10th Sea Otter Classic - Cat. 2.4

USA, March 16-18, 2000

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Stage 2 - March 16: Cannery Row Circuit Race, 48 km (m/w)

By John Alsedek, cyclingnews.com correspondent

Men - Fraser again

Gord Fraser was able to extend the small lead gained in the stage one time trial in the day's second stage, the Cannery Row Criterium. Contested on a tricky 0.95-mile course through the heart of the fishing district immortalized by author John Steinbeck, it was a showcase for the powerful Mercury squad, anxious to continue their dominance on the U.S. racing scene. After a crash on the fourth lap that temporarily detained among others, Shaklee's Wohlberg, Mercury took control, with Chris Horner particularly active.

Following a gutsy solo move by amateur Bill Innes (Kissena), the first of two mid-race time bonus sprints was snapped up by Fraser, with teammate Jan Bratkowski hot on his heels; the effort, combined with a ferocious crosswind off the Pacific, blew apart the field, which split into several large groups.

Though it all came back together within two laps, the die was cast: Mercury never had less than four riders at the front, forcing the opposition to either come around on the windward side or follow behind. With six laps to go, Fraser and Bratkowski went 1-2 again in the second time bonus sprint; however, Saturn strongman Trent Klasna used Mercury's momentary ease-up afterwards to launch a dangerous attack. While the move only lasted a little over a lap, it showed that, as powerful as Mercury was, their constant efforts during the race had taken a toll.

That point was driven home on the last lap, as Big Mat's Jeremy Hunt jumped hard down the left side of the road and held on right to the line, beating Todd Littlehales (Navigators) and Fraser for the stage win. However, Fraser got a consolation prize of sorts: not only did he retain the race lead, but he extended it to 15 seconds.

Women - Rossner gains through bonus

While Fraser used the Cannery Row Criterium to increase his lead, Saturn's Petra Rossner put it to an entirely different use. Trailing race leader Erin Carter (Elita) by less than half a second, Rossner needed just one time bonus to take over the leadership....and she was placed in a position to do just that by her Saturn teammates. While the likes of AutoTrader.com, Timex, Elita, and Charles Schwab did their best to break things up, Saturn covered every move and launched (via Clara Hughes) a few attacks of their own.

So it was that, with just one lap to go, it was Saturn in charge, with Dede Demet-Barry and Nicole Reinhart pulling the train for sprint hammer Rossner, who was able to handily beat Elita's Karen Dunne and Laura Van Gilder (Charles Schwab) for the victory. Just the same, Rossner didn't think much of her chances for the overall: "I'm not a good climber, I'm a sprinter." If that's the case, she'll have her hands full with Stage Three, the 58-mile Fort Ord Road Race.

Pam Schuster's report

Fast, hard, windy and aggressive....a billion attacks. The only person I saw get a gap was Cheryl Binney-P&G for about 1 lap of the 26 mile 26 lap race. Others got gaps but never for more than a few microsecounds. After taking a tight sharp off camber turn 300 meters from the finish it was Petra Rossner doing what she does best and will take the leaders jersey into the hills tommorrow.

(courtesy of racereport@vcnet.com)



1. Petra Rossner (Ger) Saturn
2. Karen Dunne (USA) Elita
3. Laura Van Gilder (USA) Schwab
4. Tina Mayola (USA) AutoTrader.com
5. Mari Holden (USA) Timex
6. Cynthia Ferguson (USA) Alto Velo
7. Jennifer Eyerman (USA) Jane Cosmetics
8. Katrina Berger (USA) Jane Cosmetics
9. Marie Holjer (SWE) Charles Schwab
10. Suzanne Sonye (USA) Jane Cosmetics

General classification after stage 2:

1. Petra Rossner (Ger) Saturn


1. Jeremy Hunt (GBr) Big Mat
2. Todd Littlehales (USA) Navigators
3. Gord Fraser (Can) Mercury
4. Jan Bratkowski (Pol) Mercury
5. Ivan Dominguez (USA) Cyclescience.com
7. Vassili Davidenko (Ukr) Navigators
8. Chris Pic (USA) Zaxby's
9. Franky Van Haesebroucke (Bel) Navigators

General classification after stage 2:

1. Gord Fraser (Can) Mercury