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USA Cycling Pro championships - CN

USA, August 30-31, 2008

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Race 1 - August 30: USA professional time trial championships, 20.7 mi / 33.4 km

Complete live report

Live commentary by Laura Weislo with reporting from Mark Zalewski in Greenville, South Carolina

10:57 EDT   
Welcome to Cyclingnews' live coverage of the US Pro time trial championships. It's a muggy, hot day in Greenville, South Carolina.

11:00 EDT   
Only 36 riders will contest the 33.4 kilometre time trial which takes place on the wide-open roads of the Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research. Our start list is:

1 Jacob Rytlewski (Rite-Aid p/b Shebell & Shebell)           11.00.00
2 Eric Bennett (Successfulliving.com p/b Parkpre)            11.02.00
3 Justin Spinelli (Kelly Benefit Strategies - Medifast)      11.04.00
4 Nick Frey (Time Pro Cycling)                               11.06.00
5 Charles Bradley Huff (Jelly Belly)                         11.08.00
6 Philip Zajicek (Health Net p/b Maxxis)                     11.10.00
7 Thomas Danielson (Team Garmin-Chipotle p/b H30)            11.12.00
8 Andy Baker (Time Pro Cycling)                              11.14.00
9 John Murphy (Health Net p/b Maxxis)                        11.16.00
10 Charles Eldridge (Team Type 1)                            11.18.00
11 Edward King (Bissell Pro Cycling)                         11.20.00
12 Steven Cozza (Team Garmin-Chipotle p/b H30)               11.22.00
13 Corney Collier (Health Net p/b Maxxis)                    11.24.00
14 Benjamin Kneller (The Jittery Joe's Pro Cycling Team)     11.26.00
15 Thomas Peterson (Team Garmin-Chipotle p/b H30)            11.28.00
16 Scott Zwizanski (Bissell Pro Cycling)                     11.30.00
17 Sergio Hernandez (Rock Racing)                            11.32.00
18 Spencer Beamer (DLP Racing)                               11.34.00
19 Michael Stoop (Time Pro Cycling)                          11.36.00
20 Roman Kilun (Health Net p/b Maxxis)                       11.38.00
21 Garrett Peltonen (Bissell Pro Cycling)                    11.40.00
22 Michael Norton (Calyon Pro Cycling Team)                  11.42.00
23 Robert Sweeting (Toshiba-Aerospace Engineering Group)     11.44.00
24 Jonathan Mumford (Kelly Benefit Strategies - Medifast)    11.46.00
25 Matthew Crane (Health Net p/b Maxxis)                     11.48.00
26 Graham Howard (Bissell Pro Cycling)                       11.50.00
27 Thad Dulin (DLP Racing)                                   11.52.00
28 Bernard Van Ulden (Jelly Belly)                           11.54.00
29 Daniel Ramsey (Time Pro Cycling)                          11.56.00
30 Micheal Grabinger (Successfulliving.com p/b Parkpre)      11.58.00
31 Michael Creed (Rock Racing)                               12.00.00
32 Christian Vandevelde (Team Garmin-Chipotle p/b H30)       12.02.00
33 Tom Zirbel (Bissell Pro Cycling)                          12.04.00
34 Timothy Duggan (Team Garmin-Chipotle p/b H30)             12.06.00
35 Danny Pate (Team Garmin-Chipotle p/b H30)                 12.08.00
36 David Zabriskie (Team Garmin-Chipotle p/b H30)            12.10.00

11:02 EDT   
Make that 35. The first rider on the list, Jacob Rytlewski (Rite-Aid p/b Shebell & Shebell), was a no show this morning. Eric Bennett will be the first one off instead.

11:04 EDT   
Now Justin Spinelli (Kelly Benefit Strategies/Medifast) is down the ramp and off for the mostly flat but technical 33.4km test.

11:07 EDT   
It's a warm, humid day with a light breeze blowing in Greenville. The riders will be taking on three laps of the course - which might get tricky at times with the following cars behind each rider.

11:08 EDT   
With riders taking on three laps, the course is more spectator friendly than in previous years when it was a point-to-point. The crowds are pretty good here at Clemson.

Brad Huff is in the house now - he's looking pretty fit and could be a contender today.

11:09 EDT   
The riders have to tackle a roundabout after the start, and that circle is also part of the circuit. There is a potential for a traffic jam as the later riders enter the course as earlier riders start their next lap.

11:10 EDT   
Our main contenders will come later on in the hour: Christian Vande Velde (Garmin-Chipotle) has to be a favourite, as does George Hincapie (Columbia) and David Zabriskie, also Garmin-Chipotle. But we cannot discount Tom Zirbel (Bissell) who won the time trial at Tour of Utah.

11:11 EDT   
Danny Pate, also of the very strong Garmin-Chipotle team, was a U23 world TT champion, so we'll expect a strong performance out of him.

11:12 EDT   
The first rider is nearing the end of his first lap, and Tom Danielson is making his way down the starting straightaway. Let's hope they don't meet in the roundabout.

11:13 EDT   
Andy Baker (Time Pro Cycling) is the next rider off, and he'll be chased by John Murphy (Health Net). The riders are starting two minutes apart.

11:16 EDT   
John Murphy won the Tour of Taiwan back in March - he's off down the start ramp to see if he can get the stars and stripes jersey today. He'll be followed by Charles Eldridge (Team Type 1).

11:22 EDT   
Ted King (Bissell) did not make his start this morning. He was the winner of the Hanes Park criterium earlier this month. So his slot will go unfilled and we'll wait two minutes for the next rider.

Nick Frey (TIME) comes in with the fastest first lap split, 14'01.

11:23 EDT   
Steven Cozza is down the ramp now as Huff comes through at the end of his first lap. Huff is third fastest at 14'18.

11:26 EDT   
It may be a co-incidence, or it may be good planning, but Health Net's Corey Collier slotted in just ahead of Phil Zijicek - he may act as a rabbit for the earlier starter to help keep his pace high on the second lap.

11:27 EDT   
New best time! Zajicek goes well under Frey's first lap time, getting 13'46".

11:29 EDT   
Tom Peterson is down the ramp in the argyle of Garmin-Chipotle. That team's manager, Jonathan Vaughters, was spotted riding in Denver with former democratic presidential candidate John Kerry - who was kitted out in the argyle!

11:31 EDT   
Scott Zwizanski (Bissell) is off and racing. The US Pro championships are a bit strange this year, as the teams are not limited with how many riders they can enter. Some teams have 14 riders! It's going to be hard for the guys like Hincapie, who have just one team-mate, to contend with that.

11:34 EDT   
Time for massive confusion - we've got riders finishing their second lap, riders on the first lap, and more riders starting! Rock Racing's Sergio Hernandez is off, and Spencer Beamer (DLP Racing) is next. He won a stage at Superweek this year.

11:37 EDT   
Cozza comes through with the best first lap split - 13'30". Spinelli is fastest at the end of two laps with a 28'32".

11:43 EDT   
Garrett Peltonen is down the ramp now, sporting some fine facial hair. Perhaps he was inspired by David Zabriskie and Steven Cozza, who made moustaches fashionable earlier this year.

We've got a new fastest time - correction to earlier splits, we had the wrong number. It was Danielson in second after the first lap, and now he's the fastest at the second lap with a 27'47!

11:44 EDT   
See what we mean about confusion?! It's hard to keep everyone straight, but we'll do our best. Toshiba's Robert Sweeting is now down the ramp and sprinting toward the roundabout.

11:47 EDT   
Zwizanski comes through the first lap in the third fastest time. Jon Mumford (KBS/M) is off for his start as we have the first rider finishing. Mumford has his number 13 upside down out of superstition.

11:49 EDT   
We can add Eric Bennett (Successfulliving.com) to the finished list - he's second out of two, 3'20 behind Spinelli.

11:50 EDT   
New fastest time for Steven Cozza! He's well under Danielson's time with a 27'18". those Garmin boys are quick today!

11:54 EDT   
Oh, the confusion is not cleared up as it waas Charles Eldridge with the new fastest time, not Cozza...

11:57 EDT   
Sorry about the confusion, our man on the ground has a new iPhone and some butterfingers.

11:59 EDT   
We can say with confidence that Tom Danielson has come through the finish with the new fastest time. He's in with a 41'31 - fast!

12:03 EDT   
OK! We've got it sorted out now. Cozza is fastest at the first two checks, followed by his team-mate Danielson. Now Cozza comes storming in to the finish with a 41'14 for the new best time!

12:07 EDT   
We're now getting down to the point of having all the riders on the course. Zirbel is off, Duggan is next for the trio of Garmin-Chipotle riders who bring up the rear. Vande Velde is on course now, so we should be seeing some fast time checks coming up.

Defending champ Dave Zabriskie is the last rider off in a few minutes.

12:09 EDT   
We missed a few times in there, but we've got the top ten below. It turns out that Danny Pate, who was to be the next to last rider, is not going to start. His D.S. Chann Mc Rae said he's decided to save his legs for the road race tomorrow.

12:10 EDT   
David Zabriskie is in the house now so we're about to have all riders on course. He's clean shaven - perhaps needing all the aerodynamic advantage he can get.

12:13 EDT   
Bummer, Zwizanski got a flat with 1km to go... we're at rider #7, Micheal Grabinger (Successfulliving.com p/b Parkpre) at the first check and he's not challenging for the lead.

12:14 EDT   
But, Zwizanski's time, 42'59 is third best so far, so good job to the Bissell rider for pulling off the final kilo.

12:15 EDT   
Wow! Mike Creed (Rock Racing) is in with a 13'44 on the first split - that's second fastest at the moment! Four riders left to come through that check.

12:16 EDT   
Now Vande Velde is through with the second best time! Nine seconds behind Cozza for the rider who wore the pink jersey in the Giro this year.

12:18 EDT   
New best time at the first check - this one goes to Tom Zirbel! The Bissell rider sneaks in with a 13'26! He's flying! This rider was off the front of the Tour of California on the final stage in February, and here he is powering through this national championship course.

12:21 EDT   
Tim Duggan is through the first check, but he's well back in 7th place. We've got a fast finisher coming through at the end here....

12:22 EDT   
That's Roman Kilun of Health Net who is through third fastest with a 42'33.

12:23 EDT   
Bernard Van Ulden (Jelly Belly) is going quick today - he is third fastest at the second check. Soon we'll have Dave Z coming through the first check. He's at 1km to the timer.

12:24 EDT   
Dave Z is the fastest! 13'19!

12:26 EDT   
Zabriskie seems to have recovered from that crash in the Giro where he fractured a vertebrae. He had a relatively poor Olympics, but said he had a cold there. He's in the Garmin-Chipotle skinsuit today, which is supposed to be made of a super aerodynamic material.

12:29 EDT   
Mike Creed is third fastest at the second check - the Rock Racing rider is at 27'53", quite a ways back from Cozza. Vande Velde comes through with a 27'14" to knock Creed down to fourth.

12:31 EDT   
Vande Velde is just six seconds off Cozza's time, making up three seconds on that gap in the second lap. However, Dave Z was 20 seconds ahead of his team-mate on the first check, so we expect CVV's and Cozza's time to fall.

12:32 EDT   
New best time at the second check! Zirbel is smoking fast today - he comes through in 27'00!

12:33 EDT   
It's going to be a close fight between Zirbel and Zabriskie - one of three Z's in the peloton. Is that rare? They were 7 seconds apart after one lap - let's see how Zabriskie goes....

12:35 EDT   
Nobody has challenged Cozza's position in the 'hot seat' at the moment. We've had Crane and Howard come through off the pace. Duggan is through the second check now, but he's well off the pace with 28'31. But it's not bad for his first race back after an injury.

12:37 EDT   
Duggan was the rider who caught a tire in a crack at the Tour of Georgia and crashed hard. He was in really bad shape, but seems to have recovered from his extensive injuries quite well.

Dave Z is getting close to the end of his second lap...

12:37 EDT   
26'57! Z is just three seconds faster!

12:37 EDT   
He's losing ground a bit on Zirbel, and we have to wonder if his long time out of competition is hurting his ability to finish strongly.

12:39 EDT   
This is as exciting as a time trial can get! Unlike the Olympics, where there was a big hill, this flat, fast course is keeping the gaps between riders at just seconds. The battle of the Z's on the final lap has commenced!

12:40 EDT   
33.4 kilometres is a strange distance, but championship time trials do not have to adhere to any standard length. The US Masters Championships was 38km this year - guys who were 49 years old had to race further than the pros!

12:41 EDT   
Daniel Ramsey (Time) is through the finish with 44'00 - just six more rides left to finish: Grabinger, Creed, Vande Velde, Zirbel, Duggan and Zabriskie.

12:42 EDT   
Creed comes through with a 42'06 -third best.

12:43 EDT   
Vande Velde sprints out of the saddle through the line for a new fastest time! 40'49.31!

12:43 EDT   
What a great final lap for Vande Velde!

12:44 EDT   
Zirbel, however is steamrolling this final lap. He's at 1km to go!

12:45 EDT   
Zirbel is in the aero bars at the line for a new best time!!! 40'44!

12:47 EDT   
We'll be seeing Duggan first, and then it will be the other Z - Zabriskie. Can he do it? Zirbel put in a great effort on the final lap, as did Vande Velde. One thing for sure, the Garmin team will not sweep the podium today.

12:48 EDT   
Well, unless Duggan pulls something amazing off... but that's a touch unlikely now isn't it? We don't think Zabriskie will catch his young team-mate.

12:49 EDT   
Although, that is a remote possibility - he was 1'34 behind Dave Z at the second check... they'll be coming to the line any moment now!

12:49 EDT   
Two, two, two riders left. Who will it be in the stars and stripes? Zabriskie or Zirbel?!

12:49 EDT   
Duggan comes through with 43'18 and Dave Z is just behind him!

12:50 EDT   
The tension is bristling like a live wire here...

12:50 EDT   
Here's the moto... where's Dave Z?

12:50 EDT   
Something must have happened to Dave Z out there, he should have come through ....

12:51 EDT   
Here he comes!

12:51 EDT   
He's got it!!! Dave Z has won for the second year in a row!

12:51 EDT   
He's in with a 40'39.04! We forgot about the two minute gap where Danny Pate should have been. So that's what took him so long - nothing like a bit of suspense, eh?

12:53 EDT   
Wow - what a close call! Zirbel was just five seconds behind Zabriskie over 33.4 kilometres. That could well be the difference between the Bissell kit and the ultra high tech Garmin skinsuit!

12:53 EDT   
Thanks for reading, and tune in tomorrow for the men's road race at 1PM EST.

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