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US Pro Championships, Time Trial
By Cathy Mehl
Date: 9/1/2006
US Pro Championships, Time Trial

The US Pro Time Trial Championships were held today in Greenville, SC under cloudy skies with a field of 54 competing for the honor of wearing the Stars and Stripes jersey for the next twelve months. With several days of doubtful weather leading up to the day's event, the cooler temperatures and no precipitation were welcome indeed as the riders competed throughout the day on the 20.1 mile course. Located in a heavily wooded section north of Greenville, the course had gentle rollers throughout the ride until the very technical last two miles which included several right angle turns that ended up causing problems for the former champion Chris Baldwin (Toyota-United Pro).

Wearing the #1 bib as the reigning champion, Baldwin posted the best intermediate split at the turn-around point halfway through the race and was up on Dave Zabriskie (Team CSC) by eight seconds. Seeming to continue his gain during the second half of the course, Baldwin overcooked the last curve a mere 300 meters from the finish line and found himself in the ditch along side the course, in severe need of a bike change. Feeling at that moment that the race was lost, Baldwin quickly mounted his road bike and pushed hard to get up to speed, but could never regain his momentum and had to settle for second place behind Zabriskie.

Asked how he felt at that moment, Baldwin said he "wasn't too keen about that last 300 meters of the course! I got a good look at the ditch. It's all clear down there, the gardeners have done a nice job clearing the brush! No, really, it was a nice course. It was technical, but not too technical. I was downright pissed off when I crashed. I came here to win and I heard I was the fastest at the turnaround. I knew I was close to winning the race, but when you do something like that you know you're not going to win." When someone commented that he seemed to be keeping it all in perspective, Chris produced a resigned smile and said, "It's just a bike race! I came out and gave it my best. I reconned the course, but I didn't take that corner at 45 mph in practice."

Zabriskie put in a flawless ride, with none of his Team CSC joining him in Greenville to see it or celebrate his win. Warming up on the trainer with the Discovery Channel team, Zabriskie needed only himself today to seal the deal and don the Stars and Stripes. Putting in the winning time by over 31 seconds, Zabriskie has once again proven that his Time Trialing skills are gaining momentum year after year, and DZ will wear the jersey proudly as he races in Europe next season.

Jason McCartney (Discovery Channel Pro Cycling) also put in a stellar ride and secured the final spot on the podium. "It was a great course, very well thought out. It was rolling and not flat, so it was good for me."

Also competing today with a start time of five minutes before the main field, Race2Replace winner AJ Smith rode as an honorary member of Discovery Channel Pro Cycling. Exuding excitement as he rolled out of the start house, AJ posted a final time of 47.42. He happily noted that he was not Dead Last.

Top Ten Results

1 Dave Zabriskie (Team CSC) 41.49.59
2 Chris Baldwin (Toyota-United Pro) 0.31.97
3 Jason McCartney (Discovery Channel Pro Cycling) 0.51.41
4 Mike Friedman (TIAA Cref) 1.08.41
5 Bernard Vanulden (Navigators Insurance) 1.25.47
6 Danny Pate (TIAA Cref) 1.28.41
7 Tom Abb Zirbel (Priority Health) 1.29.68
8 Jeff Louder (Health Net pb Maxxis) 1.37.72
9 Chris Wherry (Toyota-United Pro) 1.48.08
10 Mike Creed (TIAA Cref) 2.12.41

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