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US Air Force Cycling Classic - (1.2)

Crystal City, Virginia, USA, May 4, 2008

Results, report & photos    

Live commentary by Sue George with additional reporting by Mark Zalewski

11:45 EDT    Welcome to our live coverage of the US Air Force Cycling Classic in Crystal City, Virginia. We're about to start the race. Two F-15s have flown over - guess that's not such a surprise since the Air Force is sponsoring the race!

11:47 EDT    General McNabb will be starting the race. He is the secretary of the US Air Force. The racers will begin with a 3.6 mile neutral section.

11:52 EDT    Today's weather is just gorgeous. It's 75 degrees Fahrenheit and bright and sunny. It's a technical course and on a very windy day like today, the combination of the technical course and the wind will likely play a role in the outcome of the race.

11:58 EDT    Being in the very urban area of Northern Virginia, the course features a lot of on and off ramps and chicanes. The racers are getting a half lap of neutral so they have a chance to preview some of the more technical sections. The 12.5km course is a bit unusual for pro races because it doubles back so much on itself. There are a lot of two way sections on the course which almost, but not quite encircles the Pentagon.

11:59 EDT    The racers are off - passing through the official start back at the start / finish line.

12:02 EDT    The racers aren't wasting any time. The attacks start from the gun. Jeff Buckies (Richmond Pro Cycling) gets a gap and goes for it. Meanwhile, Valeriy Kobzarenko (Team Type I) has a flat.

12:04 EDT    Buckies is caught and a Symmetrics rider gives it a go, but is caught fairly quickly and the peloton is all together.

12:05 EDT    Jake Rytlewski (Rite Aid) abandons. Apparently, he crashed in the neutral start section of the race.

12:08 EDT    Dustin MacBernie (Team Race), Craig Dodson (Richmond Pro Cycling), and David Veilleux (KBS/Medifast) get off the front.

12:08 EDT    Dustin MacBernie (Team Race) drops his two mates and is off solo while five more riders try to bridge up.

12:09 EDT    The peloton is all together again.

12:12 EDT    The race starts and finishes in Crystal City, Virginia. For those of you who've never been there, it's an unusual place. There are many tall buildings and wide streets with lots of lanes. The tall buildings are often business hotels and office buildings - many of which are filled with military personnel and offices. There is an underground mall that runs the length of the Crystal City, so it's possible in many cases to travel between buildings several blocks apart without ever going outside - plus you can do some shopping en route.

12:15 EDT    The peloton passes through after completing the first full lap. It's still all together. The course is really flat, so it will be hard to get away.

12:21 EDT    18.75km/137.55km to go Every time through the start finish is a sprint. The sprint after the first full lap was taken by Carlos Alzata (Toshiba Santo). Ben King (KBS / Medifast) and Stephan Kincaid (Rite Aid) were second and third.

12:22 EDT    Russ Langley (Battley Harley Davidson) gets 15 seconds, but seems to be losing ground as they approach the feed.

12:27 EDT    The peloton is all together again.

12:36 EDT    31.25km/125.05km to go The riders come through the start line together seeing 10 to go. The results of sprint #2 are Nick Waite (KBS / Medifast) winning followed by Martin Gilbert (KBS / Medifast) and Eric Wohlberg (Symmetrics). Waite is almost a local - he resides in Harrisonburg, Virginia, about a two-hour drive from the race.

12:37 EDT    A group of eight gets a gap. They have about 15 seconds.

12:39 EDT    Our leaders are Mark Walters (Team RACE), Matt Wilson (Team Type I), Miles Watson (Rite Aid), Martin Gilbert (KBS / Medifast), Nick Waite (KBS / Medifast), Spencer Beamer (DLP Racing), Luca Damiani (Colavita), and Eric Wohlberg (Symmetrics)

12:40 EDT    Their gaps dwindles to seven seconds, then they are caught at the feed zone. The peloton is all back together.

12:56 EDT    43.75km/112.55km to go Three laps are down. They've got nine to go. The peloton took this spring seriously with Valeriy Kobzarenko (Team Type I) came across the line first, followed by Jonathan Mumford (KBS / Medifast) and Brian Buchholz (KBS / Medifast).

13:06 EDT    Matthew Winstead (Team Inferno Pro Racing) abandons the race as they approach the end of the fourth full lap.

13:06 EDT    The pace on this lap was slower as it took them one minute longer to complete the lap. We'll get you sprint results in just a moment.

13:12 EDT    56.25km/100.05km to go Christian Meier (Symmetrics) won the sprint with eight laps to go followed by Davide Frattini (Colavita) and Stephan Kincaid (Rite Aid). Symmetrics has been one of the more aggressive teams thus far.

13:23 EDT    There are plenty of attacks happening, but no one is able to get away and make it stick. All attacks are short-lived. Three teams have been most dominant at the front: Symmetrics, Kelly Benefit Strategies & Colavita Olive Oil.

13:24 EDT    Nick Frey (Time Pro Cycling Team) gets a big of a gap - at last, someone makes it off the front. We'll see how long he can last.

13:25 EDT    68.75km/87.55km to go Frey is caught right at the sprint line as the racers complete their fifth full lap.

13:26 EDT    Results of the sprint at the end of the fifth full lap are 1 Carlos Alzata (Toshiba Santo); 2 Nick Frey (Time Pro Cycling Team); 3 Brian Buchholz (KBS / Medifast). So the peloton is all together again.

13:32 EDT    Jon Hamblen (Time Pro Cycling) attacks and gets a slight gap going into the feed zone. He is being chased hard by the Colavita Team.

13:34 EDT    Symmetrics takes over the chase. It looks like he will be caught. It's too windy to stay out alone for long on a day like today.

13:38 EDT    70.4km/85.9km to go The unofficial reports we were getting yesterday about Astana possibly being invited to the Giro d'Italia after all have been confirmed by RSC Sport, the Giro d'Italia organizers. Stay tuned for a full report on that coming up in our First Edition News.

13:39 EDT    The peloton is all together again, but now it's all strung out. They are going hard, with Symmetrics at the front driving the bunch's pace with Jacob Erker. Kelly Benefit Strategies is right behind them, working hard, too.

13:44 EDT    78.15km/78.15km to go We're at the halfway point of the race. If you're wondering where some of the big names from the American racing scene are - maybe some of the favorites you followed in the Tour de Georgia with us last week - you'll have to look overseas. We've got tons of racing going on this weekend and may of America's fastest racers have been busy today at the Tour of Romandie, a ProTour event in Switzerland, and the Vuelta Asturias in Spain. And the ladies are also staying busy with the Tour de Berne, a World Cup, in Switzerland.

13:45 EDT    Of course, we can't not mention our cross country mountain bikers - busy on a super-fast course in Madrid for round three of the World Cup.

13:48 EDT    81.25km/75.05km to go The racers pass through after six completed full laps. Carlos Alzata (Toshiba Santo), who we've seen at the front in several of the sprints, takes first, with Esteban Jukich (Richmond Pro Cycling) and Jonathan Mumford (KBS / Medifast) in second and third. As they crossed under the start / finish this time, they saw 6 laps to go.

13:55 EDT    Bobby Lea (Rite Aid) attacks and quickly opens a gap of 30 seconds. He is being chased by Jon Hamblen (Time Pro Cycling), also riding solo, in front of the bunch.

13:57 EDT    Jon Hamblen (Time Pro Cycling) is caught. That leaves Bobby Lea (Rite Aid) out there on his own - fighting the wind. Kelly Benefits is chasing.

14:01 EDT    93.75km/62.55km to go Bobby Lea (Rite Aid) comes through the start finish solo, with a 12 second gap. He sees five laps to go.

14:02 EDT    Results from that end of lap seven sprint, taken by Bobby Lea (Rite Aid) are Francois Parisien (Symmetrics) and John Fredy Parra (Toshiba - Santo) in second and third.

14:03 EDT    Bobby Lea (Rite Aid) is caught by the peloton - which is all together again.

14:12 EDT    There are some attacks on Memorial Hill. Kyle Wamsley (Colavita) gives it an attack and get 10 seconds, but he can't stay away. The peloton is back together and there is lots of talking on the front - they are trying to figure out who will work , who will attack next.

14:14 EDT    97.6km/58.7km to go It's Symmetrics, Kelley Benefit Strategies / Medifast and Colavita all on the front again. It's deja vu - these teams are clearly in charge today. Symmetrics, probably the most aggressive team of the day, attacks again.

14:17 EDT    106.25km/50.05km to go The riders see four laps to go as they cross under the start / finish again.

14:19 EDT    Keven Lacombe (KBS / Medifast) and Eric Wohlberg (Symmetrics) get a slight gap off the front. They're at about 12 seconds.

14:23 EDT    Results from the sprint at the end of lap 8 are 1 Carlos Alzata (Toshiba Santo); 2 Eric Wohlberg (Symmetrics); 3 Esteban Jukich (Richmond Pro Cycling). Carlos Alzata has a pretty solid lead in the sprint competition.

14:24 EDT    Team Type I chases hard and brings back our two leaders. They weren't going to let two of the strongest teams send a rider each together up the road.

14:25 EDT    Davide Frattini (Colavita) counterattacks on a hill after the lead pair is caught. Maybe he can catch them by surprise and get a gap?

14:31 EDT    112km/44.3km to go No luck - the group is still all together as he is caught on a ramp.

14:34 EDT    118.75km/37.55km to go They sprint through the line - seeing three to go. The top placers get a gap, but they sit right up. Then Kelly Benefit Strategies counters and four riders get away.

14:36 EDT    Sprint # 9 results: 1 Mark Walters (Team RACE); 2 Jonathan Mumford (KBS / Medifast); 3 Ian MacGregor (Team Type I)

14:37 EDT    Our four riders are quickly getting a gap - all four major teams are represented. We'll get you IDs shortly. The break has 20 seconds.

14:38 EDT    Our break riders are Mark Walters (Team RACE), Jonathan Mumford (KBS / Medifast), Kyle Wamsley (Colavita) and Christian Meier (Symmetrics). The gap is holding steady at 20 seconds.

14:40 EDT    Team Type I is chasing hard with six of its riders on the front, which makes sense since they are not represented in the break - they won't want to let this one get away. They are closing it slightly, but they won't get any help from KBS or Symmetrics or Colavita.

14:42 EDT    Team Type I's efforts pay off and they make the catch up Memorial Hill. They're briefly all together, but another group wastes no time in forming. Looks like eight riders.

14:44 EDT    The peloton is shattering from the effort - and maybe also the wind, but they are catching the eight off the front. Symmetrics is at the front driving.

14:44 EDT    They come together, just in time for Symmetrics to attack again. No surprise here - they have been super aggressive the entire race.

14:47 EDT    That last big effort had a lasting, noticeable effect on the peloton, which has shrunk considerably. It must have pushed some riders over their limit. Once you're off and alone in the wind on a day like today, there's not much chance of regaining the group. Jacob Erker (Symmetrics) is a real workhorse today - he's driving the pace again.

14:47 EDT    Davide Frattini (Colavita) attacks and gets a six second gap. He's been another aggressive rider today. It's not his first time at the front.

14:49 EDT    David Veilleux (KBS/Medifast) bridges up to Davide Frattini (Colavita) and the two are off the front together.

14:50 EDT    1km to go until the next sprint - the gap is coming down. There are four 90 degree turns in the final kilometer, including one off-camber turn. Being off the front is definitely the safe and maybe even faster option.

14:51 EDT    131.25km/25.05km to go Two laps to go! Our two leaders are caught and the peloton is all together - strung out in singlefile and going hard.

14:53 EDT    The results of the sprint at the end of lap 10 are 1 Carlos Alzata (Toshiba Santo); 2 Andrew Randell (Symmetrics); 3 David Veilleux (KBS/Medifast)

14:55 EDT    More riders are feeling the strain. They are dropping out. Even the strong teams like Colavita and Symmetrics have just lost two and one men respectively.

14:57 EDT    Luca Damiani (Colavita), David Veilleux (KBS/Medifast) and Dan Timmerman (Team RACE) make a go of it, but they are caught. The re-united peloton is doing lots of looking around. Who will attack next?

14:59 EDT    We've got about 50-60 riders left in our peloton.

15:00 EDT    Correction to something we said earlier - we understand that our starter, General Duncan McNabb is really the Vice Chief of Staff of the Washington-based headquarters of the US Air Force.

15:01 EDT    Two Colavita riders attack on the hill. Too bad this hill isn't bigger - it seems to be inspiring the riders to go for it and launch attacks on most laps. The two Colavita riders briefly pull two others away with them, but they are all back together again on the ramp.

15:04 EDT    One of our readers, Mark Zajicek, astutely pointed out that many of the top US squads are also busy contesting Tour of the Gila today in Silver City, New Mexico. It wraps up with the Gila Monster Road Race.

15:06 EDT    Meanwhile, here in the greater Washington, DC metropolis, Symmetrics is at it again - driving the pace. With some help from Kelly Benefit Strategies. Looks like they are pulling four riders off the front.

15:09 EDT    Our four are Andrew Randell (Symmetrics), Nick Waite (KBS / Medifast), Anibal Borrajo (Colavita), and Chris Jones (Team Type I).

15:09 EDT    Andrew Randell (Symmetrics) attacked the group at 200m and takes the sprint with one to go.

15:11 EDT    143.75km/12.55km to go It is Andrew Randell (Symmetrics) with a 12 second gap on Nick Waite (KBS / Medifast), Anibal Borrajo (Colavita), and Chris Jones (Team Type I) and 20 seconds on the peloton.

15:12 EDT    Carlos Alzata (Toshiba Santo) is still leading the sprints competition despite not placing in the last sprint. The peloton catches our three chasers, leaving our leader off with 23 seconds advantage.

15:15 EDT    Andrew Randell (Symmetrics) has a gap that is growing. It's up to 30 seconds. He's made a bold, last lap effort. We'll see if he can stick it.

15:16 EDT    David Veilleux (KBS/Medifast) is chasing alone.

15:18 EDT    146.4km/9.9km to go But the peloton catches him - thanks to a quick moving peloton driven by Colavita. That team was certainly not interested in having a KBS rider get off the front with a Symmetrics rider.

15:20 EDT    The peloton can still see our leader Andrew Randell (Symmetrics) on the long, straight highway. So much for any out of sight - out of mind strategy.

15:22 EDT    The peloton is strung out and chasing hard. The gap is down to 20 seconds. If he can hang on, our leader will soon be out of sight near the end of the lap, with all its turns.

15:24 EDT    154.3km/2km to go We're entering Crystal City. 2km to go! Andrew Randell (Symmetrics) has 15 seconds on the charging peloton. We'll see if he can hang on.

15:24 EDT    155.3km/1km to go His gap is down to 10 seconds. 1km to go!

15:25 EDT    Just six seconds separate Andrew Randell (Symmetrics) from the pack. 500m to go!

15:25 EDT    Looks like he's not going to hold them off, but it's so close...

15:26 EDT    A charging Colavita rider comes around for the win which ends up as a field sprint.

15:28 EDT    Lucas Sebastian Haedo (Colavita), the brother of well-known sprinter JJ Haedo, takes the win!

15:29 EDT    As part of the Colavita train, Kyle Wamsley (Colavita) finishes in second.

15:37 EDT    In third place was Alex Candelario (KBS / Medifast).

15:38 EDT    To summarize, our provisional top three finishers are 1 Lucas Sebastian Haedo (Colavita); 2 Kyle Wamsley (Colavita); 3 Alex Candelario (KBS / Medifast).

15:40 EDT    That wraps up Cyclingnews' live coverage of the US Air Force Cycling Classic from here Crystal City, Virginia. Thanks so much for joining us! We hope to see you again for our live coverage of the Giro d'Italia. The Italian Grand Tour starts soon - on May 10.