Zabriskie Claims Fourth Straight Professional National Time Trial Title
David Zabriskie (Team Garmin-Slipstream) remains the only athlete to win a USA Cycling professional time trial championship after successfully defending his national title on Saturday – his fourth straight since the event’s inception in 2006.
Zabriskie edged runner-up Tom Zirbel (Boulder, Colo./Team Bissell) by just 44 seconds to maintain his monopoly on the Stars-and-stripes jersey, completing the 20.7-mile course in 39 minutes, 37.14 seconds. Kelly Benefit Strategies Scott Zwizanski (Mill Valley, Calif.) took home the bronze medal, finishing just under two minutes off the pace.
After finishing fifth to Zirbel in the individual time trial stage of the Tour of Utah last week, Zabriskie once again affirmed his reputation as the fastest American in the individual race against the clock today in Greenville. The reigning national champion not only posted a nearly one minute time gap over his closest competitor, but, on the exact same course as 2008, he also improved his time by one minute and five seconds.
“Last year, I was [like] what kind of course is this? But this year it was more comfortable, and I like the course,”
Zabriskie said. “I really enjoy wearing this jersey over in Europe. It’s something I take a lot of pride in. It never gets old.”
For Zabriskie, Saturday’s victory marks his fifth career national time trial title as a professional. He also won in 2004 when both pros and amateurs competed together in the elite national championships.
Kelly Benefit Strategies put two riders in the top five with Johathan Mumford (Sandy, Utah) coming in fifth in a near deadlock with fourth-place finisher Bernard Vanulden (San Francisco, Calif.) of Jelly Belly. Both riders finished within a second of each other at 0:42:29.
In addition to reaffirming Zabriskie’s dominance, Saturday’s race also confirmed Zirbel’s progress as a consistent contender in major time trials. At 30 years-old, Zirbel continues to show his strength. Three years ago, he finished 1:29 behind Zabriskie to place seventh. In 2007, he was 15 seconds back to finish just off the podium in fourth and in 2008, his five-second deficit and silver medal suggested that 2009 may be his year to unseat Zabriskie. The upset was not meant to be, however with another one-two finish, the stage is set for another show-down in 2010.
Despite the somewhat technical, rolling circuit course, the USA Cycling National Racing Calendar leader and time-trial specialist, Zirbel, did not expect a nearly one-minute deficit.
“I didn’t expect to lose by 45 seconds, wow, that’s an incredible ride by Dave,” explained Zirbel. “I didn’t have time splits while I was riding. I just figured it would be close… that it would come down to 2 or 3 seconds like it did last year. Wow, to see those time gaps, I should’ve sat up. I had a whole minute to spare.”
Zabriskie and Zirbel did not disappoint in what was expected to be a show down of the two powerhouse time trialers. Racing three laps of a technical, 11.1-kilometer rolling circuit, Zabriskie left the start gate last as the top-seeded rider with Zirbel just before. The pair recorded the fastest marks at both intermediate time checks, however Zabriskie passed through the first lap with a 29-second advantage on Zirbel. Zabriskie opened up his advantage to 37 seconds after the second lap and turned it on in the final lap, never looking to be in danger of losing his lead.
USA Cycling Professional Time Trial National Championships results:
1 ZABRISKIE David Garmin-Slipstream 00:39:37
2 ZIRBEL Bissell Pro Cycling 40.21
3 ZWIZANSKI Kelly Benefit Strategies 41.18
4 VANULDEN Jelly Belly Cycling Team 42.29
5 MUMFORD Kelly Benefit Strategies 42.29
6 FRIEDMAN Garmin-Slipstream 42.37
7 ZAJICEK Fly V Australia 42.38
8 CHODROFF OUCH Presented By Maxxis 42.44
9 JACQUES-MAYNES Bissell Pro Cycling 43.07
10 CREED Team Type 1 43.11
11 WINSTEAD Kenda Pro Cycling Presented By Spinergy 43.41
12 MACH Bissell Pro Cycling 43.43
13 KILUN OUCH Presented By Maxxis 43.44
14 BALDWIN OUCH Presented By Maxxis 43.56
15 SWEETING Land Rover-ORBEA 44.00
16 KEM Bissell Pro Cycling 44.24
17 CRANE Jelly Belly Cycling Team 44.50
18 GAIMON Jelly Belly Cycling Team 44.52
19 REIJNEN Jelly Belly Cycling Team 45.40
20 MONTELEONE USA Development Team 46.01
21 LANDIS OUCH Presented By Maxxis 46.30
22 HAMBLEN DLP Racing 46.57
23 WOLFENBARGER Cinelli-Down Under 49.03