Patrick Gretsch (HTC-Highroad) pulled on the most aggressive rider’s jersey after a respectable third place during the stage three time trial at the Tour of Utah on Friday. The German time trial specialist held the fastest time of the day until virtually the end, when his time of 17:43 was surpassed by teammate and stage winner Tejay van Garderen and runner up Levi Leipheimer (RadioShack).
"Sure I am happy with the jersey," Gretsch said. "Tejay did the Tour and it’s a home race for him and so as long as the win stays in the team that is fine. I am not surprised with his time. I knew that he was in great shape after the Tour and he is super motivated. It is also his birthday today and so he was super motivated and I knew that he could do well."
Gretsch’s strong performance is also not surprising. He is a five-time former junior world champion and placed twice on the podium at the under 23 time trial worlds in 2008 and 2009. In addition, he was an under 23 German time trial champion and recently won the opening stage at the Ster ZLM Tour.
"For me as a time trialist, it [the stage] was one of the reasons why I am here," Gretsch said. "I did all that I could and I am satisfied with that. I crossed my fingers and hoped that my time stayed in first, but it didn’t. As long as the win stayed with in the team we are all happy."
Gretsch joined HTC-Highroad in 2010 following a three year stint with Thuringer Energie Team. He expressed his regret that the US-registered team is disbanding at the end of the season, but can take solace in knowing his future for 2012 is secured.
"I will ride for Skil-Shimano next year," Gretsch said. "It is a team with a big future and I am really happy with that. I think we were all disappointed with the end of HTC-Highroad. We are all trying to enjoy our last few months together. It is really emotional and we are all like friends. I am looking to the future."