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San Francisco GP
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2001 SFGP

San Rafael Classic
2001 SRC
Competitive Cyclist
Velo Europa

2nd San Francisco GP - 1.3

USA, September 15, 2002

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Complete Live Report

Start time: 8:42 PDT
Finish time: 13:30 PDT

Welcome to Cyclingnews.com's live coverage of the 2nd edition of the San Francisco Grand Prix. Held over a very tough 176 km course, including eight times up the Fillmore St climb, and 13 times up Taylor street. That equates to a lot of climbing 18% grades.

Weather wise, it's a cool, foggy San Francisco morning by the bay. There's a big crowd here, similar to last year as there's a lot going on in San Fran today (not just the bike race).

Lance Armstrong has shown up ready to race, as USPS manager Mark Gorski told Cyclingnews this morning. "Yeah Lance has been training hard and is motivated to do something here."

US Postal Service has a very strong team. Last year there was an early break that wasn't very well controlled, but this year it might be different.

Other favourites for the race include Chris Wherry (Mercury), Burke Swindlehurst and Mark Walters (Navigators), Chann McRae (USPS), Kevin Livingston (Telekom), Michele Scarponi, Massimo Gentili (Acqua e Sapone), Alessandro Del Sarto and Oscar Mason (Saeco).

9:00 PDT
The riders have completed their opening three laps, and are now on the circuit proper. Trent Klasna (Saturn) has been particularly active, getting in several breaks so far. However none have been successful and the peloton is together as they roll out for the first of eight 16 km laps.

9:09 PDT - Lap 1
They hit the Fillmore St wall for the first time, and it's Italian climber Michele Scarponi (Acqua e Sapone) and Glen Mitchell (Navigators) who put in the first attack. They are chased by Saturn's Chris Fisher and 7Up's John Lieswyn. Scarponi has got his good climbing legs on today and is going after the KOM points.

9:25 PDT - Lap 1
A group of 11 riders: Pavel Padrnos (USPS), Gord Fraser and Mike Sayers (Mercury), Alex Candelario and Russel Stevenson (Prime Alliance) Vassili Davidenko and Burke Swindlehurst (Navigators), Mark McCormack and Eric Wohlberg (Saturn), John Lieswyn (7Up), Cesar Grajales (Jittery Joes) have managed to get a gap on the rest of the peloton after Fillmore St. They currently lead by 50 seconds as they approach the end of the first lap.

9:35 PDT - Lap 2
As they go up Fillmore St for the second time, a group of four chasers are trying to get across to the leaders. The gaps at the moment are: The leaders have 30 seconds on the chasers, and another 30 seconds on the peloton.

9:47 PDT - Lap 3
The break has increased its lead to 1'20 and the four riders bridging up are as follows: Floyd Landis (USPS), Chris Baldwin (Navigators), Trent Klasna (Saturn), and Ben Jacques-Maynes (Sierra Nevada). Padrnos has been winning the KOM's, after Scarponi flatted out of the break and went back to the peloton.

It's a very cool and foggy morning here, but the crowds are huge - especially along Fillmore street.

10:00 PDT - End of Lap 3
At the end of the third of eight large laps the situation is as follows. There are 15 riders away with a 1'30 lead: Pavel Padrnos Floyd Landis (USPS), Gord Fraser and Mike Sayers (Mercury), Alex Candelario and Russel Stevenson (Prime Alliance) Vassili Davidenko, Chris Baldwin and Burke Swindlehurst (Navigators), Mark McCormack, Trent Klasna and Eric Wohlberg (Saturn), John Lieswyn (7Up), Cesar Grajales (Jittery Joes), and Ben Jacques-Maynes (Sierra Nevada).

Saturn and Navigators are well represented with 3 riders apiece, while USPS, Mercury, and Prime Alliance all have two. Acqua e Sapone is setting the tempo on the front of the peloton.

10:16 PDT - Lap 4
The gap has come down a little to 55 seconds, courtesy of two Acqua e Sapone riders on the front of the peloton. Also the 15 man break didn't do itself any favours by everyone attacking up the Fillmore St hill. Three groups formed over the top for a mile or so, but it came back together.

10:34 PDT - End of Lap 4/Start of Lap 5
They've just started the fifth of eight large laps, and the situation has changed. There are now seven riders in front, after eight of the breakaways sat up. They are: Pavel Padrnos (USPS), Mike Sayers (Mercury), Russell Stevenson (Prime Alliance), Vassili Davidenko (Navigators), Trent Klasna (Saturn), John Lieswyn (7Up) and Cesar Grajales (Jittery Joes).

The first 41 miles were covered at an impressive average speed for this course of 25.8 mph.

10:45 PDT - Lap 5
The break was caught on Taylor St at the end of lap 5, courtesy of a big turn by George Hincapie and of course the continued work of Acqua e Sapone. Mike Sayers won the last KOM on Taylor St as they got caught. The peloton is still around 120 riders strong.

Mercury has had a few flats, as have Acqua e Sapone.

11:05 PDT - Lap 6
Nine riders, including Chann McRae, Plamen Stoyanov (Mercury), Lorenzo Cardellini (Acqua e Sapone), Danny Pate (Prime Alliance) Siro Camponogaro (Navigators), Ivan Dominguez (Saturn), Harm Jansen (Saturn), Doug Ziewacz (7Up) and Jason Mccartney (Jelly Belly) have attacked on the sixth lap and have a 1'30 on the peloton. There's not really an organised chase behind them.

11:21 PDT - Lap 7
The leading nine have increased their advantage to 2'00 on the seventh lap, with no-one yet organising a chase in the peloton. This is a dangerous time in the race.

11:30 PDT - Lap 7/6 laps to go
Four guys dressed up as US Postal mailboxes have just had a drag race up Taylor St, much to the delight of the crowd.

A Saturn rider - Harm Jansen - comes up Taylor St with a 20 second lead on the rest of the breakaways. The peloton has closed the gap somewhat to 1'30. There's a huge split in the peloton as they ride up the climb. Hincapie went over the top first.

11:45 PDT - Lap 8/5 laps to go
They're on the final large lap, with five 8.4 km laps to go after this. The US Postal chase has brought the break back to 55 seconds, and lone leader Harm Jansen was also recapatured by the breakaways. The break is as follows:

Chann McRae (USPS), Plamen Stoyanov (Mercury), Lorenzo Cardellini (Acqua e Sapone), Danny Pate (Prime Alliance) Siro Camponogaro (Navigators), Ivan Dominguez (Saturn), Harm Jansen (Saturn), Doug Ziewacz (7Up) and Jason Mccartney (Jelly Belly)

After 60 miles, the average speed was 25.6 mph.

11:52 PDT - Lap 8/5 laps to go
Going over Fillmore the last time, they caught the break. There's a lot of action right now and the peloton has split into several bits. The US Postal tempo has really shaken things up.

12:07 PDT - Lap 9/4 laps to go
Hincapie comes up Taylor street with 35 seconds on a disfunctional chase. Lance Armstrong is at the front of the peloton, marshalling the chase. There aren't many riders who have the legs to chase though. The peloton is down to about 40 guys.

Jackson Stewart (Ofoto-Lombardi) was off the back last time up Taylor St, when a guy came running out on the road. Stewart told him to get away, and the cops came and jumped the guy, handcuffed him, and hauled him off, much to the disappointment of the crowd.

12:20 PDT - Lap 10/3 laps to go
Hincapie still has a 30 second lead going up Taylor St for the fourth last time, and the tatters of the peloton seem unable to marshall their forces to catch him, with Mercury and Saturn doing most of the chasing. Of course, if they catch him, US Postal still has Lance Armstrong as the trump card.

12:25 PDT - Lap 11/2 laps to go
With just under three laps to go, George Hincapie (USPS) is still powering away in front of a group of 11 riders, who have detached themselves off the front of the peloton. His lead has shrunk to 20 seconds. Lance is in the group, with a couple of Mercurys, including Vogels who was trying to get the chase going.

12:36 PDT - Lap 11/2 laps to go
Hincapie got caught on Taylor St with just over 2 laps to go. Now the break has split into two, with Hincapie, Armstrong, Ekimov all in the front, with three others. This looks good for USPS.

12:43 PDT - Lap 12/1.5 laps to go
Lance Armstrong, George Hincapie, Viatcheslav Ekimov (USPS), Henk Vogels, Massimo Giunti (Acqua e Sapone), Tom Leaper (Navigators), and Charles Dionne (7Up) are in the break. They have 1'55 on the peloton, which has basically sat up. USPS has the strength in numbers, but the other guys e.g. Vogels and Dionne are quick.

12:49 PDT - Lap 13/1 lap to go
On the penultimate climb of Taylor St, there was a lot of forcing by Dionne and Leaper, who dropped Hincapie and Vogels. Now there's five guys in front: Armstrong, Ekimov, Leaper, Dionne, and Giunti.

12:53 PDT - Lap 13/0.5 laps to go
Vogels gets back to the group, and attacks them, but Eki brings him back. There's a chasing group with Jesus Zarate (Mercury) and Harm Jansen (Saturn).

12:59 PDT - Lap 13/2 km to go
With 2 km to go, Eki's on the front with Dionne on his wheel. Vogels attacks on the left and Lance goes with him. Giunti is still there, as is Leaper.

13:03 PDT - Lap 13/0 km to go
It comes down to a group sprint, and it's Charles Dionne (7Up) who takes the surprise win! Postal had the firepower, but couldn't get away on the climb when it mattered, and Dionne was the quickest at the end.

Second was Vogels, followed by Giunti.

"This is the big race in Amreica - I'm so happy. I'm normally a sprinter and I had great legs today," an ecstatic Dionne told Cyclingnews after the finish.

Provisional results

1 Charles Dionne (Can) 7Up-Nutra Fig          4.18.49
2 Henk Vogels (Aus) Mercury
3 Massimo Giunti (Ita) Acqua e Sapone

Thank you for following the live coverage of the San Francisco GP on Cyclingnews. Be sure to check back later today for a full report and photos of this amazing race.

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