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USPRO Criterium Championship - 1.3
Chicago, USA, August 17-18, 2002
Team tarmac takes its toll
By Chris Baldwin
Kevin Monahan of 7Up-Nutra Fig is the new USPro Criterium Champion, nosing out US Postal's Robbie Ventura for the title Sunday. On a day marred by a field-clearing crash with four laps to go, Australian Henk Vogels was the overall race winner, cashing in on a well-timed pull from his Mercury teammate Chris Wherry in the final two turns of the figure eight course.
The crash came on a fast right hand turn and slammed 20 to 30 riders immediately onto the pavement. Two dozen riders just ahead of it all were spared but the remainder of the peloton was either on the ground or blocked. With no free laps left, many a riders' race ended on turn five of lap 58.
In the early portion of the 100-kilometer race, attacks formed feebly and were routinely reeled in. Aggressive team tactics by US Postal had David Zabriskie and Robbie Ventura both leading the chase through several laps, while Navigator's Tom Leaper and Schroeder Iron's Jamie Paolinetti brought back Hot Sprint Prime winner John Lieswyn of 7Up-Nutra Fig with 45 laps to go.
With 30 laps left, Saturn had two of its men playing part in an eight second break but a $1,000 mid race prime put Plamen Stoyanov of Mercury up and away the next time round.
Ofoto Lombardi's Eric Saunders and Jittery Joe's Mike Ley took turns tagging Saturn's Trent Klasna long enough for the peloton to regroup behind them at the two-thirds mark but soon thereafter an aggressive pull by Chad Gerlach of Sierra Nevada set up a breakaway of eight riders including Paolinetti, Saturn's Eric Wohlberg, Ciaran Power of the Navigators and Phil Zajicek of Mercury. Prime Alliance's Danny Pate was caught pedaling between the devil of the break and the deep blue sea of the peloton, itself another 25 seconds back and charging.
Then the race announcers began collecting aggressively for a crowd prime. From $400 to $736.50, to $850, the pot grew faster than a WorldCom stock option in a CEO's portfolio. Soon $1500 was being made available to the first rider across the line at the five-lap mark. Peter Rogers of iTeamnova won the wracking hunchbacked sprint against Ryan Guay of the Navigators and claimed his booty.
But the lap leading up to the crowd prime was where the one unknown rider fell, taking with him two-thirds of the remaining pack, isolating the front twenty riders from any chasers and effectively ending the race. Though the rest of the contest was hard fought, especially by 7Up's Monahan and Charles Dionne, who faced down the equine endurance of Postal's Chann McRae in support of Ventura, the fact that many of the race favorites were sprawled out on the intersection of Main and Maple seemed to darken the result.
Kevin Monahan, winner, 7Up-Nutra Fig
"Charles Dionne totally hooked me up today. I had total faith in him and he paid me back. It's one of those days when the stars line up and the moon shines down. I had been thinking I was going to retire at the end of the season. Now I won't."
Jonas Carney, Prime Alliance
"We worked really hard out there, but we were outmanned. It's frustrating to see a race end like this, with three of the top sprinters in America out of the race. Somebody just shot to the inside of the turn and crashed and took out 40 riders."
Gord Fraser, Mercury
"I was 4th or 5th in a pile of about 20 guys, and my leg was pinned over the top tube of a bike. I thought for sure it was broken. I never screamed like that in my life."
Dylan Casey, US Postal
"All it takes is one guy to swerve a little and the field goes down."
Kenny Labbe, US Postal
"I was behind the crash but only got delayed by it. I didn't go down. But by the time I was back up to speed it was too late to do anything. I did my job early on in the race, though. It's a great result for Robbie, but it's tough to take second."
Thurlow Rogers, Team Director Mercury
"Wherry took Henk to the bottom of the hill and then Henk just kept it in the 11 until the end. Gord's probably going to be okay, just some scrapes and a light hematoma, but we'll have him checked out for sure."
Peter Rogers, iTeamnova
"This is the biggest payout I've ever seen. We never have primes like this in Australia. I just said to myself 'relax' and hit out on the second to last turn. It was a great experience."
Photos supplied by Ken Carl
Images by Martin Boehm
1 Henk Vogels (Aus) Mercury 2.11.16 2 Kevin Monahan (USA) 7-UP/Nutra Fig 3 Robbie Ventura (USA) US Postal Service 4 Roberto Gaggioli (Ita) Schroeder Iron Pro Cycling 5 Vassili Davidenko (Rus) Navigators 6 Ivan Dominguez (Cub) Saturn 7 Charles Dionne (Can) 7-UP/Nutra Fig 8 Hilton Clarke (Aus) Schroeder Iron Pro Cycling 9 Henricus Jansen (Ned) Saturn 10 Soren Petersen (Den) Saturn 11 Siro Camponogara (Ita) Navigators 12 Michael Johnson (USA) Schroeder Iron Pro Cycling 13 Peter Rogers (Aus) Iteamnova 14 Ryan Guay (USA) Navigators 15 Chris Wherry (USA) Mercury 16 Mark Walters (Can) Navigators 17 Eric Wohlberg (Can) Saturn 18 Chann Mcrae (USA) US Postal Service 19 Oleg Grishkine (Rus) Navigators 20 John Lieswyn (USA) 7-UP/Nutra Fig 21 Jackson Stewart (USA) Ofoto-Lombardi 22 Jacob Rosenbarger (USA) Jittery Joe's 23 Mike Ley (USA) Jittery Joe's 24 Martin Wayne Nothstein (USA) Navigators 25 Ken Toman (USA) Schroeder Iron Pro Cycling 26 Colby Pierce (USA) Ofoto-Lombardi 27 Tim Larkin (USA) Ofoto-Lombardi 28 Plamen Stoianov (Bul) Mercury 29 Jason Mccartney (USA) Jelly Belly 30 Damon Kluck (USA) Saturn 31 Jacob Erker (Can) Schroeder Iron Pro Cycling 32 Scott Moninger (USA) Mercury 33 Danny Pate (USA) Prime Alliance 34 Hayden Godfrey (NZl) 7-UP/Nutra Fig 35 Chuck Coyle (USA) 7-UP/Nutra Fig 36 Ryan Barrett (USA) Schroeder Iron Pro Cycling DNF Chris Fisher (USA) Saturn Ê DNF Trent Klasna (USA) Saturn DNF Frank Mccormack (USA) Saturn DNF Mark Mccormack (USA) Saturn DNF Jay Sweet (Aus) Saturn DNF Gordon Fraser (Can) Mercury DNF Brice Jones (USA) Mercury DNF Mike Sayers (USA) Mercury DNF Phil Zajicek (USA) Mercury DNF Jesus Zarate Estrada (Mex) Mercury DNF Jonas Carney (USA) Prime Alliance DNF Alex Candelario (USA) Prime Alliance DNF Matt Decanio (USA) Prime Alliance DNF John Peters (USA) Prime Alliance DNF Russell Stevenson (USA) Prime Alliance DNF John Walrod (USA) Prime Alliance DNF Mariano Friedick (USA) Jelly Belly DNF Kirk Albers (USA) Jelly Belly DNF Brent Dawson AUS Jelly Belly DNF Brian Forbes (USA) Jelly Belly DNF Ernesto Lechuga (Mex) Jelly Belly DNF Remi Mcmanus (USA) Jelly Belly DNF Cory Steinbrecher (USA) Jelly Belly DNF Chad Gerlach (USA) Sierra Nevada DNF Chris Baumann (USA) Sierra Nevada DNF Andrew Crater (USA) Ofoto-Lombardi DNF Russell Hamby (USA) Ofoto-Lombardi DNF Peter Lopinto (USA) Ofoto-Lombardi DNF Erik Saunders (USA) Ofoto-Lombardi DNF Jamie Paolinetti (USA) Schroeder Iron Pro Cycling DNF Pete Knudsen (USA) Schroeder Iron Pro Cycling DNF Jason Bausch (USA) Schroeder Iron Pro Cycling DNF Chad Hartley (USA) Jittery Joe's DNF Jeffrey Hopkins (Aus) Jittery Joe's DNF Chris Pic (USA) Jittery Joe's DNF Gregory Henderson (NZl) 7-UP/Nutra Fig DNF Oscar Pineda (Gua) 7-UP/Nutra Fig DNF Douglas Ziewacz (USA) 7-UP/Nutra Fig DNF Dan Schmatz (USA) 7-UP/Nutra Fig DNF Ciaran Power (Irl) Navigators DNF Glen Mitchell (NZl) Navigators DNF Tom Leaper (Aus) Navigators DNF Christopher Baldwin (USA) Navigators DNF David Clinger (USA) US Postal Service DNF Kenny Labbe (USA) US Postal Service DNF Dylan Casey (USA) US Postal Service DNF David Zabriskie (USA) US Postal Service