Zabriskie defends title with convincing win

David Zabriskie (Garmin-Slipstream) won his fourth consecutive US time trial championship Saturday, stopping the clock in 39:37 for the 33.4-kilometre course. Last year's runner-up, Tom Zirbel (Bissell Pro Cycling), duplicated his silver medal performance, finishing 44 seconds behind Zabriskie. Kelly Benefit Strategies' Scott Zwizanski rounded out the podium, crossing the finish line 1:41 behind Zabriskie. 

For the second straight year, Greenville, South Carolina's Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research hosted the championship event, with the 23-rider field facing a technical but flat 11.1-kilometre circuit covered three times. While Zabriskie bested Zirbel by a slim five-second margin in 2008, the time trial ace won comfortably this year. He put 24 seconds into Zirbel after only one lap, the fastest first lap of the day. Zabriskie increased his lead over Zirbel for the following two laps to record a time 1:02 faster than his winning effort of last year.

"I didn't expect to lose by 45 seconds," said a subdued Zirbel. "Wow, that's an incredible ride by Dave. I didn't have time splits while I was riding. I just figured it would be close. To see those time gaps, I should have sat up. I had a whole minute to spare."

Zirbel stated that the time trial championships was his season's primary goal. He entered Saturday's event with a confidence-boosting time trial win by 24 seconds over Zabriskie in the Tour of Utah eight days ago.

Zabriskie, however, took it easy during the interim weekdays and arrived in Greenville feeling good, if a bit tired from his season to date.

"I've raced a lot this year, more than I ever have," said Zabriskie. "I came here feeling a a little fatigued maybe, but I also came here knowing that I was healthy.

"I really enjoy wearing this jersey over in Europe. It's something I take a lot of pride in and it doesn't get old for me."

The three-lap format favoured Zabriskie's technical riding ability and ability to put first lap feedback to work. "It's kind of nice because you go three times. By the last lap you really know what line you can take through a corner. The first lap I did take one corner a little too fast in the aero bars but the second and third times I fixed that mistake."

Zirbel, however, found it difficult to settle into a steady rhythm on a course with multiple roundabouts and 180 degree turns each lap. "I think any true time trialist likes to get into a rhythm, but we're all dealing with the same thing," said Zirbel.

"I would like a more straight forward time trial with longer straightaways, but it's really not as technical as it looks on paper. It's a fair course, but if I was designing one for my strengths it would be a little bit different."

Zabriskie was last out of the start house due to his defending champion status. He opted to not where a radio during the championship, but based his effort off of teammate Mike Friedman.

"Friedman was doing really well yesterday in the warm ups and his first lap [today] was really fast, a 13:40," said Zabriskie. He used his bike computer to compare his lap times to Friedman's. "When I came through about 40 seconds faster than him I thought 'I'm having a good day'. I told myself I just have to do that two more times and that's what I tried to do."

Zirbel did utilize a radio during his ride, but expressed relief that the wind disrupted its operation. "I was missing time splits but I'm glad I didn't hear them. I would have been pretty demoralized out there," said Zirbel.

Zwizanski won time trials in both the Vuelta Ciclista del Uruguay and Tour de Beauce on his way to general classification wins in each. He held second place after the first lap behind Zabriskie. Zirbel erased his eight-second first lap deficit to Zwizanski and led him by 27 seconds after the second lap. He won by 57 seconds at the end of three laps.

Zwizanski's bronze medal performance, along with his teammate Reid Mumford's fourth place, was a satisfying conclusion for the California resident. "Probably a lot of people didn't expect that of us today, but we've been surprising people all year. Tomorrow, maybe we'll improve on that three-four and maybe get a little higher on the podium."

Zwizanski chose to put in a hard ride on the previous day based on the circumstances of his two time trial victories in 2009. "My time trial wins this year were in the middle of hard stage races. I figure there's something to that, so I made sure my body was opened up and ready to go yesterday.

"I think doing time trials in stage races goes back to my ability to suffer. You just have to have confidence in yourself with being able to suffer more than the other guys can suffer."

The three Zs, Zabriskie, Zirbel and Zwizanski, will all face off again in the upcoming Tour of Missouri's stage five time trial September 11. Zabriskie is particularly eager to show off his stars and stripes skinsuit near Garmin headquarters. "We definitely want to go there and have a good result. I'll definitely take care of myself this week and carry my form over," he said.


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Final results
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1David Zabriskie (USA) Garmin-Slipstream0:39:37
2Tom Zirbel (USA) Bissell Pro Cycling0:00:44
3Scott Zwizanski (USA) Kelly Benefit Strategies0:01:41
4Reid Mumford (USA) Kelly Benefit Strategies0:02:52
5Bernard Vanulden (USA) Jelly Belly Cycling TeamRow 4 - Cell 2
6Mike Friedman (USA) Garmin-Slipstream0:03:00
7Phil Zajicek (USA) Fly V Australia0:03:01
8Jonathan Chodroff (USA) OUCH Presented By Maxxis0:03:07
9Benjamin Jacques-Maynes (USA) Bissell Pro Cycling0:03:30
10Mike Creed (USA) Team Type 10:03:34
11Matt Winstead (USA) Kenda Pro Cycling0:04:04
12Paul Mach (USA) Bissell Pro Cycling0:04:06
13Roman Kilun (USA) OUCH Presented By Maxxis0:04:07
14Christopher Baldwin (USA) OUCH Presented By Maxxis0:04:19
15Bobby Sweeting (USA) Land Rover-Orbea0:04:23
16Omer Kem (USA) Bissell Pro Cycling0:04:47
17Matthew Crane (USA) Jelly Belly Cycling Team0:05:13
18Phillip Gaimon (USA) Jelly Belly Cycling Team0:05:15
19Kiel Reijnen (USA) Jelly Belly Cycling Team0:06:03
20Chris Montelone (USA) US National Development Team0:06:24
21Floyd Landis (USA) OUCH Presented By Maxxis0:06:53
22Jonathan Hamblen (USA) DLP Racing0:07:20
23Wade Wolfenbarger (USA) Cinelli-Down Under0:09:26
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Split 1
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1David Zabriskie (USA) Garmin-Slipstream0:13:05
2Scott Zwizanski (USA) Kelly Benefit Strategies0:00:21
3Tom Zirbel (USA) Bissell Pro Cycling0:00:29
4Mike Friedman (USA) Garmin-Slipstream0:00:35
5Benjamin Jacques-Maynes (USA) Bissell Pro Cycling0:00:43
6Phil Zajicek (USA) Fly V AustraliaRow 5 - Cell 2
7Jonathan Mumford (USA) Kelly Benefit Strategies0:00:48
8Mike Creed (USA) Team Type 10:00:50
9Bernard Vanulden (USA) Jelly Belly Cycling Team0:00:51
10Jonathan Chodroff (USA) OUCH Presented By Maxxis0:00:52
11Roman Kilun (USA) OUCH Presented By Maxxis0:01:09
12Christopher Baldwin (USA) OUCH Presented By Maxxis0:01:11
13Bobby Sweeting (USA) Land Rover-Orbea0:01:21
14Paul Mach (USA) Bissell Pro Cycling0:01:23
15Omer Kem (USA) Bissell Pro Cycling0:01:27
16Matt Winstead (USA) Kenda Pro Cycling0:01:28
17Floyd Landis (USA) OUCH Presented By Maxxis0:01:29
18Kiel Reijnen (USA) Jelly Belly Cycling Team0:01:37
19Matthew Crane (USA) Jelly Belly Cycling Team0:01:40
20Phillip Gaimon (USA) Jelly Belly Cycling Team0:01:58
21Chris Montelone (USA) US National Development TeamRow 20 - Cell 2
22Jonathan Hamblen (USA) DLP Racing0:02:13
23Wade Wolfenbarger (USA) Cinelli-Down Under0:02:52
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Split 2
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1David Zabriskie (USA) Garmin-Slipstream0:26:17
2Tom Zirbel (USA) Bissell Pro Cycling0:00:37
3Scott Zwizanski (USA) Kelly Benefit Strategies0:01:04
4Phil Zajicek (USA) Fly V Australia0:01:43
5Jonathan Mumford (USA) Kelly Benefit Strategies0:01:51
6Mike Friedman (USA) Garmin-Slipstream0:01:53
7Jonathan Chodroff (USA) OUCH Presented By Maxxis0:01:58
8Bernard Vanulden (USA) Jelly Belly Cycling Team0:01:59
9Benjamin Jacques-Maynes (USA) Bissell Pro Cycling0:02:02
10Mike Creed (USA) Team Type 10:02:04
11Christopher Baldwin (USA) OUCH Presented By Maxxis0:02:36
12Roman Kilun (USA) OUCH Presented By Maxxis0:02:40
13Matt Winstead (USA) Kenda Pro Cycling0:02:51
14Paul Mach (USA) Bissell Pro Cycling0:02:53
15Bobby Sweeting (USA) Land Rover-Orbea0:02:58
16Omer Kem (USA) Bissell Pro Cycling0:03:07
17Phillip Gaimon (USA) Jelly Belly Cycling Team0:03:34
18Matthew Crane (USA) Jelly Belly Cycling Team0:03:36
19Floyd Landis (USA) OUCH Presented By Maxxis0:03:45
20Kiel Reijnen (USA) Jelly Belly Cycling Team0:03:46
21Chris Montelone (USA) US National Development Team0:04:07
22Jonathan Hamblen (USA) DLP Racing0:04:54
23Wade Wolfenbarger (USA) Cinelli-Down Under0:06:09


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