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Nature Valley Grand Prix Stage 1 TT – Women’s Race Report

June 10, 2009

Armstrong Takes Top Spot At Opening Time Trial Of The Nature Valley Grand Prix.

By Cynthia Lou

Opening the last U.S. stage race of her career with a victory, Kristin Armstrong (Cervélo Test Team) blazed up the finishing hill of the St. Paul Riverfront Time Trial to take the yellow jersey in the first stage of the Nature Valley Grand Prix. Close behind Armstrong’s finish of 13’ 48.55” on the rainy six-mile time trial course is current U.S. Time Trial champion Allison Powers (Team Type 1), 12.59 seconds behind at 14’ 01.14”. Erinne Willcock (Webcor Builders) finished third 48.4 seconds behind at 14’ 36.95“.

“This is one of my favorite races,” a beaming Armstrong said. “Minneapolis is very welcoming,” she added, noting that the community and fan support at the Nature Valley Grand Prix helps her prioritize this race over others when deciding her racing schedule.

Kristin Armstrong (Cervelo Test Team) finished the Stage One of the Nature Valley Grand Prix in first place among 119 women following the Saint Paul (Minn.) Time Trial held June 10, 2009. (photo courtesy of Steve Pottenger)

That she gets to start off the race with her strongest discipline is an added bonus.

“We’re looking forward to tonight’s crit, where there are 30 seconds worth of time bonuses,” said Allison Powers (Team Type 1). “We have a full team of eight, and we’re a strong crit team.”

Although Kristin Armstrong lacks teammates, she is not alone, “There are others who might also be riding alone, who are looking towards the top 10 spots. Hopefully we can work together.”

“If it’s still raining tonight,” she added, “we will definitely try to stay in front!”

Rounding out the leaders jerseys are Alexis Rhodes (Webcor Builders) with the Best Young Rider Jersey, and Kate Veronneau (Altarum Women’s Cycling Team) with the Best Amateur Rider Jersey.

With the teams fighting for the time bonuses, tonight’s Downtown St. Paul Criterium is sure to be exciting. Will Kristin Armstrong maintain her lead? Will Allison Powers and Team Type 1 take the yellow jersey? How might the podium shuffle around?

Follow the action at or, link “Live Updates.”


Nature Valley Grand Prix Stage 1 TT – Men’s Race Report

Bissell, OUCH-Maxxis Dominate Opening Time Trial of 2009 Nature Valley Grand Prix

By James Lockwood

While the order of the stages changed from 2008 for the start of the Nature Valley Grand Prix, beginning the five-day, six-stage race with the Saint Paul Time Trial did little to change the outcome of the stage. Bissel Pro Cycling dominated the standings, and Rory Sutherland came out of the stage in second place, followed by Peter Latham (Bissel Pro Cycling).

Unlike last year, though, Bissell hopes to use the momentum from the stage win and dominating presence in the top 10 to take home the overall classification this year.

“Last year, we did the same thing and didn’t finish too well,” said stage winner Tom Zirbel, who put in a blistering time of 12 minutes, 36 seconds and the 7.2-kilometer course, beating Sutherland by 13 seconds. “We have some stronger guys on the team this year. Hopefully, we learned from last year and will do better.”

Last year, Bissell came out of the time trial with Ben Jacques-Maynes wearing the leader’s jersey and his team dominating the top 10 standings. In the end, though, Jacques-Maynes finished fourth overall, losing time to overall champion Sutherland in the fifth stage Mankato Road Race.

That result had OUCH-Maxxis’ Sutherland pleased, if not overly happy, finishing second to Zirbel.

“I think we are in the best position,” said Sutherland, whose teammates John Murphy – second overall last year – Karl Menzies (2006 champion) and Tim Johnson also finished in or near the top 10, all within 30 seconds of Zirbel. “If it comes down to the climb in Mankato, I would rather be chasing Zirbel than chasing Ben. I think I am a better climber than he is.”

Sutherland cautioned, though, there was a lot of riding to do before getting to that point.

“There are 15 guys who could be in the yellow jersey after the crit tonight,” said OUCH-Maxxis’s director Mike Tamayo.

Among those 15 include Jaques-Maynes and his brother, Andy, and their teammates Frank Pipp and Peter Latham. Latham briefly held the best time before losing it to Zirbel 12 minutes later. He finished third on the day.

Cracking the top 10 and disrupting the Bissell-OUCH showdown was Team Type 1’s Mike Creed, a recent addition to the team after financial turmoil ended his tenure at beleaguered Rock Racing. Creed finished the stage in sixth, 22 seconds back.

“It’s unbelievable,” Creed said of his performance and place on the team. “I was really, really surprised. I just got the bike. It felt good from the start.”

Happy to be racing on the team, he said his expectations riding against the juggernauts of Bissell and OUCH-Maxxis are in check for the overall classification. “We have some strong sprinters on the team. Crits will be our focus,” added Creed.

Floyd Landis (Ouch p/b Maxxis) leaves the start house in Stage One of the Nature Valley Grand Prix. Landis finished in 28th place among 144 men. (photo courtesy of Steve Pottenger)


Stage One: St. Paul Riverfront Time Trial

St. Paul Riverfront Time Trial

The time trial is often called “the race of truth”. There will be no hiding in the pack or drafting behind teammates as each rider must test themselves against the course alone.

This will be a no-frills slug fest, with riders flying up and down Lilydale Road in this individual race against the clock and back by popular demand is the finish on top of the Ohio Street hill.

Although the riders will complete well over 200 miles in the Nature Valley Grand Prix, this 4.5 mile race will likely be decisive. Losing just a minute in this time trial could cost a contender five places in the final standings.

Men’s Start List / Women’s Start List

Event Schedule:

8:30 AM – First woman starts (TT Start Times)
9:45 AM – First man starts (TT Start Times)
12:00 PM – Racing ends