Sunday, April 1, 2012

Timothy O'Donnell Wins the U.S. Pro Championship

Kevin Mackinnon catches up with today's men's champion in Galveston

Published Sunday, April 1, 2012
Timothy O'Donnell Wins the U.S. Pro ChampionshipTimothy O'Donnell finished second here two years ago. Last year he was third. Today he beat a stacked field here in Galveston to take both the race and the U.S. Pro Champoinship. We caught up with him shortly after his big win here in Texas:
You must be thrilled to be the U.S. Pro Champion
This is one of the biggest races of my career. 
Can you tell us about the race?
It was a dogfight right from the start. I had a slow start, but I was able to work my way up to the front of the swim. In kind of my own style, I tried to just go right out of transition and was able to open up a bit of a gap. But Lance pulled a big group up to the front … He set the pace for 10 or 15 miles, but then I think he realized the game and fell back and made his move 25 miles into the ride. There were a bunch of great performances – my hats off to Sebastian (Kienle), he was unbelievable. Ronnie was fighting the whole way. Michael was sick, but he showed he’s a true champion today by gutting it out.
That was an incredible finish.
I felt really bad on the run. I had a really solid ride. I didn’t feel like I was going too hard, but when I got off the bike I was feeling a bit lightheaded. And then I went out way too hard at the start of the run. So I started to fall back. I came around on the last lap. This is the U.S. Championships and you have to fight hard if you want to win big races, so I went for it. Sebastian threw a couple of big surges, but luckily I was able to hang on and they were into a headwind. When we hit the turnaround at the airport I dropped it as I could.


What was going through your mind when you made your move just before the finish?
My attack was a little indecisive. I started to go, then I backed off. Then I heard Sebastian make a groaning noise, so I thought “you have to go.” I said to myself “quick turnover and don’t look back.” I kept looking forward and pushed to the finish line.
Did Lance Armstrong being here change the dynamics of the race?
Lance had a great race. He played his cards really well. He looked really strong through the middle part of the run. I closed the gap, then he held me off for a while. Then, when I was able to get by him, I was able to open up a gap. It wasn’t much different to having Chris Lieto in the race. I think Chris races very similar. But this is Lance’s second race – we’ll see him when he gets a few more under his belt.

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