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Sea Otter Classic - E1
Monterey, California, USA, April 10 - 12, 2003
The 2003 American cycling season hits top gear with the start of the Sea Otter Classic, held in Monterey, Redwood City and Santa Cruz in California.
Dubbed "America's Spring Cycling Classic", the Sea Otter Classic is a true bike festival, with a four-stage road race, a four-stage mountain bike race and the Gravity Omnium; a three event competition with the winner being the rider who fares best overall in dual slalom, mountain cross, and downhill.
On the road, the elite road stage race starts in Redwood City on Wednesday, April 9, with six laps of the 14.6 kilometre circuit. The following day riders will head to Fort Ord for the start of the 19.3 km time trial, where the real test will be the climb into Laguna Seca, which will see riders climb 600 meters in around 4 kilometres.
The third stage will see riders compete in the Santa Cruz Criterium, held naturally in Santa Cruz. The final stage of the race will see riders weaves through the Carmel and Salinas valleys before entering the Laguna Seca racecourse for the final laps of what should be an exhausting 160 kilometre stage. Nevertheless, with a prize pool worth US$18,000 up for grabs, the GC leaders will be ignoring any pain they might have.
Mountain bikers get a double dose of mountain bike action, with the four-stage cross-country race as well as the Gravity Omnium. The cross-country race will begin with a bang as the riders sprint to finish the 8 kilometre time trial stage as fast as possible; the 213 meter climb will certainly show who is in form early on.
Stage two will see knobby tires replaced with slicks as the riders compete in the Santa Cruz Criterium, a 50 minute criterium showing just who can hold their own on the road, and who might move across to the road in the coming years. In stage three, riders will be split into two groups for the Short Course, with the top half of riders after the first two stages racing for stage and G.C. time as well as money, while the bottom half will ride only for time in the G.C.
The final stage in the race will see riders put in two gruelling laps of the 29 kilometre cross-country course, with each lap throwing 730 meters of climbing at the riders.
The adrenaline junkies will have three events to keep them busy, with not only mountain cross and downhill events, but also the return of dual slalom. With the Sea Otter Classic seen as an excellent warm up for the World Cup series, expect to see some wild riding over the course of the event. In addition, with points awarded across all three events going towards the Gravity Omnium, the riders will have that extra incentive needed to bust loose.
Cyclingnews will be covering all the action from the racing, as well as bringing you coverage of all the other events that make the Sea Otter Classic what it is.
2002 Roland Green (Can) Trek-Volkswagen Alison Dunlap (USA) Luna Chix 2001 Bart Brentjens (Ned) Giant Caroline Alexander (GBr) Specialized 2000 Bas Van Dooren (Ned) Be-One Laurence Leboucher (Fra) GT 1999 Cadel Evans (Aus) Volvo/Cannondale Alison Dunlap (USA) GT 1998 Cadel Evans (Aus) Volvo/Cannondale