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USAC National Championships: ITT Report, Criterium Preview

Meredith Miller narrowly missed out on a top-ten finish at the USA Cycling National Time Trial Championships in Augusta, GA today. Having spent little time on her time trial bike this year, she headed to Georgia with minimal personal aspirations for the discipline.

“I didn’t come here thinking I would do well in the time trial, but I felt so good the last two days, my expectations went up,” Miller explained. “When I didn’t have a good ride today, I was bummed. I had to remind myself that, given my goals, there’s really no difference between fifth and 11th.”

Miller had not expected the weather to play such a large factor in her ride given the relatively short effort the race required. She was surprised to find that the humidity, more so than the temperatures, impacted her day.

“It was in the mid-80s, and it was literally 100% humidity,” Miller said. “I felt like I was suffocating. It was pretty miserable. Our skinsuits are tight and long-sleeved, and all I could think the entire race was how I needed to sit up and unzip it so I could breathe a little.”

Defending champion Evelyn Stevens (HTC-Highroad) clinched the 2011 National Time Trial Championship .2 seconds ahead of teammate Amber Neben. 2008 Olympic Champion Kristin Armstrong (Peanut Butter & Co. Twenty12) rounded out the podium. Stevens’ victory earns her an automatic nomination to the World Championships in Denmark in September.

“I knew that several riders had placed a huge emphasis on this race,” said Miller. “My disappointment comes from how good I felt pre-riding the course. In the end, I realize my result doesn’t meant anything. I’m ready to move on and focus on the crit and road race.”

Team TIBCO will field six riders for the National Criterium Championships tomorrow. Megan Guarnier, Kendall Ryan, Sam Schneider, Carmen Small and Jennifer Wheeler will join Miller on the start line for the late night criterium. The women race 50 kilometers beginning at 8PM (EDT).

“The course looks pretty similar to the course in Bend [Oregon -- where Criterium Nationals where held in 2010],” noted Miller. “It’s rectangular with four corners. According to the profile, there’s a short, little hill, and we’ll have to see if that can make things a bit more interesting.”

“Our best chance to win would be to get into a breakaway,” Miller continued. “This will be pretty hard, though, given the course. There are some good sprinters here — Theresa [Cliff-Ryan] (Colavita Forna d’Asolo) and Shelley [Olds] (Diadora Pasta Zara) — and if we come to the line with them, we’re in a tough spot.”

Team TIBCO last won the National Criterium Championships in 2008 when now-retired Brooke Miller sprinted to victory ahead of now-retired Tina Pic of Colavita. Schneider has won the U-23 National Criterium Championships, a race held within the elite race, the last two years.

“I don’t know what our plan is with Kendall and Sam [both of whom are eligible for the U23 title],” said Miller. “We haven’t discussed that yet. It’s possible that they’ll race with us and we hope that it works out for them — or it’s possible that they’ll do their own thing to go for the title.”

Tags: augusta, criterium, race preview, , , road nats, , u23, usac

June 24th, 2011. Written by Jessica

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