Zirbel wins opening time trial, Walle second at North Star Grand Prix

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.”

NorthStarTT614-039-bre-podium

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
Ryan Anderson
Jesse Anthony
Alex Candelario
Will Routley
Tom Zirbel
Scott Zwizanski

Women’s Roster
Annie Ewart
Lauren Hall
Janel Holcomb
Maura Kinsella
Leah Kirchmann
Denise Ramsden
Brianna Walle
Jade Wilcoxson

Tour de Beauce Men’s Roster
Jeremy Durrin
Brad Huff
Carter Jones
Bjorn Selander
Tom Soladay
Eric Young

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