Tom Zirbel Wins Stage Three of SRAM Tour of the Gila


First High Profile TT Win of 2013 for Zirbel, Janel Holcomb Follows Up Stage Two Win With Second in Time Trial.

Tom Zirbel delivered a blazing fast time trial in stage two of the SRAM Tour of the Gila, a chilly, windy 26 kilometer trek. Zirbel used his capacity for big wattage output to power through gusting winds with a time of 35:45, with an average speed of 27.88 miles per hour. the TT specialist beat out runner-up Ben Day (UnitedHealthCare Pro Cycling) by 4.89 seconds and Silvan Diller of BMC Development Team by 9.95 seconds.

Performance Director Jonas Carney was pleased to see his top time trialist battle through tough conditions to take the win.

“It’s a tricky time trial in Tyrone, because it’s at altitude and there are two relatively big climbs,” said Carney.

“Today, there was also an 18 mph crosswind. The course really suits Tom and Chad Haga, and we were hopeful that one of them would come away with the win today. Both them have been time trialing really well this year and their season long intra-team competition has them both fired up on the TT bike.”

Haga started first on the 26 km course, keeping a high pace early until the added rigours of altitude racing caught up with the young rider. The recent Joe Martin Stage Race winner and current NRC leader finished 11th on the day. Zirbel was the last rider to launch for Optum p/b KBS, and Carney knew from the start he was putting in a great ride.

“After Tom came in with the fastest time of the day, there were still a lot of really strong riders to hit the course, so we had to wait 20 nerve-racking minutes before figuring out that he held the top spot.”

Zirbel’s efforts in the TT moved him into 10th place overall, 1:33 behind current yellow jersey holder Janier Acevedo (Jamis-Hagens Berman).

Janel Holcomb, fresh off her incredible solo victory in Gila’s second stage, delivered another solid ride in the time trial, finishing in second, 10.92 seconds behind Alison Powers (NOW and Novartis for MS). The ride moved Holcomb into fourth place on GC, 2:26 behind Exergy TWENTY16’s Mara Abbott.

The men and women will head into beautiful downtown Silver City tomorrow for the criterium, which will be a chance for Optum p/b KBS to set up sprinters Eric Young and Joelle Numainville for stage wins.

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