TRP World Update - Post Giro
Welcome to the new normal. Based on the number of hours spent in front of the computer watching races, this past weekend may have been one of the biggest of the year!
The races were varied, the results unpredictable and the quality outstanding. Some highlights from local to global…
This is one of the most prestigious races on the U.S. circuit. A staple on the calendar since 1940(!), this year’s edition proved once again that American racing, at it’s heart, is to be found in the high-speed frenzy of the criterium. On a seemingly simple four corner course stretching out over a mile, this race is both a trophy-of-measure for the winners and a microcosm of US racing.
Looks easy enough right? Maybe, but don't doubt it's challenges or prestige, instead glance through the winners list for some perspective:
Like most years it came down to a pack finish again in 2012 – only this time TRP Brakes was astride the WINNERS in BOTH mens and womens races! Yep Team Mountain Khaki’s Luke Keough took another step up the sprinters hierarchy with a strong performance and Team Vanderkitten put Ruth Winder on top after a similarly dynamic race came down to an all out field romp.
or if you'd like a bit more - save the finish...here is a nice look at the pre-race and early action:
Down the road a few hours, but a world away in both style and suffering, the US PRO Championships took to the streets of Greenville South Carolina for the last time on Monday. The race is moving next year and the nearly 100 competitors, wanted to go out with a bang as evidenced by the immediate driving of Team Garmin- Barracuda that created a lead break of 28 riders before they hit Paris Mountain for the first time!
This group would hold sway throughout the day and rumor has it this was the hardest US Pro since it’s been in South Carolina – no small feat if you look at some of the past events. In the end Tim Duggan took his hard earned fitness from all those miles on the front at the Tour of California to a 26 second win in front of a splintered chase group of 8 riders. While one of TRP’s sponsored teams didn’t pull on the stars-and-bars this year (top finisher was Kenda/5-Hour Energy’s Jim Stemper), we’d like to say congratulations to 2012 US Pro Champ Tim Duggan. Nice ride out there Tim! *For kicks you should check out his race files from TOC - impressive!
Moving west we land at the inaugural Exergy Tour womens UCI 2.1 stage race. Built from the foundations of the Ore-Ida and HP Womens Challenges that previously wandereda round Idaho, this event offers the same type of potential that the Tour of California showed in it’s first year. The start list alone made this one of the premiere events of the year so far with no less than six current and former World Champions including curently striped Giorgia Bronzini, Kristen Armstrong (albeit for the ill fated prologue only), Amber Neben, Diana Ziliute, Nicole Cooke, and Clara Huges (yea, it was in speedskating, but still!) - then throw current superstars like Evelyn Stevens, Ino-Yoko Teutenberg, Rochelle Gilmour, Clara Huges, Ann Samplonius, and Megan Guarnier in the mix and you begin to see what we're talking about. This years event was exciting as it came down to a final stage attack by Eve Stevens that wrested the leaders jersey from teammate Amber Neben in a move that may well have Olympic repercussions (wonder how that played out on the team bus!).
A quick hit from the final stage press conference:
Tour Of Belgium
This five stage race might be considered the cyclocrosser’s Tour Championship – especially considering the depth of the ‘cross talent assembled for this years edition. Of course there are many other protagonists from Pro Tour teams that covet the title, and almost inevitably it comes down to one of these riders excelling in the time trial – as Tony Martin did this year on stage 4’s race against the clock - to seal the overall victory. Then again it was a refreshing view to see both Sven Nys and Kevin Pauwels attacking the last stage in a desire for pre-‘cross glory, and Pauwels almost came through finishing only 2 seconds back on the last stage. In the battle of ‘cross GC, Sven Nys finished 29th at 4:04, seven spots and over five minutes ahead of Zdenek Stybar, seven plus minutes ahead of Pauwels (41st), and nearly 10 minutes up on current CX World Champion Niels Albert who came home in 68th overall.
and finally...we arrive at the Giro!
Forza Hesjedal! The first ever Canadian Grand Tour Winner brings a slew of raw talent to the table, talent honed over a professional career that stretches back to his days on the World Cup mountain bike circuit. Check out the start by Ryder at the 2001 Napa World Cup (skip to 1:00) – which also shows a Volvo-Cannondale clad Cadel Evans:
taking time where he could, like the sweet little grabs on stages 14 and 19. Here is Stage 14:
And Stage 19:
Have a great week!