By Kirsten Robbins in Redlands, California
World Time Trial Champion Amber Neben (Nürnberger Versicherung) won her first time trial of the 2009 season at the Redlands Bicycle Classic held in California. According to the American talent, competing in her home country is important but the bigger focus is on what she considers the three Grand Tours of women's racing.
"Redlands Classic is an important race but I'm not meant to put too much importance on it," Neben said. "As much as I would like to win it, I can't come into this race with super fitness because it's a little too early for me when I want to be coming up in May and the rest of the year. It's a race that I come into fit for but not race fit for."
Equipe Nürnberger Versicherung has big plans for Neben and the first goal is a victory at the Tour de l'Aude held in May, followed by the Giro d'Italia Femminile and the Internationale Thüringen Rundfahrt der Frauen, both held in July. Her sights are also set on obtaining a second consecutive victory at the World Championships taking place in Mendrisio, Switzerland, at the end of September.
"There are not a lot of time trials in the year but any time there is one it is always a goal for me. My goals are on the big stage races and the world championships. The team will be capable of winning the world cup races and I would like to contribute to that."
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