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12 hours of Snowmass - NE
Snowmass, Colorado, September 13, 2008
2007 Results Results
Armstrong & Team Livestrong wins Snowmass
By James Huang in Snowmass, Colorado
Lance Armstrong, Max Taam and Len Zanni, riding as Team Livestrong, won the 12 Hours of Snowmass on Sunday, beating endurance racing juggernauts Dave Wiens, Mike Kloser and Jay Henry of Team Beaver Creek for the men's team title.
The 12 Hours of Snowmass was the next stop for Lance Armstrong's return to competitive cycling, over an unusual 12-hour race format that included no nighttime riding; the gun went off just after dawn at 7:00 am and competition wrapped up by 7:00 pm.
Race organizer Nat Ross couldn't have wished for better conditions. The morning brought crystal clear skies, a near-ideal forecast of 15°C (58°F) and the clean air and stunning views offered by the course's near-3,000m (10,000ft) high point. Not that any of the contenders had time to notice, though.
The course was just 11km (7miles) long but included over 450m (1500ft) of climbing, nearly all of which was in the first 5km (3miles). Even then, racers were afforded little respite on the technical middle third before bombing back down to the start/finish area.
Armstrong led off his team and looked comfortable in fourth position after the first major pitch. But Beaver Creek's Jay Henry was the first to the hand-off area, logging the day's fastest lap at just 38:57.
Though Armstrong is best known for his exploits on the road, he quickly showed that he was no slouch on the mountain bike either, finishing less than a minute back at 39:44.
"I think [our teams] match up pretty well," said Henry shortly after handing off to Kloser. "I know those guys pretty well and Lance was I mean, at times I thought I'd dropped him and then I looked back and he was right there. I think he's ready to battle a little bit for sure and he did great on the technical stuff. I was riding it really aggressively and he kept the gap. He can ride a mountain bike, thats for sure. It's awesome having him here."
As it turns out, Armstrong's teammates could ride a mountain bike, too.
Zanni cut Beaver Creek's lead to a single second just one lap later then Taam, Armstrong's training partner for the Leadville 100, leapfrogged Leadville winner Wiens during lap number three. Livestrong continued to systematically add to its advantage from there and had built a ten-minute lead by mid-day.
In spite of the growing time gap, there was still a lot of racing to be done and Henry remained optimistic as he waited in the transition area for his fourth lap of the day. He said that the team's strategy was to "just keep ticking [laps] off. The hardest part of the race has not even begun yet. We're not too worried yet."
Henry might have been a bit more apprehensive had he realised that things were going exactly to the Livestrong plan.
"We wanted to start hard," said Armstrong's coach, Chris Carmichael. "With Lance we wanted to try to do around 40-minute laps and just kind of hold him there and he's been able to do that which is a good sign. And then once we got the gap it was like, let's just extend it."
"It's funny; much as this thing only came together two or three days ago, this could be the world championships for Lance. He's so focused. Any time it's bike racing, he wants to win. It doesn't matter if it's thing or anything else; he just wants to win."
And win he did.
The end of the day saw a last-ditch attempt by Beaver Creek to retake the lead but as the clock wound down, things weren't looking good. Beaver Creek needed Zanni to succumb to some sort of mechanical or other mishap and anchor man Kloser had to put in a sub-42:30 lap (his previous laps were 43:10 and 43:24). When all was said and done, Kloser kept his end of the bargain but Zanni came through the finish line unscathed (and looking fresh, no less).
"It was pretty lonely there for a while but I hooked up with my buddy, Mike Mathers and we kept up a good pace and he kept me motivated," said a relieved Zanni right after crossing the finish line for the last time. "It was a good team effort and a great first year event."
Armstrong may have been the star of the event but he and Zanni were quick to acknowledge the team aspect of the win. "If it wasn't for these two guys, I wouldn't have been successful. I was certainly not the strongest guy in the race but these two guys made up the difference with the team."
Now, which team will Armstrong compete with come July?
Armstrong was a last-minute addition
Armstrong's comeback calendar hadnt originally targeted the inaugural 12 Hours of Snowmass, a benefit for the Aspen Youth Center and Extreme Sport Camp (a summer camp for kids with autism). In fact, the seven-time Tour de France winner confirmed his entry just a few days prior and likely would have even been here but for a convenient set of circumstances.
"Max Taam and I both live locally and we had talked about a few weeks ago trying out the 12 Hours of Snowmass [because] it's a first year event," said Zanni, who had planned on filling out the team with Mountain Flyer magazine publisher Brian Riepe. Riepe had to pull out at the last minute, but Taam had an ace up his sleeve.
"Max had been riding with Lance and training leading up to Leadville so they got to be pretty close," Zanni said. "Max emails me back, 'Lance is in', and I went, 'ok, the stakes just got completely different and then obviously everyone's heard about it and it's brought a lot of great attention to this race and to the Aspen Youth Center."
Conveniently, the race fit in with Armstrong's training plans anyway.
"The thing to remember about Lance is that he's in good shape," said Carmichael. "Its not like he's got to come back and build this super big base [again].
"I was in California three days ago and he said, 'Should I do this?' I thought about it and I was like, look, he's doing 40 minutes per lap and probably 30 of it are all at threshold. So he's going to do six laps out there, 30 minutes times six that's a lot of good intensity that he would not be able to reproduce in training. So it's good.
"I think you'll see him hit some cyclo-cross racing. He needs to. He's been out of competition for three years and just this competition psyches him up, motivates him. You know, [Henry, Kloser and Wiens] are the real deal."
Cyclo-cross? You bet.
Though the Armstrong camp hasn't announced his 'cross calendar yet, rumours have swirled that he will likely attend the CrossVegas event to be held during the Interbike trade show at the end of this month. However, during the post-race press conference at Snowmass Armstrong said he "can't make it".
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Google Earth
Images by Motionbased
Images by James Huang/Cyclingnews.com
Trio Men's 1 Livestrong 17 11.55.07 2 Team Beaver Creek 17 12.01.46 3 Rocky Mountain Racing 16 11.55.06 4 Summit Slayers 16 11.58.14 5 Basalt Bike and Ski Trio 14 10.55.13 6 Feedback Sports/Anna Power 14 11.10.32 7 Brian, Yan & Mike 13 11.46.46 8 Bike-N-Hike.com 12 11.33.01 9 Land + Shelter 11 11.29.16 10 Yard Sale 11 11.35.56 11 Road Rash 11 11.53.24 12 Ute City Cycles 10 11.09.24 13 Chee & Crack 10 11.38.07 Trio Women's 1 High Maintenance/Land Rover 12 11.49.40 2 BJ Adams & CO 10 10.59.12 Trio Coed 1 Chicked 14 11.40.56 2 The Mama & the Papas 12 11.24.48 3 Team J-Man 12 11.31.53 4 Krieg/Coleman/Cook 11 11.02.16 5 Team Bernard 7 10.19.08 6 Team Shredder 7 11.08.14 Trio Legend 1 Gene Taylors 14 12.00.21 2 Vail Coffee Decaf 10 11.47.38 3 Bernard's Old Cranks 9 11.40.34 Solo Men's 1 Yuki Saito 12 11.17.22 2 Paul Gorbold 12 11.29.12 3 Daniel Ourada 12 11.52.28 4 Kimo Seymour 11 10.53.07 5 Andrew Carney 11 11.01.54 6 Dean Hill 11 11.10.26 7 Alberto Coto 11 11.35.14 8 Josh Cullen 11 11.43.41 9 Matthew Moerdyk 11 11.56.31 10 Dave Muscianisi 10 10.55.56 11 Michael Marolt 10 11.22.24 12 Kevin Minard 10 11.41.29 13 Joel Mischke 9 8.28.09 14 Dan Bruder 9 10.58.23 15 Kurt Backofen 9 11.33.03 16 Thomas Ray 8 9.43.37 17 Andrew Miller 8 10.30.28 18 Scott Schlosser 8 11.07.18 19 Alan Feder 8 11.18.59 20 Karl Krupp 8 11.26.31 21 Craig Nockels 7 8.26.35 22 DJ Painter 7 8.52.50 23 Al Alvares 6 8.46.43 24 Barrett Cyr 6 10.59.58 25 Arthur Mizzi 5 8.21.54 26 Rob Ittner 5 10.46.24 27 George Kelly 4 11.18.11 28 John-David Crais 3 8.03.45 Solo Women's 1 Kelley Cullen 11 11.04.13 2 Erika Tieszen 9 10.34.58 3 Amy Robillard 9 11.06.41 4 Kerry White 9 11.35.04 5 Lisa Cramton 8 10.37.04 6 Bobbi Bensman 8 10.58.25 7 Anna Hanson 8 11.58.52 8 Jessica Woodings 7 10.42.44 9 Robin Smay 7 11.04.21 Solo Clydesdale 1 Brad Grohusky 11 11.37.49 2 Bill Henderson 10 11.10.30 3 Bradford Sims 9 10.21.41 4 Keith Berglund 9 11.50.23 5 Scott Newman 8 11.30.06 Solo Single Speed Men's 1 Matt Turgeon 11 11.05.20 2 Brian Hollister 10 11.00.56 3 Brian Edmiston 8 11.24.40 4 Travis Underwood 3 4.50.05 Duo Men's 1 Tennessee Pass Cookhouse 13 11.13.09 2 Cool Beans 13 11.35.22 3 Team Explore 13 11.53.37 4 Team Mode Squad 12 11.01.45 5 L'Hostaria 12 11.02.30 6 FCCT 12 11.13.39 7 The U.C.C. Radleschlafin 12 11.46.33 8 Brillo Heads 10 10.54.44 9 Tubesteak Supply 10 11.06.21 10 Aspen Club/The Next Level 9 10.57.14 11 Vote Obama 9 11.38.47 12 Springsters 6 8.02.48 Duo Women's 1 Pedal Power/Sissy Girl Productions 11 11.24.57 Duo Coed 1 Basalt Bike and Ski Duo 13 11.25.35 2 Team Ergon 13 11.37.11 3 Flying Shopping Cart 13 11.43.03 4 Numb and Nummer 11 11.55.22 5 BOSI/Scott 9 11.06.00 Open 1 LEAX 12 11.27.23 2 Alpine Bank 11 11.03.29 3 KSPN's Rock and Rollers 11 11.31.45 4 Wheezing Geezers 11 11.48.36 5 Team Funny Talker 10 10.20.32 6 Paradise 10 11.01.02