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Optum rider Joelle Numainville digs hard on the uphill time trial, but finished 40 seconds off the winning time.
Women could surprise, men hoping for top 15
The Optum Pro Cycling team is one of several organisations fielding both men's and women's squads at the UCI road world championship team time trial. As a trade team event, the race was attractive to the American team because of the prestige of the event.
While other teams have bases of operation in Europe, Team director Jonas Carney told Cyclingnews that they have had to find vans to transport the bikes, cars and racks to use as team vehicles in addition to the normal activities of a big race, but it will be worth the effort.
The 57.2km course with the vast majority of it being flat and straight is well suited to the US time trial champion Tom Zirbel, but it also suits the women's squad, who are racing a team time trial for the very first time.
"It's not too technical, and it will favor powerful riders like Zirbel, Scott Zwizanski, Mike Friedman - and the women like Jade Wilcoxson and Joelle Numainville."
At least one team has its eye on the Optum women: British champion Lizzy Armitstead of the Boels-Dolmans team told Cyclingnews that "they might be a surprise, they might overtake us" in their goal of making the top five.
Last year, the men's team was 20th of 33 teams, but Carney hopes to up the ante this year. "The goal is to do better than last year. An exceptional results would be a top 15, but to be top 10 would be unbelievable."
"It's a goal for us to perform at a high level. We know we're not going to win the world TTT championship this year, but we can be competitive against the best in the world, and it's good experience for the future."