Kristin Amrstrong (Cervelo-Lifeforce) crushed the competition in the Sequoia Cycling Classic Yokohl Ranch Exeter Time Trial, winning the race of truth with a lead of four minutes seventeen seconds ahead of Alex Rhodes (High Road) and four minutes fifty seconds in front of Felicia Gomez (Aaron's).



The US national champion Armstrong blitzed the finishing line in perfect form giving her a final time of one hour, one minute and thirty-one seconds. For anyone counting, Armstrong would have finished 26th in the Men's Time Trial held earlier.

"It's early so everyone is going to be at a different fitness level this time of year, March is early to be fit, people that are out here doing well today may not be the same people here in two or three months. It was a great course, a great organization I'm happy I came out here." said Armstrong.

The Sequoia Cycling Classic Time Trial is the second race in the NRC Calendar for the women, and the heavy hitters came out to play. The first race, the Amgen Tour of California Women's Criterium held in Santa Rosa, was won by Tibco's Brooke Miller.

The 40 kilometer (24.6 mile) course started off with a 400 feet climb over Rocky Hill and into rolling and twisting Yokhol Valley gradually climbing 400 feet again before the turnaround and return to the start/finish line. The valley was absolutely beautiful with blooming mustard wildflowers but I doubt that anyone has a chance to enjoy it during the ride.



Kristin Armstrong (Cervelo-Lifeforce Pro Cycling Team), winner
"It was great, it was very terrained, tail wind going out, headwind coming back, lots of twisting and turning. They call it the race of truth for a reason and I really think that you couldn't... there was not a minute out there that you could relax or take the pressure off, so I think that the people that are going to be up on the podium today are going to be the ones that raced hard the whole way."

"I'm going up, I'm just now kind of coming into a little bit fitness. I leave for Europe on Monday, I'm going to do the Spring campaign with my new team Cervelo-Lifeforce and I'll come back and race Montreal, Philly, Nature Valley with my team and then I prepare specifically for Beijing. My team is based out of Lucerne, Switzerland it consists of riders from all over the world and I'll be the only American, but there's a New Zealander, an Australian, some German girls, Swiss girl, Austria so it's just a variety of gals, really nice, our team is really into time trial specialists, I think that so far, so good. It's been a really fun time working with international gals."

Alex Rhodes (Team High Road - Women), second place
"It was pretty, long obviously. I was happy with my ride, to come second to Armstrong, she's awesome so to be on the podium, I'm stoked.

"Winds were not too bad. I sort of like the wind, it's the only time where being a little bit heavier kind of helps (laughs) , see it helps when you eat ice cream. Obviously, with the team this year it's nice to repay all the faith they have in me. "

Felicia Gomez (Aaron's Pro Cycling Team), third place
"It was hard, it's a hard course which definitely suits me better. Like short, flat prologue-like that's not really my thing, give me something that's strong, hilly and hard , I can stay out there for a long time. It was good, what can I say, I'm really pleased, it's a big year, Olympic year, you've got to be coming out the starting block guns blazing. I feel like my fitness is where it needs to be, you know to lose against Kristin Armstrong, I mean geez, and then Alex Rhodes who's one of the best in Europe, I'm pretty happy, really I couldn't ask for more."

"We got these new bikes, I've been on it for a week, I love the bike, they are great, they're hand me downs from Quickstep, I'll take Bettini's bike any day (laughs). It's great, the bikes are fast. I've been working a lot of my TT and so to finally put in a really good one, to see that the hard work has paid off, I'm thrilled."

"I've been doing at least once a week of intervals on my TT bike and then riding it a lot. Last year I had drastically changed my position and obviously it didn't work for me because I sucked so this year I went back to what I was a couple of years ago and just really worked on being comfortable on the bike and I always knew that I could put out the power but it was being in a position that would allow me to generate the power and go fast so I think I was able to do that."


Time Trial podium (l-r): Felicia Gomez (Aaron's), Kristin Armstrong (Cervelo-Lifeforce), Alex Rhodes (High Road)

On a personal note, I'd like to thank the good Samaritan that came to my assistance in Visalia on Saturday evening. The gentleman not only to my help to fix my car but he went the extra mile (or 10 actually) to make sure that everything was okay, and then to top it off, he flabbergasted me by offering up his discount at the car shop. Wow. Thank you so much.

Women's TT Top 10
  1. Kristin Armstrong (Cervelo-Lifeforce Pro Cycling Team) 01:01:31.89
  2. Alex Rhodes (Team High Road - Women) +04:17.07
  3. Felicia Gomez (Aaron's Pro Cycling Team) +04:52.19
  4. Anne Samplonius (Cheerwine Cycling) +05:09.91
  5. Katharine Carroll (Aaron's Pro Cycling Team) +05:41.18
  6. Leigh Hobson (Cheerwine Cycling) +05:41.88
  7. Mara Abbott (Team High Road - Women) +06:11.37
  8. Molly Van Houweling (Metromint Cycling) +06:35.50
  9. Kristin Sanders (Aaron's Pro Cycling Team) +06:52.69
  10. Carmen Mcnellis (Aaron's Pro Cycling Team) +06:54.29
Full results here.