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Green Valley Grand Prix
New Braunfels, Texas, January 30, 2005
Plano Cycling/Cannondale/GSTenzing picked up its second victory in as many weeks as team rider Randy Eller took up a hard-earned victory in the third annual Green Valley Grand Prix. Held under wet, cold and windy conditions, the GVGP consisted of six 10.5 mile circuits on a bumpy, muddy and undulating course. Eller was able to outkick his six breakaway companions, who had been off the front most of the day.
From the gun the race was on, as the 64 P/1/2/3 racers attempted (in vain) to warm themselves in the inclement racing weather. Half way through the first lap, Ethan Frost (Team Brain and Spine) and Frank Breure (Memphis Motor Werks) held a slim 15-second advantage over the field. Out of the last turn before the largest riser on the course, Chris Powers (Trek/VW), Robbie Robinette (Team Hotel San Jose), Eller and Coloradan Kevin Nicol (Tokyo Joe's) hit the gas in an attempt to bridge to the two leaders. These four riders were able to bridge shortly after the finish line, making it six up front.
Ex-Sharper Image/Mathis Brothers professional Dave Wenger, now riding for the Austin-based Team Hotel San Jose saw an opportunity to bridge across and jumped with Nathan Rogut (Compliance Depot/FCS). Wenger dropped Rogut, eventually soloing across to make it seven in the lead group.
Later in the second lap, another chase group developed, led by Saturday's winner, Canadian pro Ryan Roth. Unfortunately for Roth, his three companions - Barry Lee and Will Ross (both Team Hotel San Jose) and Scott Veggeberg (Plano Cycling/Cannondale/GSTz) had teammates up the road. The onus therefore was on Roth to bridge to the group and that he impressively did. He also successfully dropped Veggeberg and Lee in the process through vicious attacks out of each corner and over each rise. Once the Roth and Ross made it to the break, it seemed to be game over for the remaining 25-rider field. However, the nascent Compliance Depot/FCS squad - with help from Dave Bradfield (Colonel's) and Scott Kasin (Team Six) put in a sizeable effort to halve the two minute gap by the end of the fourth lap. On the penultimate lap, two of the breakaway riders - Roth and Ross - suffered from untimely flats. Unfortunately, neither was able to get a speedy wheel change, and weren't able to rejoin the break.
With 15 miles to go, the gap had been reduced to a slim 20 seconds. Unfortunately, the chase had left only nine in the field. Moreover, the decreasing gap seemed to light a fire under the breakaway. Over the next half a lap, the gap ballooned back out to 45 seconds.
Starting the last lap, it was clear the winner would come from the lead seven. Despite the increasing gap, the breakaway riders seemed to be content to work with one another until the final kilometre. Approaching 500 metres to go, Wenger was the first to seriously try his luck. Frost grabbed Wenger's wheel but it was a long way to up the finishing rise, and Eller bided his time so that at 200 metres he flew around Wenger and Frost to claim a convincing victory. Frost was able to hold onto second while Wenger's teammate Robinette grabbed the last podium spot. The other breakaway riders - Powers, Nicol, Breure and Wenger rolled in shortly after. A minute later, the remainder of the field rolled in with San Jose rider Doug Looney winning the nine-up sprint for eighth place.
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Jimmy Rodriguez/www.picturesbyjimmy.com
P/1/2/3 1 Randy Eller (Plano Cycling/Cannondale/GSTz) 2 Ethan Frost (Team Brain & Spine) 3 Robbie Robinette (Team Hotel San Jose) 4 Chris Power (Matrix/Trek/VW) 5 Kevin Nicol (Tokyo Joe's) 6 Frank Breure (Memphis Motor Werks) 7 Dave Wenger (Team Hotel San Jose) 8 Doug Looney (Team Hotel San Jose) 9 David Bradfield (Colonels) 10 Chris Lutz (Bike Heaven) 11 Rob Kane (theRacingPost.us) 12 Scott Veggeberg (Plano Cycling/Cannondale/GSTz) 13 David Golden (Team Brain & Spine) 14 Justin Jackson (Matrix) 15 Thomas Hallock (Compliance Depot/FCS) 16 Scott Kasin (Team Six) Category 3/4 1 Alex Lewis 2 Bennett Brown 3 Zack Brewton 4 Marcus Torres 5 Brian Rodgers 6 Dave Parker 7 Corey Meeks 8 Travis Burandt 9 Russell Motz 10 Tony Blair Category 4/5 A 1 Ricky May 2 Steve Brandt 3 Eric Benz 4 Sam Frost 5 Les Stark Category 4/5 B 1 David Armstrong 2 David Rendon 3 Jose Hernandez 4 Adam Gaubert 5 Shaun Dean Category 40 + 1 Jorge Merle 2 Peter Staneland 3 John Bratton 4 Steve Waters 5 Blake Rich Category Women 1 Julianne Fiocca 2 Allyson Brandt 3 Kim Ciolli 4 Annick Beaudet 5 Beth Allen
Local results 2004