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Ian McKissick had another great showing in the time trial at Utah (foto by Tim de Waele)
Ian McKissick had another great showing in the time trial at Utah (foto by Tim de Waele)

McKissick and Bookwalter fill out time trial podium, status quo in top 3 on GC

22. August 2009

Salt Lake City

Sandwiched between the two toughest climbing days on the domestic calendar, the Miller Motorsports Park individual time trial was always going to be a difficult stage to predict.  At 14.5 kilometers, it had the riders on course just long enough to hope to make some time gaps to important adversaries. 

But with so much climbing already in their legs and the mountain top finish at Snowbird still looming in the distance, each rider would have to be very careful about dosing out his efforts.  Time trialling ace Tom Zirbel bagged himself another victory this season while BMC's Ian McKissick and Brent Bookwalter came in second and third.  With strong rides from Francisco Mancebo, Darren Lill and Jeff Louder, the top three of the GC looks basically the same with just the stage to Snowbird left to make any real movement on the leader board. 

Effects of Mt. Nebo evident 

"After Mt. Nebo, I think you can safely say all of the leaders are pretty fatigued," Directeur Sportif Mike Sayers said.  "Nobody except for Brent Bookwalter who was in that front group yesterday was especially exceptional today."  Though Bookwalter finished in the second lead group on the climb to Mt. Nebo, he still managed to put in a very strong time trial, likely moving himself handily up the GC.  "I know Brent was in the second group yesterday, but he really is the only one of the elite riders at this event that still managed to put in a great time trial after climbing his heart out the past two days," Sayers said.   Though Louder, Lill and Mancebo all finished a touch further down on the leader board for the time trial, they all kept within a whisker of each other which laid the groundwork for what should be an exhilarating finale straight up the Snowbird climb.

Significant time gaps still likely

"That climb tomorrow will certainly make the difference," Sayers predicted.  "The time gaps could be even larger than they were for the longer climb up Mt. Nebo."  Since the Snowbird climb has seriously steep sections, some riders might feel the race slipping away from them as they move in slow-motion up the hill.  "The climb is so steep and the guys will have had to make a quick recovery and turnaround, it will be super hard to predict how the day will go," Sayers said.  Tactics will be hard to finalize until the riders know just how much they can still expect from their bodies.  "Last year Snowbird turned a lot of things upside-down," Bookwalter said.  "It is very steep and high up, and there comes a point where you can only go as hard as you can go; so if you have a bad day, that's it."  With an intimate familiarity of the climb, Louder and Bookwalter hope to find the magic that took Louder to the overall victory a year ago.  "I think we are in a god position," Bookwalter concluded.  "Louder can obviously climb well and with the team support we can give, we should have as good or better chance as anyone in the peloton."