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USA Cycling Pro championships - CN

USA, September 1-2, 2007

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Race 1 - September 1: USA professional time trial championships, 32.4 km

Complete live report

By Mark Zalewski and Steve Medcroft

22:26 EDT    We'll kick off this two-race weekend with an individual time trial. In 2006, Europe-based American pro Dave Zabriskie (CSC) took home the Stars and Stripes jersey with a time of 41:49:69 over the 32.4 kilometer course (46.48kph). Domestic racer and defending US Pro Champion Chris Baldwin (Toyota-United) gave the ProTour rider a run for his money though; Baldwin was eight seconds faster at the split but crashed dramatically in the final 500 meters on a hard 90-degree turn to finish thirty-two seconds behind Zabriskie for second place. Will the 2007 edition of the US Pro Time Trial Championships be as dramatic?

11:01 EDT    Welcome to Cyclingnews' coverage of the 2007 US Pro Time Trial Championship. The first rider is about to depart the start house under overcast, humid skies. It's 78 degrees (F) already in Greenville. There are 32 riders on the start list. Their 32-kilometer racecourse runs from the guardhouse of one gated housing community to another housing community, the first one still under construction. defending champion Dave Zabriskie, who rides for CSC, is changing into his skinsuit in the Slipstream van (the team he has signed with for 2008). Speaking of Slipstream by the way - they have seven currently-sponsored riders in the time trial, essentially one-fifth of the field.

11:04 EDT    Saul Raisin (in Credit Agricole kit) is the first starter. It's not an honorary start either; he's actually competing after more than a year's recovery from his extremely serious fall in early April, 2006, where he wound up in a coma and coming perilously close to death. Now on the road back to full racing strength, he said yesterday to Cyclingnews US Editor Mark Zalewski that he had been training and felt like everything was going well but he woke up the other day thinking "uh oh, I'm racing in a few days," so he's nervous.

11:16 EDT    Tyler Hamilton is at the start and will be racing today. He seems to be wearing a Cane Creek kit for the race rather than any offical team kit. On the start list, he is listed officially under Tinkiff Credit Systems because you have to be associated with a UCI trade team to race in the US Pro Championships but since he is suing them for firing him, it may explain the inconsistency in kit.

11:18 EDT    We mentioned the riders who are in the race, how about the riders who are not?; Hincapie, Leipheimer, Danielson. All three are listed for Sunday's road race. Maybe the conventional wisdom at the event is that the hard effort of today would detract from the energy needed to compete in the road race.

11:21 EDT    If you remember last year's road race, it was a showdown between ProTour Americans and domestic Americans with the ProTour contingent coming out on top when Hincapie and Leipheimer went one-two in the race seeming to work together against the only other rider to stay with them into the final miles; Danny Pate.

11:22 EDT    The riders are starting two minutes apart. Which means ten riders are on course at the moment. We do not have any split times yet but will update you as soon as we hear something.

11:25 EDT    Saul Raisin has hit the turn around an 24:15. That's our first split of the day.

11:41 EDT    The splits are starting to come in. Timmy Duggan of team Slipstream has set the early mark to beat with 22 minutes flat at the turn around. Raisin is a little off the mark in his return to professional racing but it is a courageous attempt to get back to the sport he loves and a respectable showing so far at only 2'15" off Duggan's pace at the halfway mark.

11:47 EDT    We are expecting to see the first finisher shortly. While we're waiting, a look at the course profile reveals that riders have a mostly even effort for their sub one-hour time trial today; the course has only two significant elevation gains - up and back over the same small 50-meter climb. The rest of the profile contains minor ups and downs but should allow the riders to stay full on for the duration.

11:49 EDT    Raisin is in. He is speaking to a press contingent at the finish and seems pleased with the race and optimistic about his recovery and the prospects for him returning to full time racing. We are chasing the finish times now and will have them shortly.

11:55 EDT    We are starting to get results from the finish now. Duggan's best time at the split held up through the finish and he leads with a sub-forty minute ride on a course where most racers will finish over forty minutes. Raisin came in at 44:07.

11:59 EDT    Mark Zalewski caught up with Saul Raisin at the finish. The young rider was visibly emotional. When asked what's next he was quick to say,"Tour de France."

12:02 EDT    Nineteen of the 32 riders are now through the halfway mark. Timmy Duggan's split time of 22 minutes even is still holding.

12:04 EDT    The next closest split time belongs to Michael Grabinger (Succesfulliving.com presented by Parkpre) who came through 52 seconds slower. Yet to come through the split, of course, are ProTour riders Bobby Julich and 2006 champion Dave Zabriskie.

12:07 EDT    Michael Grabinger was able to hold his pace through the second half of the course to come in second to Duggan at 1:17 back.

12:10 EDT    At the intermediate time split, Ben Jacques-Maynes (Priority Health presented by Bissell Pro Cycling Team) has posted a 22:21, Mike Creed (Team Slipstream powered by Chipotle) a 22:33, and Phil Zajicek (Navigators Insurance Cycling Team) a 22:57 - all slower than Duggan's split but better than most of the early field.

12:13 EDT    Duggan has been riding with Jonathan Vaughter's team since it's inception as TIAA-Cref/5280. Duggan was the 2004 U23 US National Champion in the time trial.

12:14 EDT    Tyler Hamilton is on course and riding smooth. And has, in fact, posted the second-best intermediate split time; just three seconds behind Duggan. The kit we observed earlier is actually all Cervelo branding. His bike is a Cervelo as well.

12:17 EDT    Bobby Julich is through the split at 22:20.

12:18 EDT    If you're interested in learning a little more about Saul Raisin, check out a feature we did about him after his accident.

12:20 EDT    Danny Pate is the first rider to beat Duggan's time at the intermediate split. But only by two seconds as he puts up a 21:58.

12:22 EDT    Ben Jaques-Maynes just finished for second place so far; 1:01 behind Duggan.

12:26 EDT    And Mike Creed slips in ahead of Jaques-Maynes finish time to give Slipstream one-two at the top of the results so far.

12:31 EDT    Tyler Hamilton finshes in second place so far.

12:32 EDT    The crowd at the finish line seemed to appreciate Hamilton's efforts and greet him with cheers.

12:35 EDT    Julich just finished 100th of a second faster than Hamilton to bump the Tinkoff (or is it Cervelo) rider to third.

12:36 EDT    Danny Pate is the first rider to finish inside Timmy Duggan's time. At 39:35, he is the new leader.

12:38 EDT    But 2006 champion Dave Zabriskie is coming. The lanky CSC rider has just posted the best intermediate split at 21'42"; 16 seconds faster than Pate's intermediate time and 18 seconds faster than Duggan's.

12:43 EDT    Tom Zirbel (Priority health) just finished with a blazing fast 39'39" to slot himself into third.

12:47 EDT    The race is winding down. Only a small handful or riders remain on course. The final three, Mike Friedman (Team Slipstream powered by Chipotle), Chris Baldwin (Toyota - United Pro Cycling Team), Dave Zabriskie (Team CSC) are en route to the finish.

12:48 EDT    Friedman is within the final kilometer. Zabriskie's split time was better than any other rider (exact time not yet available).

12:49 EDT    Friedman is in at seventh place with a 40'36".

12:50 EDT    Chris Baldwin is winding up to the finish.

12:52 EDT    Baldwin comes in at 40:33 for seventh place. Slipstream will definitely have two riders on the podium now as only Dave Zabriskie can take the lead away from them.

12:54 EDT    Zabriskie powers through the finish to take his second consecutive USA Cycling Professional Time Trial National Championships with only a second to spare - 39'34".

12:57 EDT    Wow, that was tight. Zabriskie managed his effort perfectly to take the win. With two podium placements, team Slipstream is showing that the squad they have this year is full of championship-level riders. Imagine what they'll be able to accomplish next year with the addition of riders like David Millar, Magnus Backstedt, Dave zabriskie, et al. And Saul Raisin has shown the world of cycling that he is intent on picking his career back up from the moment he was sidetracked by accident and fulfilling the promise he showed us as a neo-pro.

12:58 EDT    And with that, we are going to maneuver the US-based Cyclingnews blimp (CN Blimp 2) back into its hanger for the night. Be sure and come back to live9.cyclingnews.com tomorrow for the US Pro Road race Championships. The action start at 1:00 pm Eastern Daylight (US) time.

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