Second Edition Cycling News for March 19, 2004
Edited by Paul Mirtschin
Men go-slow neutralises first stage of Pomona
by Kristy Scrymgeour
Reminiscent of the first stage of the Sea Otter Classic last year, the men decided not to race today's circuit race which was meant to kick off the Pomona Valley Stage Race. After the women had successfully completed their race, which involved some crashes, it was the men's turn to line up. Lap one of their race apparently resulted in quite a few riders coming down on a 180 degree turn, leading to the peloton's decision not to race soon thereafter. On lap five the men stopped en masse to tell the organizers that they would continue to ride around for the remainder of the race, but they would not actually race.
The circuit race is set on a 3.5mile course within the confines of Bonelli Park. According to Nicole Demars of Victory Brewing, she felt like a "squirrel running through the woods" on the course as the roads are very narrow with tight turns. There were some crashes in the women's race as well, however, with a smaller field, the women obviously felt it was safe enough for them to complete.
After the non-men's race, Cyclingnews caught up with a few of the riders after they rolled across the line and straight into their team vans to head home. They needed no warm down after such an easy day in the saddle. Webcor rider Chris Horner simply said that it was too dangerous. "We are all professional riders and nobody wants to crash and get hurt. We just wanted to keep things safe," he said. "If it was a smaller field it may have been ok, but with a field of 150 riders it makes it hard."
Cyclingnews diarist John Lieswyn backed up Horner's statements. "Everyone in the pack decided it was a bit too dangerous," he said. "It wasn't any one person. We all just freaked out when we came to two fast 90-degree turns at the bottom of an 80km/h descent. There was no harm done," he added. "There weren't a lot of spectators anyway. Tomorrow's another day and it will be a good one."
Race organisers really couldn't say much about the way the day eventuated. They did say, however, that every rider must finish the shortened race of ten laps to be able to continue racing in the tour. The race was completely neutralized and no prizes or KOM points were awarded.
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