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California Bicycle Racing Best All-round Racer Series Finale
Dominguez Hills, California, August 24, 2003
Schroeder's rules with Iron fist; Kiwi McCauley laps field en route to victory
By Casper Casparian
With the door slowly closing on the 2003 racing season, local squad Schroeder Iron Pro Cycling walked away with three of the top four spots at the California Bicycle Racing (CBR) "Best All-around Racer" series finale in Dominguez Hills, California. One Iron man after another put distance on the field and chase groups, finally organizing into a four-man break with Aussie Ben Brooks (Jelly Belly) as the sole foreigner in Schroeder-land. New Zealander Gordon McCauley escaped Brooks and his teammates, catching the field and cruising in to victory.
"You can say that the race went pretty much exactly to plan," said Schroeder team director Frank Schroeder. "We didn't know Gordon would lap the field of course, but we planned to be on the attack all day and figured that one of the attacking riders would take the win."
"Normally, we try to let the guys do their own thing and not to form a plan and beat up on the local guys," Schroeder continued. "But with big races like Manhattan Beach Grand Prix coming up, we had to get in a little practice."
Although McCauley and teammates won the day, Ryan Barrett (Monex-Hot Wheels) won the field sprint for fifth place and cemented his leadership in the year-long Best All-around Racer (BAR) season standings, taking home a pile of cash in the process.
Eighty starters set out on the 1-mile, slightly rolling four-corner course in warm temperatures and under cloudless skies. The sound of the whistle was still in the air as Jacob Erker (Schroeder) leapt to the head of the field, and then kept going. A chase group driven largely by Thurlow Rogers (Monex) and the highly motivated Brooks quickly responded; Pete Knudsen and young speedster Rigo Meza (both Schroeder) dutifully hitchhiked to gum up the works.
Erker was caught a few laps on, however, at which point Knudsen countered and quickly put time on the field. His lead grew to more than 10 seconds as a combination of panic and pressure kept the field and recombined chase at bay. Brooks saw blood, though, and left the chase group for good, with Erker and McCauley in tow soon after.
When the Brooks Express caught up to the lone Knudsen, it became time for Brooks to become the passenger as the three-man Schroeder team time trial ate up the asphalt. According to Frank Schroeder, "Once Ben caught up to Pete Knudsen, he knew that he would get a decent placing. But he also knew that he was outnumbered, so he told the guys, "I won't sprint, but I'll work."
McCauley saw his opportunity and then leapt from the already-flying quartet, never to be seen again.
He lapped the field and settled in for a relaxing, escorted cruise to victory. As the field approached the finish line for the last time, however, things hotted up at the sharp end of the bunch as Miguel Meza (Schroeder) and Harm Jansen (Velo RPM) literally gave Barrett a run for his money; the Monex rider could not be held off, though, and took fifth place and the BAR title.
Relentless but fatigued, Brooks managed to jump clear of Knudsen but couldn't out-drag Erker for 2nd place.
Images by Casper Casparian
1 Gordon McCauley (NZl) Schroeder Iron Pro Cycling 2 Jacob Erker (Can) Schroeder 3 Ben Brooks (Aus) Jelly Belly 4 Pete Knudsen (USA) Schroeder 5 Ryan Barrett (USA) Monex-Hot Wheels 6 Miguel Meza (Mex) Schroeder 7 Harm Jansen (Ned) Velo RPM 8 Greg Medinilla (USA) Monex 9 Marco Rios (USA) Team Zombies 10 Juan Bravo (USA) DARE