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.
Following Justin England
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.
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