouldn’t say be a leader for them – but to kind of help them find their way and encourage them.

“I’m super inspired by the level of talent we have and the potential,” she said. “Sara Poidevan showed yesterday and the day before what a great climber she is, so it’s definitely fun to have people like that.”

Glasser also took a lot of inspiration for her season – which is currently aimed at the Rio Olympics Games – from the Canadian team pursuit squad’s performance on the track, especially after the riders’ preparation was interrupted by illness and injury.

“Normally I’m super bummed not to be on the top step of the podium, but the world championships were actually a huge personal victory for us because we had some serious setbacks leading into it,” she said.

“I know some other teams did as well, like Great Britain and Australia had some challenges to overcome, but when we initially set out for London we didn’t even know if a podium was possible. So to fight through and come away with a silver medal was definitely a great sign of things to come for us.”

Glaesser’s Worlds preparation took a setback when she crashed heavily at the World Cup track race in January and suffered a concussion that required more than a month of recovery. Then most of her teammates came down with a stomach virus right before Worlds.

“We really weren’t able to train on the boards together until we were actually in London,” she said. “But every team has their own challenges, and it’s great when you can show that you can hang tough even when things aren’t going your way and still pull together.”

The US women beat the Canadians by less than three seconds in the team pursuit final, a deficit that could be overcome if Glaesser and her teammates can come into the Olympics with a better set of circumstances.

“That’s the hope,” she said.

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