Kristin Armstrong wins Amgen Tour of California Women’s Time Trial
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Friday, May 18, 2012

Kristin Armstrong wins Amgen Tour of California Women’s Time Trial

by Ben Atkins at 5:06 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Race Reports and Results, Tour of California
Olympic champion beats mainly domestic field as bid for London qualification continues

Kristin ArmstrongKristin Armstrong (Exergy-TWENTY12) scorched to victory in the second edition of the Amgen Tour of California Women’s Time Trial, on the same 29.7km Bakersfield course that would be used by the men. The Olympic champion completing the rolling out and back course in a time of 39’58”, as the only rider to finish below the 40 minute mark.

The time set by Armstrong was just 3’59” slower than the winning time of US champion Dave Zabriskie (Garmin-Barracuda) later on, and would have been good enough for 65th place in the men’s race.

Alison Powers (Now And Novartis For MS) finished in second place, 1’25” behind Armstrong, with Jade Wilcoxson (Optum Pro Cycling P/b Kelly Benefits Strategies) in third, exactly two minutes back.

“It was one of the hardest courses and conditions I’ve done in my 10-year career,” said Armstrong afterwards. “The heat was really hard and real heavy. The road was recently repaved and black as black so the heat that came off of that was really hard. It was a true time trial course. A true test of fitness and I think the strongest person won.

‘We had a tailwind going out,” the Olympic champion explained. “When you turned around there was hard wind, but you were slightly going down. You had to pedal the entire time. Not turns or technical points, there was no real downhill except the first 30 seconds. It didn’t really give you any rest as a rider. The tailwind wasn’t strong enough to let you get that free speed. Every pedal stroke today you had to put the effort into.”

The first of the ten-rider field - which set off at one-minute intervals - to start was 23-year-old Australian Loren Rowney (Specialized-lululemon), but she was caught for a minute by Robin Farina (Now And Novartis For MS) on the hot, sticky rolling course. The US road champion posted a time of 42’32”, but she was beaten two riders later by Jade Wilcoxson (Optum Pro Cycling P/b Kelly Benefits Strategies), who lowered the best time to 41’58”.

This was to stand until Armstrong, starting last as top seeded rider, came over the line; having caught and passed Alison Powers (Now And Novartis For MS) for one minute, and Emilia Fahlin (Specialized-lululemon) for two.

Despite being the class of the event, which race organisers referred to as “featuring the leading female athletes in the world of cycling”, the ten-rider mostly American invitational field included only one rider that took part in the World time trial championships in Copenhagen, Denmark, last year. Nevertheless, Armstrong feels that the result is another step towards qualifying for the Olympic Games in London in the summer, where she hopes to defend her title.

“I’m really happy with how things are going,” she explained. “I won’t find out if I make the team until June 15 but I treat every time trial likes it’s a world championship. We don’t have very many opportunities to prepare for a one-day time trial so even when preparing for a stage race I pretend I’m preparing for an Olympic time trial.”

Although this was a mostly domestic field, Armstrong’s season has pitted her against the best in the rest of the World so far. Her standout international result so far, has been a repeat of her 2008 second place in the women’s Ronde van Vlaanderen, added to her overall victories in the Merco Classic, San Dimas, and Tour of the Gila stage races.

“I feel great about where I am internationally, said Armstrong. “I’ve done several time trials against the best in the world. The current World Champion, Judith Arndt, the current Canadian Champion, Clara Hughes and against the top American, and so far I’ve been on a winning streak.

“I was second place at the World Cup Tour of Flanders and so racing wise, things are going well. I did a four-week block in Europe to show that I’m at a high international and I think that if things continue to go the way they are, I think I’m where I need to be.”

Result Amgen Tour of California Women’s Time Trial
1. Kristin Armstrong (USA) Exergy-TWENTY12, 29.7km in 39’58”
2. Alison Powers (USA) Now And Novartis For MS @ 1’25”
3. Jade Wilcoxson (USA) Optum Pro Cycling P/b Kelly Benefits Strategies @ 2’00”
4. Alison Tetrick (USA) Exergy-TWENTY12 @ 2’09”
5. Robin Farina (USA) Now And Novartis For MS @ 2’34”
6. Tayler Wiles (USA) Exergy-TWENTY12 @ 3’42”
7. Emilia Fahlin (Swe) Specialized-lululemon @ 3’44”
8. Janel Holcomb (USA) Optum Pro Cycling P/b Kelly Benefits Strategies @ 4’14”
9. Loren Rowney (Aus) Specialized-lululemon @ 4’17”
10. Bridie O’Donnell (Aus) Vanderkitten-Focus @ 4’25”


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