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Tri-Peaks Challenge - NE
Russellville, Arkansas, May 19-21, 2006
Stage 2 - May 20: Road race, 148km/92miles
Hot and Humid Road Stage Produces Surprises
by Mark Zalewski, North American Editor with additional reporting from Kirsten Robbins
The first road stage of the Tri-Peaks Challenge, the Petite Jean Road Race, saw a surprise in the men's race with the top three winners from smaller domestic teams, while in the women's race one team dominated the top spots.
Small Team Slips Between Domestic Giants for Big Win
It is often difficult for the smaller domestic teams to get noticed among the teams with bigger budgets. However, every now and then being small can be a benefit. Radisa Cubric, the AEG–TOSHIBA–JetNetwork team director, took advantage of his team's relative anonymity today. He timed his rider's attacks to coincide with the distracted Toyota-United and Health Net-Maxxis riders in the large break, giving Bruno Langlois enough of a gap to hold out for the stage win ahead of fellow attacker Tom Zirbel (Priority Health).
We are definitely not the favourite and Toyota can still win the race, but now anyone can really win," said Cubric. "This really opens the door for the smaller teams. These big teams sometimes play poker instead of racing. I just told my guys to race to race hard."
The race consisted of a large breakaway of more than twenty riders gaining time on the field that contained race leader Ivan Stevic (Toyota-United). The team had three other riders in the break, including second place overall Ivan Dominguez as well as Heath Blackgrove and Chris Baldwin.
The breakaway was about fifteen miles away from the finish when attacks from within began. "In the last fifteen miles people started attacking so we had Heath and Chris push the pace to maybe keep it together until the end for me," said Dominguez.
A solo Colombian rider off the front motivated the Toyota-United riders. "When he attacked, my guys started working," said Dominguez. "He came back slowly, and when he saw the group he stopped and those two guys attacked."
"Bruno attacked with two kilometers to go and Toyota and Health Net were watching each other," said Cubric. "We had Frank Trevisio sitting on the wheel of Dominguez and I told Bruno to attack. He got five second on the group and Zirbel went with him."
The two were able to hang on to their five-second margin to the finish. Adding a special bonus was teammate Treviso able to best the rest of the breakaway for third place.
With the final gap on the day around two and a half minutes it seems that the team is forced to put their overall win ambitions with Dominguez. "Toyota was especially playing poker by sending good guys up the road," Cubric said. "I would think they would protect Stevic more. It was really weird that they would send other guys up the road."
"We'll see what happens, tomorrow is not going to be an easy race," said Dominguez. "That kind of climb (the eighteen-percent grade at the finish) is hard."
Dominguez added that he was excited for the AEG–TOSHIBA–JetNetwork team's success, knowing many of the riders and the team owner. "It's a good win for a small team. I know the owner of the team from Miami and some of the riders, so I'm happy for them."
Hobson Takes Stage, Team Takes Overall Lead
In the women's road race, Victory Brewing's Leigh Hobson soled to a win in the final eight kilometers. Her twenty-second advantage moves her up to second place on the general classification.
“I went after several attacks," Hobson said after the race. "I knew the gap was growing and was hovering around seventeen seconds. If I could hold that off with one kilometer to go I thought it would work, that the peloton would change their tactic to focus on second place for the sprint instead of catching me.”
With Hobson's win the team occupies the top two spots on the overall. “Having the top two gives us more players to force other teams to work rather than coming into the bottom of Mt Nebo fresh," Hobson said.
Hobson's teammate Rachel Heal won the group sprint for second place and moves into the leaders jersey. “Our team goal for the day was to win the stage off the front,” said Heal. “We were not particularly focused on taking the leaders jersey today. That was more our plan for tomorrow.”
Today's stage took the peloton over three major climbs varying from two to three and a half miles in length. With temperatures reaching into the forties many of the riders utilized the neutral feeds being supplied by the race organization.
There were many attempted breaks during the first half of the race. The most threatening break of the day involved Nurnberger's Katherine Bates and Colavita Cooking Light's Audrey Lemieux; the two escaped off of the front leading into the final climb of the day.
“We realized Bates was struggling on the climbs and used that as our opportunity to take over the lead,” said Heal. “When she attacked heading into the final climb we didn't want to give her too much time. We brought her back half way up the climb and immediately attacked her because we saw the opportunity there to take over the race lead.”
There was twenty miles to the finish after cresting the top of the final climb of the day. The lead group of eleven riders, which included three from Colavita, five from Victory Brewing, two from Cheerwine and a single Webcor, worked well together until approximately ten miles to go when Victory Brewing began launching their attacks. Colavita Cooking Light and Cheerwine were forced to either chase or bridge. With eight kilometers to go Leigh Hobson made her winning move gaining a split from the field.
Men 1 Bruno Langlois (Can) AEG-Toshiba-JetNetwork 2 Tom Zirbel (USA) Priority Health 3 Frank Travieso (Cub) AEG-Toshiba-JetNetwork 4 Gord Fraser (Can) Health Net pb Maxxis 5 Richard England (Aus) Priority Health 6 Ivan Dominguez (Cub) Toyota-United 7 Alexander Gonzalez (Col) Caico 8 Todd Herriott (USA) Colavita Olive Oil - Sutter Home 9 Matthew Cooke (USA) LSV/Kelly Benefit Strategies 10 Andrew Bajadali (USA) Jelly Belly 11 Christian Valenzuela (Mex) Monex 12 Solomon Woras (USA) Broadmark / Hagens-Berman 13 Frank Dierking (USA) ABD 14 Ryan Trebon (USA) AEG-Toshiba-JetNetwork 15 Reid Mumford (USA) ABD 16 Tim Johnson (USA) Health Net pb Maxxis 17 Brian Sheedy (USA) Priority Health 18 Chris Baldwin (USA) Toyota-United 19 Franco Font (PRc) Caico 20 Heath Blackgrove (NZl) Toyota-United 21 Bryce Mead (USA) ABD 22 Stuart Gillespie (USA) TIAA-CREF 23 Justin Jackson (USA) MATRIX 24 Malachi Peacock (USA) Abercrombie & Fitch pb Inferno 25 Alex Welch (USA) Mercy Cycling 26 Joel Charles (USA) Rio Grande/Sports Garage 27 Eric Marcotte (USA) Bianchi/Grand Performance 28 Owen Gue (USA) Broadmark / Hagens-Berman 29 Martin Adamczyk (USA) Lot/Polish Airlines 30 Roman Kilun (USA) Health Net pb Maxxis 31 Abe McNutt (USA) Abercrombie & Fitch pb Inferno 32 Glenn Fant (USA) Monex 33 Derek Laan (USA) Purdue University 34 Janne Hamalainen (USA) CTCA / Tulsa Wheelmen 35 Jered Gruber (USA) Abercrombie & Fitch pb Inferno 36 Scott Moninger (USA) Health Net pb Maxxis 37 Nathan O'Neill (Aus) Health Net pb Maxxis 38 Zach Bell (Can) Rite Aid 39 Juan Haedo (Arg) Toyota-United 40 Tommy Nankervis (Aus) Priority Health 41 Edward King (USA) Priority Health 42 Scott Veggeberg (USA) Compliance Depot 43 Zak Grabowski (USA) Colavita Olive Oil - Sutter Home 44 Edwin Ramos (PRc) Caico 45 Joel Dion Poitras (Can) Calyon-LiteSpeed 46 Andrew Fischer (USA) Broadmark / Hagens-Berman 47 Brad Viera (USA) Rite Aid 48 Shane Densmore (USA) Compliance Depot 49 Brooke Boocock (Can) Calyon-LiteSpeed 50 Tero Hameenaho (Fin) CTCA / Tulsa Wheelmen 51 Tracy Martin (USA) Raising Canes 52 Ruben Borrero (PRc) Caico 53 Robbie King (USA) Priority Health 54 Eudaldo Asencio (PRc) Caico 55 Brian Jensen (USA) Jelly Belly 56 Oscar Henao (PRc) Caico 57 John Delong (USA) Rite Aid Pro Cycling 58 Aaron Tuckerman (NZl) Rubicon/Gleukos 59 Ben Raby (USA) Bianchi/Grand Performance 60 Mark Hekman (USA) Abercrombie & Fitch pb Inferno 61 Andy Applegate (USA) Abercrombie & Fitch pb Inferno 62 Joseph Carpisassi (USA) E.C. Velo Racing 63 Ian Ayers (USA) Colavita Olive Oil - Sutter Home 64 Nathan Miller (USA) Monex 65 Prokic Predrag (SCG) AEG-Toshiba-JetNetwork 66 Emmanuel Suarez (USA) Monex 67 Eric Keim (USA) AEG-Toshiba-JetNetwork 68 Jean Sebastien Perron (Can) Calyon-LiteSpeed 69 Frank Breure (USA) MMW/CARVE 70 Chris Wherry (USA) Toyota-United 71 Ivan Stevic (SCG) Toyota-United 72 Tony Cruz (USA) Toyota-United 73 Nick Reistad (USA) Jelly Belly 74 Viktor Laza (SCG) AEG-Toshiba-JetNetwork 75 Devon Vigus (USA) Monex 76 Chad Nikolz (USA) Broadmark / Hagens-Berman 77 Noah Singer (USA) Mercy Cycling 78 Kirk Carlsen (USA) Rubicon/Gleukos 79 Jason Woods (USA) Dogfish 80 Hugh Moran (USA) AEG-Toshiba-JetNetwork 81 Erik Lyman (Can) Calyon-LiteSpeed 82 Emile Abraham (Tri) AEG-Toshiba-JetNetwork 83 Richard Speer (USA) Rubicon/Gleukos 84 Chad Cagle (USA) Mercy Cycling 85 Ryan Nenninger (USA) Bianchi/Grand Performance 86 Mike Ebert (USA) ABD 87 Scott Barnes (USA) Boston Mountain Cyclists 88 Aarow Smathers (USA) Specialized 89 Mat Ankney (USA) Mercy Cycling 90 Paul Esposti (USA) Rio Grande/Sports Garage 91 Ryan Fiddler (USA) Mercy Cycling 92 Brian Wyrick (USA) HHH/MSU 93 Christopher Jones (USA) Champion System 94 Brice Jones (USA) Jelly Belly 95 Brian Dziewa (USA) Mercy Cycling 96 Peter Fairbanks (USA) Bianchi/Grand Performance 97 Duane Dickey (USA) Bianchi/Grand Performance 98 Ryan Gamm (USA) Abercrombie & Fitch pb Inferno 99 Jeremy Sartain (USA) Bianchi/Grand Performance 100 Jake Rosenbarger (USA) Rio Grande/Sports Garage 101 Russell Langley (USA) Rite Aid 102 Pleasure Jackson (USA) Broadmark / Hagens-Berman 103 Jake Rubelt (USA) AEG-Toshiba-JetNetwork 104 Jarred Gilker (USA) Mercy/ Zero Mountain 105 Nathan Rogut (USA) Compliance Depot 106 Mat Stephens (USA) Mercy Cycling 107 Ryan Heydenrych (USA) Mercy Cycling 108 Christoph Herby (USA) Rite Aid 109 Steven Grife (USA) Boston Mountain Cyclists 110 Keith Franklin (USA) CTCA / Tulsa Wheelmen 111 Scott Walnofer (USA) Boston Mountain Cyclists 112 Eric Warnsman (USA) Northwest Cycling Club/Alkek Velodrome 113 Doug Greek (USA) Mercy Cycling 114 Curt Kippenberger (USA) Mercy Cycling 115 Charly Vives (Can) Calyon-LiteSpeed 116 Ryan Keels (USA) Compliance Depot 117 Justin Morgan (USA) Broadmark / Hagens-Berman 118 Dylan Lewis (USA) ABD/Trek-VW Cycling Team Women 1 Leigh Hobson (Can) Victory Brewing 2 Rachel Heal (GBr) Victory Brewing 3 Sima Trapp (USA) Colavita/Cooking Light 4 Tara Ross (Can) Victory Brewing 5 Kristin Sanders (USA) Cheerwine 6 Jennifer Manefield (Aus) Cheerwine 7 Kate Sherwin (USA) Victory Brewing 8 Sarah Tillotson (USA) Colavita/Cooking Light 9 Kirsten Robbins (Can) Victory Brewing 10 Alisha Lion (USA) Webcor-Platinum 11 Brooke Ourada (USA) Colavita/Cooking Light 12 Pamela Hinton (USA) dent wizard 13 Abby Cooper (USA) Team Kenda Tire 14 Robin Farina (USA) Team Kenda Tire 15 Tracie Akerhielm (USA) Compliance Depot 16 Elizabeth Frye (USA) Cheerwine 17 Amanda Lawrence (USA) North Atlantic Velo 18 Caroline Soong (USA) Team Kenda Tire 19 Katy Ligler (USA) Team Kenda Tire 20 Mandy Lozano (USA) Cheerwine 21 Audrey Lemieux (Can) Colavita/Cooking Light 22 Kim Geist (USA) Victory Brewing 23 Mary Downing (USA) Team Kenda Tire 24 Katherine Bates (Aus) Nurnberger 25 Jenny Trew (USA) Team Kenda Tirew 26 Maegan Daigler (USA) JR Engineering 27 Holli Steelman (USA) Cheerwine 28 Katharine Carroll (USA) Victory Brewing 29 Charm Breon (USA) Cheerwine 30 Shannon Koch (USA) Compliance Depot 31 Laura Yoisten (Can) Victory Brewing 32 Stacey Bertsch (USA) Mercy Cycling Team 33 Laura Bowles (USA) Victory Brewing 34 Rebecca Gross (USA) Armed Forces