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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

Sea Otter Classic - 2.5/2.9.2

Monterey, California, USA, April 15-17, 2004

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Stage 2 - April 17: Salinas Valley Road Race, 102/95 miles (M/W)

Horner and Bessette live up to expectations

Chris Horner creates the decisive move
Photo ©: Len Ramirez

Chris Horner (Webcor) and Lyne Bessette (Quark) gave heed to the fact that they were considered race favourites going into this week's event by winning the final and toughest stage to go home with the yellow jersey. Both Horner and Bessette waited until the last minute to make their winning move, with Horner soloing to the finish, whilst Bessette fought for the win in a two up sprint.

Today's 100-mile course headed straight over the hills south of Monterey and into Carmel Valley where it wound through farmland and undulating terrain before climbing back into Laguna Seca Raceway for the finish. There was no rain today like the 2003 stage but the wind did play a big part in the way the race panned out.

In the men's race there was a little action and a break went up the road early and stayed out ther for some time until Sierra Nevada reeled it back in. After the break was caught, things became chaotic in the wind until another break went. This time both Sierra Nevada and Health Net made the effort to bring it back.

As the race reached the base of the climb into the raceway the field was all together. Despite no specific attacking on the hill, the race began to split. Race leader Trent Klasna was struggling with the climb and Health Net, realizing the opportunity drove the pace. After entering the raceway, the men completed three laps of the circuit before finishing. It was on the first climb within the raceway that Horner decided to go. He immediately got a gap and continued to gain ground on all chasers, with only Mike Jones (Health Net) able to keep him in sight.

Horner held on to his lead to take the race and the tour, with Jones soloing home for second place in the race and second place on GC. Winning the sprint for third place was Horner's teammate Charles Dionne.

Horner was happy with his result after the race but explained that he had no intentions of going for the tour win today because he didn't want to take the jersey from Klasna. "It wasn't going to me who took the jersey off Trent's shoulders," he said. "Trent is like a brother to me."

Once it became obvious however that Klasna was not going to hold the lead and that Jones was moving into the leaders position on the road, Horner decided to go for it. "If you have good form, you have to take advantage of it, you never know when you are going to lose it," Horner explained.

"I have a lot of friends in cycling, but only one brother."

Horner heads straight to Georgia tomorrow for Tour de Georgia and said that racing Sea Otter will definitely not be a disadvantage to him. "I think I had to race here to have a good race in Georgia. Redlands was two weeks ago which would have been too long a distance between races."

Jones was happy with ride, despite being disappointed that he couldn't take out the tour. "Once we saw Klasna was suffering, we hoped that we could hold onto the tour win," he said. "When Horner attacked he had quite a run on me and I couldn't go with him. At this stage I just wanted to keep him within sight and try to keep hold of the tour. But it's Horner and he just kept gaining time. Second to Horner is not bad I guess."

The women's GC podium.
Photo ©: CN

The women raced the same distance and according to most of the riders the race was very boring. With such a long distance to race and very strong winds, the peloton was very conservative. It was only towards the very end of the race that things started hotting up and the Quark Team started sending riders up the road. Audrey Lemieux and Amy Moore both attacked each other causing Tina Pic to chase each time. All the breaks were reeled in and eventually it was Christine Thorburn who caused the decisive break.

Attacking on the final climb to the raceway, Thorburn split the field taking only Bessette and Kristin Armstrong (T-Mobile) with her. With Pic missing the move, the peloton left it up to her to chase as the trio went up the road. Thorburn couldn't stay with Bessette and Armstrong in the final meters of the race and it was a two up sprint between the pair on the finish line. Bessette took the win in a very close sprint, thereby winning the tour overall. Armstrong's second place ensured her second place overall and Thorburn was able to hold on to take third in the stage, only seconds behind.

Winning the bunch sprint for fourth place was Jenny Ayerman (Red 5 Racing), who topped of a successful three days of racing.

Bessette was very happy with her win when Cyclingnews caught up with her after the race. "My team were awesome today and everything went to plan. Audrey did a great attack and held it for quite a while. Tina [Pic] was our biggest threat today, so this worked well because Genesis had to chase.

"Coming into the final sprint I was in second place and I wanted to be in third. I back off causing Kristin to come around," Bessette added. "This gave me the perfect lead into the sprint." Bessette leaves for Europe tomorrow to race with her National team in Fleche Wallone, and a couple of other races before Tour de L'Aude, which she has won twice before. Armstrong was obviously disappointed that she couldn't quite take out Bessette in the sprint and take the tour win but said that her teams plans went well.

Pic was also disappointed that she missed the move, which left her chasing the break solo. "I just couldn't respond when Christine attacked," she explained. "Then I guess people just thought it was my race to lose so I had to chase by myself with no help."

Thorburn was however happy with her race. "I felt good today and I knew what I had to do. My goal was to get a GC podium and that meant I had to attack. My chances of being able to move up 20seconds and win the overall were very slim, so I really just had to move up in front of Kristin or Tina to take third."

Photography

Images by Kristy Scrymgeour/Cyclingnews

Images by Len Ramirez/Cinealta Pictures

Images by Russ & Nancy Wright/AbbiOrca.com

Results

Men
 
1 Chris Horner (USA) Webcor Builders                       4.24.49
2 Michael Jones (USA) Health Net/Maxxis                       1.25
3 Charles Dionne (Can) Webcor Builders                        1.52
4 Brice Jones (USA) Health Net/Maxxis                             
5 Jason Lokkesmoe (USA) Health Net/Maxxis                         
6 Imanol Ayestaran (Spa) Webcor Builders                          
7 John Kelly (USA) Webcor Builders                            0.56
8 Cory Lange (Can) Canadian national team                         
9 Todd Terlecki (USA) La Grange                                   
10 Eric Wohlberg (Can) Sierra Nevada                              
 
Women
 
1 Lyne Bessette (Can) Quark                                5.22.14
2 Kristin Armstrong (USA) T-Mobile                                
3 Christine Thorburn (USA) Webcor Builders                        
4 Jenny Eyerman (USA) Red 5 Racing                            0.57
5 Gabriella Gonzalez De Ferrat (Mex) Velo Bella                   
6 Tina Mayolo-Pic (USA) Genesis Scuba                             
7 Audrey Lemieux (Can) Quark                                      
8 Karen Bockel (Ger) TDS/Schwalbe                                 
9 Meredith Miller (USA) SATS                                      
10 Mette Fischer-Andersen (Den) SATS                              
11 Lauren Franges (USA) Victory Brewing                           
12 Stacey Peters (USA) T-Mobile                                   
13 Nicole Demars (Can) Victory Brewing                            
14 Mari Holden (USA) T-Mobile                                     
15 Erin Mirabella (USA) Red 5 Racing                              
16 Felicia Greer (Can) Webcor Builders                            
17 Catherine Powers (USA) La Grange                               
18 Stefanie Graeter (USA) Webcor Builders                         
19 Kristin Caldwell (USA) Morgan Stanley/Specialized              
20 Penny Avril (USA) Sycip/McGuire                                
21 Kristin Johnson (USA) Basis                                    
22 Hiroko Shimada (Jpn) MABRA                                     
23 Katherine Sherwin (USA) Kenda Tire                             
24 Laura Van Gilder (USA) Genesis Scuba                       1.13
25 Brenda Lyons (USA) Sycip/McGuire                               
26 Michelle Beltran (USA) Red 5 Racing                        1.20
27 Rebecca Broeder (USA) Wells Fargo Ragats                       
28 Cindy Carroll (USA) Dewar's Racing                             
29 Katherine Maher (USA) Basis                                1.28
30 Emma Rickards (Aus) Victory Brewing                            
31 Melissa Sanborn (USA) Wells Fargo Ragats                   1.44
32 Kimberley Cunningham (USA) Morgan Stanley/Specialized          
33 Christina Peick-Andersen (Den) SATS                            
34 Yukie Nakamura (Jpn) Dewar's Racing                            
35 Megan Monroe (USA) TDS/Schwalbe                                
36 Christina Ruiter (USA) Basis                               2.24
37 Rebecca Much (USA) Acme Racing                             3.00
38 Jane Despas (USA) Wells Fargo Ragats                           
39 Amy Moore (Can) Quark                                      3.34
40 Anne Samplonius (Can) TDS/Schwalbe                             
41 Bridget Evans (Aus) Dewar's Racing                             
42 Nichole Wangsgard (USA) Acme Racing                        3.57
43 Jennifer Stevens (USA) Red 5 Racing                            
44 Rook Campbell (USA) Genesis Scuba                          4.07
45 Lisa Hunt (USA) Morgan Stanley/Specialized                 4.14
46 Carla Hukee (USA) Kenda Tire                                   
47 Shawn Heidgen (USA) TDS/Schwalbe                               
48 Lara Kroepsch (USA) T-Mobile                                   
49 Kristin Durmm-Collins (USA) Morgan Stanley/Specialized     4.39
50 Pat Ross (USA) MABRA                                       4.50
51 Christine Vardaros (USA) Velo Bella                        4.56
52 Beverley Harper (USA) LGBRC                                5.00
53 Catherine Malone (USA) Webcor Builders                     5.50
54 Sarah Bamberger (USA) Sycip/McGuire                            
55 Grace Fleury (USA) Genesis Scuba                           6.28
56 Laura Downey (USA) La Grange                               7.53
57 Leah Tingley (USA) Acme Racing                                 
58 Aimee Vasse (USA) MABRA                                        
59 Martina Patella (USA) LGBRC                                8.58
60 Kate Landau (USA) LGBRC                                   10.11
61 Troy Watson (USA) Dewar's Racing                          11.00
DNF Johanna Buick (NZl) Victory Brewing                           
DNF Megan Elliott (USA) Quark                                     
DNF Nicole Brandt (USA) La Grange                                 
DNF Betsy Bloom - Galenti (USA) La Grange                         
 
Final general classification
 
Men
 
1 Chris Horner (USA) Webcor Builders                       6.55.25
2 Michael Jones (USA) Health Net/Maxxis                       0.50
3 Charles Dionne (Can) Webcor Builders                        1.34
4 Jason Lokkesmoe (USA) Health Net/Maxxis                     1.36
5 Eric Wohlberg (Can) Sierra Nevada                           1.45
6 Imanol Ayestaran (Spa) Webcor Builders                      2.00
7 Cory Lange (Can) Canadian national team                     2.02
8 Davide Frattini (Ita) Monex                                 2.03
9 Dominique Perras (Can) Canadian national team               2.09
10 Brice Jones (USA) Health Net/Maxxis                        2.14
Women
 
1 Lyne Bessette (Can) Quark                                7.09.18
2 Kristin Armstrong (USA) T-Mobile                            0.07
3 Christine Thorburn (USA) Webcor Builders                    0.28
4 Tina Mayolo-Pic (USA) Genesis Scuba                         1.09
5 Stacey Peters (USA) T-Mobile                                1.39
6 Lauren Franges (USA) Victory Brewing                        1.41
7 Mari Holden (USA) T-Mobile                                  1.43
8 Catherine Powers (USA) La Grange                            1.44
9 Jenny Eyerman (USA) Red 5 Racing                            1.45
10 Erin Mirabella (USA) Red 5 Racing                          1.47
11 Nicole Demars (Can) Victory Brewing                        1.48
12 Meredith Miller (USA) SATS                                     
13 Audrey Lemieux (Can) Quark                                     
14 Felicia Greer (Can) Webcor Builders                        1.52
15 Hiroko Shimada (Jpn) MABRA                                 1.53
16 Karen Bockel (Ger) TDS/Schwalbe                            1.54
17 Laura Van Gilder (USA) Genesis Scuba                       1.56
18 Katherine Sherwin (USA) Kenda Tire                             
19 Stefanie Graeter (USA) Webcor Builders                     1.57
20 Kristin Johnson (USA) Basis                                1.58
21 Gabriella Gonzalez De Ferrat (Mex) Velo Bella                  
22 Mette Fischer-Andersen (Den) SATS                          2.02
23 Kristin Caldwell (USA) Morgan Stanley/Specialized          2.03
24 Emma Rickards (Aus) Victory Brewing                        2.20
25 Katherine Maher (USA) Basis                                2.21
26 Melissa Sanborn (USA) Wells Fargo Ragats                   2.29
27 Brenda Lyons (USA) Sycip/McGuire                           3.00
28 Rebecca Broeder (USA) Wells Fargo Ragats                   3.08
29 Christina Ruiter (USA) Basis                               3.12
30 Cindy Carroll (USA) Dewar's Racing                         3.14
31 Penny Avril (USA) Sycip/McGuire                            3.18
32 Michelle Beltran (USA) Red 5 Racing                        3.20
33 Kimberley Cunningham (USA) Morgan Stanley/Specialized      3.39
34 Christina Peick-Andersen (Den) SATS                        3.52
35 Megan Monroe (USA) TDS/Schwalbe                            4.05
36 Amy Moore (Can) Quark                                      4.22
37 Jane Despas (USA) Wells Fargo Ragats                       4.38
38 Jennifer Stevens (USA) Red 5 Racing                        4.52
39 Lara Kroepsch (USA) T-Mobile                               5.08
40 Bridget Evans (Aus) Dewar's Racing                         5.23
41 Anne Samplonius (Can) TDS/Schwalbe                         5.25
42 Rook Campbell (USA) Genesis Scuba                          6.12
43 Rebecca Much (USA) Acme Racing                             6.46
44 Catherine Malone (USA) Webcor Builders                     8.07
45 Pat Ross (USA) MABRA                                       8.14
46 Grace Fleury (USA) Genesis Scuba                           8.15
47 Beverley Harper (USA) LGBRC                                8.47
48 Sarah Bamberger (USA) Sycip/McGuire                       11.22
49 Shawn Heidgen (USA) TDS/Schwalbe                          11.23
50 Carla Hukee (USA) Kenda Tire                              12.25
51 Yukie Nakamura (Jpn) Dewar's Racing                       12.47
52 Kristin Durmm-Collins (USA) Morgan Stanley/Specialized    12.51
53 Nichole Wangsgard (USA) Acme Racing                       13.03
54 Christine Vardaros (USA) Velo Bella                            
55 Lisa Hunt (USA) Morgan Stanley/Specialized                13.25
56 Kate Landau (USA) LGBRC                                   13.37
57 Leah Tingley (USA) Acme Racing                            16.20
58 Laura Downey (USA) La Grange                              16.52
59 Martina Patella (USA) LGBRC                               17.17
60 Aimee Vasse (USA) MABRA                                   21.12
61 Troy Watson (USA) Dewar's Racing                          21.52