This weekend Greenville is once again the host of the US Pro time trial and road race. This is the fifth year that the national champions have been in Upstate South Carolina and the racing starts Saturday with the time trial at the CU-ICAR campus and continues Sunday with the road race.
Reigning time trial champion David Zabriskie is racing in the Vuelta a Espana so this opens up the field to a new winner. With Radio Shack’s exclusion from the Spanish national tour, Levi Leipheimer has decided to return to the national championships. If the recent ProTour races in Canada are any indication his form looks good. Another five-star favorite for the time trial is 20 year-old Taylor Phinney. He returned from the Tour de l’ Avenir where the Livestrong rider won the opening prologue and held onto the leader’s jersey until a bad crash took him out of the running in stage 2. However it looks like he’s recovered and has already arrived in Greenville. This is a sign that he’s taking this weekend seriously.
The road race is trickier to predict. Hometown favorite and current road race champion George Hincapie has had a set back in his training. A crash in the Tour of Utah required 18 stitches and 10 days off the bike – not to mention the loss of valuable racing in what is arguably considered America’s toughest stage race. Leipheimer has won the road race before and could be our first double national champion jersey wearer. Another favorite is BMC rider Jeff Louder. The Utah native has been on the podium in Greenville and has had a solid build up including his state’s tour as well as the Canadian ProTour events. With riders focusing on Hincapie, Louder could escape for the win – something George has said he would hope could happen if the legs aren’t there.
With so much important racing this weekend Carolina Cycling News has you covered. Our live online chat, presented by Hincapie Sportswear, starts Friday night at 9:00 and then resumes throughout the weekend. With the help of our race corespondents we’ll be offering updates, videos and pictures from multiple points along the course. Hincapie Sportswear will be providing A Ride With George Hincapie DVDs autographed by George to give away during the live online chat. We’ll be posting the schedule of our live coverage for the weekend so you can join in live or watch the replay. Wherever you are this weekend, including from the side of the race course, you can join our live chat on your mobile device. To stay on top of the action just point your browser to CarolinaCyclingNews.com – you’ll never be off the back.