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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 and his team dominated today.
Photo ©: James Huang
(Click for larger image)

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, that’s for sure. It's awesome having him here."

As it turns out, Armstrong's teammates could ride a mountain bike, too.

Henry was soon to follow…
Photo ©: James Huang
(Click for larger image)

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

Waltworks/Fuentes Design rider Yuki Saito not only hails all the way from Japan…
Photo ©: James Huang
(Click for larger image)

Armstrong's comeback calendar hadn’t 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. "It’s 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
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