Robin Eckmann spreads his wings

Cliff Vancura/Durango Herald

By Ryan Owens Herald staff writer

The Iron Horse Bicycle Classic quickly became the Eckmann show as the weekend went on.

And Monday’s time trial provided a proper denouement.

Robin Eckmann repeated as IHBC men’s pro time trial champion, capping his 13.7 mile ride up County Road 250 in 31 minutes, 19.08 seconds.

Younger brother Yannick Eckman finished second in 31:58.03, marking the second consecutive day the brothers from the California Giant/Specialized team swept the top two spots. They pulled the same feat in Sunday’s criterium.

Oh, and they finished 1-2 in the omnium standings, with Robin on top and Yannick second, after going 2-3 a year ago.

“It couldn’t be better for us. First and second both days,” Robin Eckmann said. “Got somebody on the podium the first day.”

The older Eckmann said the Iron Horse provides a quality kick-start to a typically busy summer cycling season, allowing he and his teammates to maintain form and work out kinks.

And the Eckmanns have made themselves at home in Durango over the last two years. This year, Robin finished sixth in the road race and won the criterium and time trial, while Yannick was third in the road race and second in the criterium and time trial.

Last year, Robin Eckmann was fifth in the road race, fourth in the criterium and won the time trial, while Yannick Eckmann was second in the road race, seventh in the criterium and was third in the omnium.

“It’s a good opener. We’ve got the spring block, and this is more a race to enter the summer block. ... (The schedule) is going to be pretty boom-boom-boom,” Robin Eckmann said. “It’s a good race to get in form, and it’s a good race to say thank you to our sponsors.”

The other big winner this weekend was Kip Taylor. The Albuquerque resident rode to a third-place finish in Monday’s time trial, finishing in 32 minutes, 7.66 seconds. The former Fort Lewis College cross country runner added that to his IHBC road race championship and a solid sixth-place finish in Sunday’s criterium.

Not bad for a guy in his first Iron Horse riding in the pro category.

“There was certain times on the flats where I just felt kind of funky, but I just kept pushing it, and, you know, felt pretty good,” Taylor said. “Turned around a couple times and didn’t see the guy who started behind me. That means I was doing OK. ... I think it turned out pretty good.

“Obviously, the road race is kind of the king stage of the Iron Horse, but the crit was really awesome (Sunday). ... Time trial (Monday) was such a great way to end it.”

LeRoy Popowski finished fourth in 32:16.07, and his teammate Benjamin Blaugrund was fifth in 32:29.33. Jesse Goodrich, Michael Martin, Renan Maia, Jonathan Delacey and Will Howe rounded out the top 10.

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