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Sea Otter - NE
USA, April 16-18, 2009
Stage 1 - April 16: Criterium, 60/50min
Bissell sweeps podium in crit
Professional road racing got underway today at the Sea Otter Classic with the return of criterium racing. 62 pro men lined up for the hour long race on the 1.2-mile course. Against punishing climbs, hairpin turns and bullying crosswinds, Bissell's Morgan Schmitt took the win from a lead group which also contained his teammates Kirk O'Bee and Ben Jacques-Maynes. Bissell fielded the largest team in today's crit and succeeded taking an early command of the race.
"We had a big number and our plan was for sure to win," Schmitt said, "and the plan was to get us up the road early."
A hard, fast start to the men's race broke up the pack almost instantly and racers were swiftly jettisoned from competition. Within 15 minutes, the race split into three parts, beginning with a calculated move from Bissell. Five riders maneuvered a flawless attack and sprinted up the road with a racer from Land Rover – Orbea in tow. Bissell wasted no time shucking Land Rover-Orbea but sacrificed two of their own to send Schmitt, O'Bee, and Jacques-Maynes to the front where they stayed for the duration of the race.
"We eased up a bit more to ride tempo but the start was brutal," Schmitt continued. "We just had to get the gap and make sure no one could cross."
Crit racing never looked so effortless as it did with each pass of the Bissell trio, which sustained a 42-second gap between them and the chase group from race midpoint all the way through to the end.
Lone Benjamin scores victory
Palo Alto-based team TIBCO took up their place at the front to control the field at the start until a restless 17-year-old Coryn Rivera (Metro VW) punched up the pace with an attack 20 minutes into the race. TIBCO responded with a charge of its own from Joanne Kiesanowski who brought four other racers with her. The break of six containing Kelly Benjamin (Colavita/Sutter Home), Liza Rachetto (DFT/Treads), Jenn Halladay (Bob's), and Kathryn Donovan (Kahala Lagran) surged at each other in efforts to decide the race until a charge by Rivera in the final 500 meters was fiercely countered by Benjamin and Kiesanowski, who failed to block Benjamin's win.
"I was coming in support of the new crit and to open up my legs to race for the weekend," Benjamin said. "I was outnumbered and knew I wouldn't be very aggressive so I just saved it for the end. I waited 'til the last minute and it was kind of like a slingshot where I was able to cross from the outside and finish strong."
While Benjamin's Colavita/Sutter Home teammates cheered from the sidelines, Benjamin set a winning trend for her teammates to follow up with in tomorrow's road race.
Pro road racing continues tomorrow at noon with the men's and women's road race. Super D finals take place starting at noon.
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Mitch Clinton/www.clintonphoto.com
1 Morgan Schmitt (Bissell Pro Cycling) 58.57 2 Ben Jacques-Maynes (Bissell Pro Cycling) 0.01 3 Kirk O'Bee (Bissell Pro Cycling) 4 Andy Jacques-Maynes (Bissell Pro Cycling) 0.19 5 Daniel Ramsey (Mountain Khakis) 0.21 6 Roman Van Uden (Land Rover-Orbea) 7 Peter Latham (Bissell Pro Cycling) 0.24 8 Chris Winn (Rmcef) 0.25 9 Alex Howes (Garmin-Holowesko-Felt) 10 Ian Holt (Rmcef) 11 Steven George (Fly V Australia) 12 Hayden Brooks (Fly V Australia) 13 Jeremy Vennell (Bissell) 0.27 14 Evan Elken (Land Rover-Orbea) 0.29 15 Thomas Nelson (Liquid Fitness-Adage) 0.30 16 Caleb Fairly (Felt-Vmg) 1.15 17 Travis Wilkerson (Liquid Fitness-Adage) 2.10 18 Daniel Holloway (Garmin-Holowesko-Felt) 19 Neil Coleman 20 Cody O'Reilly (Bissell Pro Cycling) 2.11 21 Ben King (Fly V Australia) 22 Kevin Klein (Klein Real Estate) 23 Tim Farnham (Bissell Pro Cycling) 24 JD Bergmann (Team Clif Bar) 25 Rudolph Napolitano (Liquid Fitness-Adage) 26 Albert Gonzales 27 Evan Hyde (Nashvillecyclist.com) 28 Carson Miller (Land Rover-Orbea) 29 Joao Correia (Bissell Pro Cycling) 30 Burke Swindlehurst (Bissell Pro Cycling) 31 Justin Kerr (Liquid Cycling) 32 Aaron Schneider (Now-Ms Society) Women 1 Kelly Benjamin (Colavita/Sutter Home) 45.47 2 Joanne Kiesanowski (Team Tibco) 3 Coryn Rivera (Metro VW) 0.01 4 Liza Rachetto (SugarCRM) 5 Jenn Halladay (Bobs Bicycles) 6 Kathryn Donovan (Kahala Lagrange) 0.05 7 Rushlee Buchanan (Team Tibco) 0.26 8 Ruth Winder (Pro Man Hit Squad) 9 Emma Rickards (Cervelo Lifeforce) 0.31 10 Aimee Baker (Hopkins Honda/Code 3) 11 Karla Kingsley (Sugar CRM) 12 Melinda Weiner (Kahala Lagrange) 13 Alison Rosenthal (Team Tibco) 14 Laurie Furman (Hopkins Honda/Code 3) 0.32 15 Ashley Anderson (Metro VW) 16 Kelsey Withrow (Team Kenda) 17 Yukie Nakamura (Metromint Cycling) 0.33 18 Mary Maroon (Vanderkitten) 0.35 19 Kim Wik (Hopkins Honda/Code 3) 1.50 20 Vanessa Drigo (Hopkins Honda/Code 3) 2.05 21 Samantha Michel (SugarCRM) 3.47 22 Karena Shannon (Hopkins Honda/Code 3) 23 Mary Ash (Ellen SugarCRM) 24 Christina Yglesias (Pro Man Hit Squad)