Tom Zirbel Wins Tour of the Gila Time Trial

Brianna Walle second, Phil Gaimon moves into third overall on general classification

Tom Zirbel continued the team’s hot streak at the Tour of the Gila today, winning the 26 km time trial outside of Tyrone, New Mexico. Zirbel’s time of 33:50 was 25 seconds faster than runner-up Rob Britton of Team SmartStop. Brianna Walle finished second in the women’s time trial, 24 seconds off of the winning pace, with Jasmin Glaesser and Leah Kirchmann delivering top-ten performances to keep the general classification within reach for the Orange & Black.

See a photo gallery from the time trial

Women’s Performance Director Patrick McCarty was pleased with the women’s performance, despite missing the win, as it sets the team up nicely for the race’s closing stages.

“The ladies showed once again that we are one of the strongest teams here –  we had excellent performances by Brie, Jasmin and Leah finishing in the top 10, taking the stage team classification by two minutes,” said McCarty. “It put us within seconds of taking the team classification lead. In addition, Jasmin distanced herself from many top climbers that could be a threat on Sunday’s Gila Monster– we are in a great position and very motivated for the last two stages here in New Mexico.”

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Phil Gaimon, a serious threat for the overall given the heavy climbing the peloton will face on Sunday’s Gila Monster road race, finished 9th in the time trial, 1:10 behind Zirbel’s pace. The result moved him into third overall on general classification. Look for the team to set up Phil for Sunday’s decisive day in the mountains.

Zirbel shares his thoughts, and diet plan in Zirbel’s case, following the third double podium performance for the team at the Tour of the Gila.

You won the TT today by a comfortable margin. Did the course suit you well?

“It’s an interesting course because it has some solid climbs, big descents, altitude, and (usually) lots of wind. That means both climbers and TT specialists have a shot to do well. Historically, this TT has suited me well despite losing big chunks of time on the climbs. I guess that’s a function of my ability to go downhill in a hurry!”

Speaking of going downhill in a hurry, you are one of the tallest, heaviest riders in professional cycling. It must take a lot to feed the engine. Does your diet change at all before a time trial run?

“My diet changes a little, in that I try to make it very simple and easy to digest. As hard as time trials are, it’s still only a relatively short effort, so I don’t need as many calories beforehand as I would for a 150 km race. Plus, when I’m going max effort, I want absolutely nothing in my stomach. So, oatmeal 3.5 hrs before and a mocha Clif Shot 20 minutes before my start time was my recipe for today.

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