Kristin Armstrong wins women's US pro time trial

Small and Neben claim second and third podium spots

Kristin Armstrong (Twenty 16-ShoAir) won her fourth US Time Trial championship in Chattanooga, Tennessee, on Saturday, beating teammate Carmen Small by 13 seconds and Amber Neben (Visit Dallas-Noise4Good) by 18.

Armstrong, who was the third rider to start and was the first finisher, waited nearly two hours in the hot seat as the rest of the field covered the 30.9km out-and-back course.

"I am so happy. Nothing handed to me. I came out, I did it, I stayed focused. I’m in and I’m back," Armstrong said. "I have one more step. I am on the Richmond team and then I have Rio. That is all I’m focused on."

Riders competed over two circuits of the deceptively hard 15.4km course. The wide roads and gradual power climbs were well suited for time trial specialists. Conditions looked ideal for most of the morning, but shortly after the first wave of riders started winds began to pick up and continued to increase throughout the afternoon.

Armstrong’s early start time was due to her recent lack of racing. USA Cycling determines starting order based on the previous year's national championship results. Starting order then defaults to USA Cycling points.

Lacking any recent racing experience since the 2012 Olympics, Armstrong started third. The early start time may have proved helpful, however, as it enabled Armstrong to avoid some of the winds that picked up later in the day.

"It was super, super windy, the windiest I’ve had the past two years, three years now," said Small, who, as defending champion, was the last rider on the course. "That was kind of a change because before it was hot and humid, but no wind. So that was a little bit different."

Small finished in second place despite spending the early part of the year focusing on the US pursuit program.

'I tried to be a little bit more conservative on the first lap because I don’t know my fitness since I didn’t do any base this year," Small said. "That’s not ideal. But then I rode a really good second lap and that was solid, so I’m proud of how I went to day."

Former world champion Neben’s third-place finish was her second near miss in recent weeks after finishing fourth at the women’s invitational Tour of California time trial.

"I was on the power the whole day," Neben said. "Obviously I wanted to win. I was gunning for the win. I’m disappointed that I didn’t, but no complaints about my effort. And considering the last couple of years, there is victory in making it back to where I am right now, so I am excited about that."

Lauren Stephens (TIBCO-SVB) looked close to Armstrong after her first lap. Stephens set the second best split of the day but came up short on the second lap. It was a disappointing finish for the Texan who was targeting nationals as a way to secure a spot for the Richmond world championships.

"The second lap was a little bit more difficult with the head wind,” Stephens said. “It is still a long season ahead, we’ve got the road race ahead, so now it is time to refocus."

Evelyn Stevens (Boels-Dolmans) was a pre-race favourite after her win at the Tour of California last week. Stevens came up short, but the effort set a good benchmark for the rest of the season.

"You know, I’ve never quite figured out this Chattanooga time trial course," Stevens said. "It’s my third year doing it and I’ve got third fourth and fifth. Great ride to Kristen, Carmen, and all the other girls. I tried quite hard but wasn’t fast enough."

Armstrong’s winning time was 42:08, 15 seconds faster than Alison Power’s championship time in 2014. Armstrong, an early innovator in time trial technology, was spotted using a SRAM electronic shifting prototype on her Felt DA 1.

Armstrong said her current comeback is more focused than when she was targeting the London 2012 games.

"I would say the difference is I decided I can’t do everything," Armstrong said. "I was training prior to this comeback as a stage racer and as a time trialist. I’ve really had to focus with my coach on quality over quantity."

With a spot locked up for Richmond, Armstrong is one step closer to Rio.

Full Results

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Kristin Armstrong Savola (USA) TWENTY16 p/b SHO-AIR0:42:08 
2Carmen Small (USA) TWENTY16 p/b SHO-AIR0:00:13 
3Amber Neben (USA) Visit Dallas Cycling p/b Noise4Good0:00:18 
4Lauren Stephens (USA) Team TIBCO-SVB0:00:52 
5Evelyn Stevens (USA) Boels Dolmans Cycling Team0:00:58 
6Leah Thomas (USA) Metromint Cycling p/b The Freewheel0:02:01 
7Megan Guarnier (USA) Boels Dolmans Cycling Team0:02:15 
8Allie Dragoo (USA) TWENTY16 p/b SHO-AIR0:02:22 
9Tayler Wiles (USA) Velocio-SRAM  
10Alison Tetrick (USA) Team Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies0:02:34 
11Kelly Catlin (USA) NorthStar Development0:02:40 
12Julie Emmerman (USA) Rally Sport Cycling Team0:02:46 
13Brianna Walle (USA) Team Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies0:02:52 
14Amber Gaffney (USA) TWENTY16 p/b SHO-AIR0:03:02 
15Amanda Miller (USA) Pepper Palace Pro Cycling p/b The Happy Tooth0:03:15 
16Ruth Winder (USA) UnitedHealthcare0:03:31 
17Jessica Cutler (USA) Colavita/Bianchi p/b Fine Cooking0:03:34 
18Bethann Orton (USA) Visit Dallas Cycling p/b Noise4Good0:03:40 
19Jill Mclaughlin (USA)0:04:02 
20Heather Fischer (USA) DNA Cycling p/b K40:04:16 
21Heather Albert (USA) Canyon Bicycles - Shimano0:04:32 
22Kirsten Sass (USA) Team WE0:04:39 
23Kathryn Hunter (USA) Visit Dallas Cycling p/b Noise4Good0:04:40 
24Whitney Schultz (USA) Colavita/Bianchi p/b Fine Cooking0:04:43 
25Lindsay Bayer (USA) Pepper Palace Pro Cycling p/b The Happy Tooth0:04:47 
26Lauren Dagostino (USA) Healthy and Happy Racing0:05:00 
27Maura Kinsella (USA) Team Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies0:05:34 
28Catherine Moore (USA) Fearless Femme p/b Haute Wheels Racing0:05:37 
29Jannalyn Luttrell (USA) Roosters/Bikers Edge-UT0:05:42 
30Lauren De Crescenzo (USA) DNA Cycling p/b K40:05:45 
31Shannon Kaplan (USA)0:05:55 
32Amy Charity (USA) Team Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies  
33Amy Phillips (USA) Pepper Palace Pro Cycling p/b The Happy Tooth0:06:41 
34Julia Lonchar (USA) Team Alliance Environmental0:06:49 
35Allison Linnell (USA) Vaiano Fondriest0:07:17 
36Lindsay Fox (USA)0:07:51 
37Jeanine Seeger (USA) CPO Bikes0:08:13 
38Amy Floyd (USA) Argon18Racing p/b November &Fast Freddie Apparel0:08:14 
39Katherine Shields (USA) PainPathways Cycling Team0:08:17 
40Rachel Hart (USA) Team WE0:11:12 

 

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