One-two punch for men and women at hometown race
Tom Zirbel and Brianna Walle got the Orange & Black off to a fantastic start at the team’s hometown race, the North Star Grand Prix. The duo finished first and second, respectively, in the opening individual time trial. Zirbel, the 2012 overall champion at the race and former US National Time Trial Champion had little trouble besting his competition on the short, 5 mile course traversing Minneapolis’ scenic East River Road. Zirbel will wear yellow heading into the second half of the race’s traditional opening doubleheader, tonight’s St. Paul Criterium.
“We have won the overall three years running here in Minnesota, and it once again puts us in a great position to go for 4 in a row,” said Men’s Performance Director Jonas Carney. “Holding yellow early in a race gives the team a lot of opportunities to defend the lead – the best defense is a good offense, and that is a position we always like to be in, especially with the roster we have here.”
Walle had an equally impressive ride, finishing second in the women’s time trial, just 14 seconds behind current US time trial champion Alison Powers (UnitedHealthcare). The result by Walle, who was the top amateur in the 2012 edition of the race, showed her breakout performance at this year’s inaugural women’s time trial at the Tour of California was no fluke.
“Brianna is great on short courses like this that require a really explosive effort,” said Women’s Performance Director Kevin Field. “This has really been a big year for her, and you can see how she is maturing both on and off the bike. She also is a great criterium rider, so she should carry some extra confidence into St. Paul tonight.
Young continues hot streak in Canada
Just a short hop over the Northern border from Minnesota at Quebec’s Tour de Beauce, Eric Young was delivered by his Optum p/b KBS leadout train to another field sprint podium, finishing second behind Luca Benedetti (Amore Vita). It is the third high profile result of the campaign for Young in Quebec, following up two stage wins at the GP Saguenay last week.
North Star Grand Prix Men’s Roster
Tour de Beauce Men’s Roster