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Trek-Livestrong repeats at Gila time trial; Hughes takes over women’s lead

  • By Steve Frothingham
  • Published Apr. 29, 2011
  • Updated Apr. 29, 2011 at 10:25 PM EDT

Clara Hughes bombing down the descent. Photo: Casey B. Gibson | www.cbgphoto.com

TYRONE, New Mexico (VN) — The Trek-Livestrong development team once again surprised even itself with a blistering time trial win at the SRAM Tour of the Gila Friday, when 18-year-old Dale Parker shocked the heavy hitters.

Parker, a junior world pursuit champion, beat Bissell’s Jeremy Vennell and race leader Francisco Mancebo (RealCyclist.com) to take the stage win by a handful of seconds. Mancebo remains in the overall lead; Parker takes over the best young rider lead from teammate Joe Dombrowski.

In the women’s race Clara Hughes stunned race leader Mara Abbott, winning by nearly 2 1/2 minutes on the 16.2-mile course. Hughes, racing for the three-woman Pactimo composite team, took over the race lead. Hughes was riding her first road time trial in about eight years.

Fellow Canadian Rhae Shaw (Cycle U) was second on the day. Shaw, a former pro triathlete, is in her first season as a road racer, racing without teammates at the Gila. Shaw was eighth on GC coming into the time trial, and though official results were not yet available, her time trial result likely moved her well into the top 5 heading into the final two stages.

Janel Holcomb (Colavita Forno d’Asolo) was third on the stage.

In Sergent’s steps

Parker puts the hammer down. Photo: Casey B. Gibson | www.cbgphoto.com

Last year, Trek-Livestrong’s Jesse Sergent (who like Parker is a world class individual pursuiter) won the Gila TT, beating out Levi Leipheimer, Dave Zabriskie and other top pros.

Parker said he talked with Sergent (who is now with the RadioShack pro team) about the Gila TT. Sergent advised Parker to use a 54-tooth, rather than 55-tooth, large chainring for the course. The decision worked well, Parker said.

The high speed descent to the finish “suited me a lot, coming from the track,” he said. “I kept trying to hold it at 80 kilometers an hour (50 mph). I kept watching the speedo and if it would drop down I would kick it back up. I did that the whole way to the finish.”

Hughes tests her TT skills

Hughes is targeting the upcoming Pan American Games time trial and then the London Olympic time trial next year. She said the Gila results showed she is on track.

She said she wasn’t too stressed about holding the GC lead, but predicted a ‘battle to the death’ with Abbott and others for the win in Sunday’s Gila Monster stage. While Abbott showed in stage 1 mountain-top that she is the strongest climber in the race, Hughes was not far behind in third. And Hughes’ teammate Flavia Oliveira was a close second to Abbott that day, so the Pactimo team, while small, has two powerful arrows in its quiver.

Hughes did concede that she was eyeing the pottery trophy awarded to the Gila overall winner. Her Silver City host happens to be the potter who makes the trophies. And Hughes said she loves criteriums.

Up next: the crit

Saturday’s Downtown Silver City criterium rarely affects the GC, but is always a crowd pleaser (although Saturday’s crowd will likely be a bit quieter than that seen at the last two editions, when thousands of spectators poured into the town to see Lance Armstrong race).

Teams that have been shut out at the Gila so far will look to the crit to make their mark.

V Australia, for example, has yet to get on the podium here. Team director Henk Vogels won the Gila crit in 2008, and he will be keen to see his boys score a win Saturday.

Roman Van Uden was the 2009 winner here, one of his first major wins. Now racing for the Pure Black Racing team out of New Zealand, he’ll be looking for a repeat.

Last year’s winner was Trek-Livestrong’s Taylor Phinney. The team’s best bet for a repeat is likely Joe Lewis, a young Australian sprinter who has been compared to Vogels.

Another young rider to watch is Mancebo’s Realcyclist.com teammate Cole House, who won the Sea Otter and Redlands crits last month.

In the women’s crit, former road champion Meredith Miller (TIBCO) is one to watch; Colavita has several top sprinters, including Modesta Vsesniauskaite. Peanut Butter & Co. also has Lauren Tamayo, Coryn Rivera, and others.

Quick results:
Women’s stage

  • 1. Clara Hughes, Pactimo Cycling Team, in 0:39:33
  • 2. Rhae Shaw, Cycleu, in 0:41:23 at 0:01:50
  • 3. Janel Holcomb, Colavita/forno d’Asolo, in 0:41:58 at 0:02:25
  • 4. Mara Abbott, Diadora-Pasta Zara Team, in 0:42:00 at 0:02:27
  • 5. Alison Starnes, Peanut Butter & Co.-Twenty12, in 0:42:05 at 0:02:32

Women’s GC

  • 1. Clara Hughes, Pactimo Cycling Team, in 8:40:51
  • 2. Mara Abbott, Diadora-Pasta Zara Team, in 8:42:34 at 0:01:43
  • 3. Rhae Shaw, Cycleu, in 8:43:49 at 0:02:58
  • 4. Janel Holcomb, Colavita/Forno d’Asolo, in 8:44:06 at 0:03:15
  • 5. Alison Starnes, Peanut Butter & Co.-Twenty12, in 8:44:58 at 0:04:07

Men’s stage 3

  • 1. Dale Parker, Trek-Livestrong, in 0:34:39 U25
  • 2. Jeremy Vennell, Bissell Pro Cycling, in 0:34:45 at 0:00:06
  • 3. Francisco Mancebo, Realcyclist.com Cycling Team, in 0:34:46 at 0:00:07
  • 4. Luis Amaran, Jamis Sutter Home P/b Colavita, in 0:35:11 at 0:00:32
  • 5. Ben Day,Kenda/5-Hour Energy Pro Cycling , in 0:35:14 at 0:00:35

Men’s GC

  • 1. Francisco Mancebo, Realcyclist.com Cycling Team, in 7:45:30
  • 2. Ben Day, Kenda/5-Hour Energy Pro Cycling P/, in 7:46:45 at 0:01:15
  • 3. Luis Amaran, Jamis Sutter Home P/b Colavita, in 7:47:10 at 0:01:40
  • 4. Dale Parker, Trek-Livestrong, in 7:47:23 at 0:01:53 U25
  • 5. Lachlan Morton, Chipotle Development Team, in 7:47:33 at 0:02:03 U25

Complete results

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