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WCN quicklink >>  Armstrong defends National TT crown    Mara Abbott - RR Champion 2007      Lauren Shirock - Junior National RR Champion


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Kristin Armstrong successfully defends TT National Championship

2007 USA title to World Champion

Reigning world champion Kristin Armstrong (Team Lipton) successfully defended her national title in the elite women's time trial on Friday at the 2007 USA Cycling National Festival at Seven Springs presented by California Giant Berry Farms. Armstrong, one of the United States' top Olympic hopefuls for the 2008 Games in Beijing, recorded a time of 30 minutes, 47.08 seconds over the 24-kilometer course to better second-place finisher Amber Neben (Team Flexpoint) by 50 seconds. Christine Thorburn (Webcor Builders) placed third, 1:18 off the pace of the world champion.

"Defending this jersey was really important to me," Armstrong explained. "It was my second priority."

The first is defending the rainbow jersey she won the UCI Road World Championships in Salzburg last September - a chance she'll get two months from now in Stuttgart, Germany.

With 59 competitors looking to unseat Armstrong as the national champion, Kori Seehafer (Team Lipton) set the early benchmark in the race against the clock, posting a time of 32:38.16 as the 17th rider across the finish line. Seehafer's time held up as the one to beat until the seventh to last rider, Mara Abbott (Webcor Builders) surpassed it with a 32:16.58. Abbott, 21, was assured the U23 title with her mark and led the overall standings until Thorburn lowered the lead time to 32:05.17. Neben finished next with a 31:37.57 and briefly held the lead until Armstrong shaved nearly a minute off the fastest time to claim her third consecutive national time trial title.

Last year at Seven Springs, Armstrong won on a longer, more selective and technical course. This year, she earned the stars-and-stripes jersey on a shorter, flatter and straighter route, further illustrating her reputation as one of the world's top competitors against the clock.

"I like competing on different courses," Armstrong explained. "Certain riders can master certain courses, but the strongest rider can master different courses consistently. Today's course was a true time trialist's course."

Armstrong and most of the elite women's field were forced to endure a mid-race rain shower, but with all of the top seeds subject to the same weather, the playing field remained equal.

"I didn't get to pre-ride the course at all, and then the rain came, but we all had to deal with the same conditions, so it was good and fair. I knew Amber and Christine were motivated to win and the last thing they want to do is get beat."

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