Clara Hughes emphasises Olympic credentials with Chrono Gatineau victory
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Sunday, May 20, 2012

Clara Hughes emphasises Olympic credentials with Chrono Gatineau victory

by Ben Atkins at 7:39 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Race Reports and Results
 
Specialized-lululemon dominates Canadian time trial with four in the top five

clara hughesClara Hughes (Specialized-lululemon) emphasised her credentials as one of the riders to beat in this summer’s Olympic Games time trial with a successful defence of her Chrono Gatineau title. The Canadian champion - who returned to cycling last season after a successful career in long track speed skating - topped an all Specialized-lululemon podium, ahead of American duo Evelyn Stevens and Amber Neben.

Hughes’ winning time of 23’56” for the 18.4km course - run over two laps of a 9.2km circuit - was eight seconds faster than Stevens, with Neben in third place at 20 seconds.

“This is my first win for the team,” Hughes said after the race, "so I'm really excited about it.
 
“We have amazing TT riders on this team so I knew it was going to be hard to beat my teammates. I just wanted to go out there and have a good race and have a good feeling about the race and everything leading into the race.”

Hughes took bronze in both the road race and time trial in the Atlanta Olympics in 1996, and returned to the sport with the intention of competing in London this year.
 
“I felt really good out there,” she said, “and after a hard spring season of racing I've benefited from that and I feel like this is the first race of my season now leading into the Olympics.”

The top of the leaderboard was dominated by Specialized-lululemon from the early stages, as Ina Teutenberg set a time of 24’38”. This was soon beaten by Stevens however, who went 34 seconds quicker with 24’04”. Neben, in the second last wave to start, went within 12 seconds of her teammate and compatriot, then fourth from last to start Tara Whitten (Tibco-To The Top) went just 23 seconds slower to push Teutenberg off the provisional podium.

Last to start as defending champion though, Hughes powered around the course to take her second straight Gatineau title, and make sure of an all Specialized-lululemon podium.

In addition to Hughes’ Olympic credentials, the race also gives the US selectors a headache, with Stevens and Neben both laying down a challenge to Kristin Armstrong (Exergy-TWENTY12). The Olympic champion was one of the few top North American time triallists missing from the Gatineau field, having win the Amgen Tour of California women’s time trial just two days before.

Result Chrono Gatineau
1. Clara Hughes (Can) Specialized-lululemon 18.4km in 23’56”
2. Evelyn Stevens (USA) Specialized-lululemon @ 8s
3. Amber Neben (USA) Specialized-lululemon @ 20s
4. Tara Whitten (Can) Tibco-To The Top @ 31s
5. Ina Teutenberg (Ger) Specialized-lululemon @ 42s
6. Rhae-Christie Shaw (Can) Canadian National Team @ 55s
7. Carmen Small (USA) Optum Pro Cycling @ 1’03”
8. Shara Gillow (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge @ 1’04”
9. Alex Rhodes (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge @ 1’28”
10. Julie Beveridge (Can) Canadian National Team

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