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Tour de Georgia - Following Justin England on his Time Trial
 
By Staff
Date: 4/21/2007
Tour de Georgia - Following Justin England on his Time Trial
 

Time Trials are known as the race of truth where winning depends only on each rider's strength, endurance and determination against the clock. It is a lonely endeavor with man and machine against time. It is also a quiet race with the only noise coming from the disk wheels, the cheers yelled by spectators lining the road, and the honking and encouragement from the team car. Tag along as I follow Justin England of the Toyota United Pro Cycling Team during the Individual Time Trial.
by Lyne Lamoureux


Following Justin England
Photo c. Celia Cole

The starting order of the Stage 4 Individual Time Trial is taken from the General Classification at the end of Stage 3, where riders start in one-minute intervals in reverse order of Individual General Classification and the last ten riders start at two-minute intervals.

Driving the car behind Justin was Kirk Willett, who joined Toyota United as Team Director in 2007. Kirk was Team Director for the Prime Alliance Cycling Team for a three-year stint (2000-2003) . He retired from the sport and went back to school to get his Bachelor of Science degree in General Science, and a minor in Chemistry. He had a gap on his schedule and is very happy to reprise his Team Director role with Toyota-United before embarking on his medical school studies at the Oregon Health & Science University at the end of the 2007 season.

I joined Kirk in the team car a few minutes before Justin, 69th is the General Classification before the ITT, is scheduled to start at 11:45am. As he starts on time, we slot in behind him to provide any and all support that he might need during the next 45 to 50 minutes ride. Justin gets settled on his TT bike, and we're off. It is a quiet ride with only the woosh of the disk wheels and very sparse spectators at the beginning of the ride of truth.

After about 16 minutes into the time trial, we spot his one-minute man, Jonathan Garcia of BMC Racing Team, which Justin catches after one or two minutes. The catch and passing is all done in silence, without a glance on Justin's part as he keeps on pushing through with his head down. The car stays behind Garcia for a few minutes to allow Justin to pull ahead, and then we move on and slot in behind Justin once again.

The road starts going up and finally fans are lining the road, cowbells and cheers greet and energize Justin to keep on going strong.


Justin against time

Justin finishes the big climb about half way point and then he fights time riding along the undulations and rolling hills of the plateau and the tight and twisty corners, and often looking up to safely manage the hairpin turns. Justin finished at finished at 4'05” of the winner Levi Leipheimer (Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team) with a winning time of 44'51". Justin's 27th place in the 18.9-mile (30.4 km) time trial moved him from 69th to 34th overall.

Asked about the ITT, Justin said: “I could have used so more horn.... It was good, I kind of went about 95%, it's good to go a little bit hard just to open your legs up for tomorrow. The big day tomorrow going up Brasstown. also at the same time I really didn't want to dig too deep and put myself in a hole but I did put in a good effort”.

When asked about the course, he stated that “If you had never the course before then the descents could have been considered sketchy. It was a similar course last year, and we got to drive it this morning. And by the time I started, I don't think any of our guys had finished yet so I couldn't get info from anybody else.” Justin finished by stating that he is looking forwards to the big stage, Brasstown Bald.

Thank you Justin and Kirk for letting me ride along, and next time we'll honk more

 
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