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Wachovia Cycling Series

USA, May 31-June 5, 2005

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Lancaster - May 31: Lancaster, PA, 147km

Health Net finds power in numbers

Dominguez leads Henderson to win in Lancaster

By Mark Zalewski in Lancaster, PA

The break with one to go
Photo ©: Jon Devich
Click for larger image

For the veteran North American racers, Philly week is the highlight of the racing calendar - one of a few opportunities to mix it up with the some of the top European teams on American soil. And while Sunday is the chance to race for the stars and stripes, the week kicks off with what many consider one of the hardest races on the calendar - the 147km circuit race through Lancaster. Featuring a technical course with one significant climb and a lot of undulation, the speed is always high and the attacks plentiful.

This year's edition was not an exception, with breaks turning into counter-attacks and again into more breaks. Finally, a select group of thirteen found itself on the front with many race favorites included - from Chris Horner (Saunier Duval-Prodir) to current USPRO champ Fred Rodriguez (Davitamon-Lotto), but all led by four Health Net/Maxxis riders. With nearly one-third of the break in Health Net's favour, the green machine held all the cards. Coming around for the final time, the four riders set up their mini lead-out train. Ivan Dominguez, fresh off a victory at the CSC Invitational last week, took his turn as the number two man, sending teammate Greg Henderson to the line with enough steam to stave-off a hard charging Fred Rodriguez. The remaining Health Net pair set such a blistering pace at the end that Dominguez had enough of a gap to hold on for third, giving Health Net two positions on the podium.

"I was the go-to guy," Henderson said as he rolled back to the podium to take his prize. "I've had some pretty good legs lately. I wanted to target this race."

Target this race Health Net did. "Coming across the radio who feels good, and we all felt good so [Corbett] said, 'Let's stick to the plan and lead Hendey out.' I had the good legs, and at about four hundred metres I was screaming at Ivan, 'GO GO GO!' I took off at two hundred metres and I dumped it into the eleven, and I was like, 'Oooooh, the eleven is quite big about now!'"

But the Kiwi sprinter dug hard to get over the rise and onto the straight to keep Rodriguez from coming around. "Coming into the last straight, Ivan put in a hard lead-out, and I was going to jump at 175 metres to go, but I hesitated, and I was in my 54x11 - once I hit 100 metres I was bouncing all over the road and couldn't get any speed. I kept thinking, 'I'm not gonna make it, I'm not gonna make it!' I threw my bike at the line and nope, I didn't get it."

John Lieswyn (Healthnet/Maxxis)
Photo ©: Jon Devich
Click for larger image

Rodriguez also had to roll the dice to decide who to follow in the end, knowing that Health Net had three riders who all could easily try for the sprint win - Wherry, Henderson and Dominguez. "I thought it was going to be Ivan, so though they would put in a little gap," Rodriguez explained. "I was talking to Horner, asking, 'Who are these guys going to lead-out 'cause I'm not sure here!' Chris [Wherry] was looking super-strong and I thought he's gotta attack. But he kept working and keeping it together. I thought I would just follow their lead-out train."

Rodriguez also had quite the opposite situation from Health Net, with the majority of his teammates sitting out today's race due to difficulties with travel from Europe. Rodriguez was luckily coming in from a rest at his home in California last week and was not delayed, but it left him with only two teammates and no team car. "We had some difficulties getting the team here from Europe - something like a thirty-five hour trip, so we decided to rest them [today] so they could be as strong as they can for Sunday."

Team CSC had only one rider in the final break in Allen Johansen, but had displayed a strong contingent of riders on the front for much of the day. "The whole team was so strong. But I think when [the final break] went away, we were maybe...not sleeping, but I actually thought we had two guys up front. But the whole team was strong on the hill; Bobby, Matt and me," said Lars Bak. "We gambled on [Johansen] in a group because Michaelsen is good but not that good, so we thought we would gamble on Alan.

When Cyclingnews asked what his thoughts of the Lancaster course, Bak replied, "It was a hard one! If it had been a hundred kilometres longer it would have been like a world championship course!"

How it unfolded

With no neutral section, the race got underway with a bang courtesy of CSC's Bobby Julich, setting a quick pace around the first two turns making sure the rest of the field knew they would be in for a long afternoon of racing. After that initial foreshadowing, the break attempts came like voting in Chicago - early, and of ten.

The first break of the day
Photo ©: Jon Devich
Click for larger image

As usual, it took a little bit of time before the right combination of riders meshed well with each other, and that the field considered it unimportant enough to give away time. This combination ended up being Russell Downing (recycling.co.uk / MG XPower / Litespeed), Doug Ollerenshaw (Health Net/Maxxis) and Richard England (Advantage Benefits/Endeavour). Ollerenshaw was not out for glory so much as taking up a marking position on the other two riders. Over the next few laps the trio crested the KOM and the sprint line in the same order, with an obvious agreement in place that Downing would take the KOM and England the sprint.

Eventually, Monex's Carlos Vargas made an attempt to bridge to the trio. Though it took him some time, the Colombian rider made it up to the break and recovered over the next lap. With the gap fluctuating, Ollerenshaw grabbed the initiative by taking maximum points over the KOM as the field began to get twitchy. This combined with multiple second places from previous laps gave the Health Net rider the KOM category lead.

Richard England had managed to keep on his toes coming into the sprint line each lap, hoping to gain enough points for the sprint win. "Everybody fought for the KOM but they pretty much let me have the sprints," said England. "So I just made sure I pulled strong turns up the home straight every lap and fortunately they let me have it." The young Australian rider has had a rough few weeks, battling a back injury that forced him out of last week's CSC Invitational. "I was a bit unsure how I was going to do today. I had to pull out of CSC because it was too painful." But after enough laps were in the books, his team manager Robbie Ventura knew he had the category locked and that all he needed do was finish the race.

The bunch closes in
Photo ©: Jon Devich
Click for larger image

After that, CSC got on the gas pedal and really brought the break back in a hurry, but not all the way. What was once more than a minute gap was now just twenty seconds. And while the lesser riders in the break were shed, new blood bridged the gap and increased the break, led by Health Net's John Lieswyn. Lieswyn powered up to the break on one of the small climbs on the course and just kept on going, with the other riders jumping out of the saddle to stay on his wheel.

Finally the Discovery Channel team, with last year's winner Max Van Heeswijk, decided to join the racing action, killing the break. But the counter attacks came more frequently now. Coming into the KOM after seeing five laps to go, CSC's Andy Schleck jumped off the front, causing the contenders to take notice. This resulted in the final break solidifying with the likes of Fred Rodriguez (Davitamon Lotto), Ivan Ravaioli and Chris Horner (Saunier Duval), Marco Marzano (Lampre-Caffita), Allen Johansen (CSC), Ivan Dominguez, Greg Henderson, John Lieswyn and Chris Wherry (Health Net), Karl Menzies and Frank Pipp (Advantage Benefits/Endeavour) and Danny Pate and Caleb Mannion (Jelly Belly).

Chris Horner picked up the pace into the town centre with four to go, and the gap that was just a few seconds exploded to over a minute in under two miles of racing. As the laps counted down, the gap grew to 1:25, with Health Net driving the pace. Back in the pack, it was Navigators doing a team time trial on the front.

Greg Henderson (Healthnet/Maxxis) throws his bike
Photo ©: Jon Devich
Click for larger image

But too little too late for the rest. Entering the last lap, the gap was still more than a minute. Over the KOM for the final climb the break waited for the eventual move. CSC's Allen Johansen gave a little extra effort over the climb, but not enough to open a gap. After the descent, it was Horner's turn to go. Fresh off a six-week recovery from a broken hip, the popular American rider couldn't get enough of a gap as the four Health Net riders took turns setting a fast pace, led by John Lieswyn and Chris Wherry.

Marco Marzano (Lampre Caffita) attempted a break of his own before the long stretches of road leading back to the technical finish area. But Health Net powered on, with Wherry setting the first leg of the lead-out. At six hundred metres Lieswyn took over, bringing the other two teammates and Rodriguez around the final two turns. At three hundred, Henderson gave his shout to Dominguez, and the rest was textbook.

Though the first half of the race wasn't a record-setting pace, Henderson knew that the finish would be flying. "Well the joke is, the slower we go now the faster we'll go later!"


For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here

Images by Jonathan Devich/epicimages.us

Images by Dennis Smith/www.dennisbike.com


1 Greg Henderson (NZl) Health Net - Maxxis                       3.21.28
2 Fred Rodriguez (USA) Davitamon Lotto                                  
3 Ivan Dominguez (Cub) Health Net - Maxxis                              
4 Karl Menzies (Aus) Advantage Endeavour                                
5 Ivan Ravaioli (Ita) Suanier Duval - Prodir                            
6 Chris Horner (USA) Suanier Duval - Prodir                             
7 Allen Johansen (Den) Team CSC                                         
8 Caleb Mannion, (Aus) Jelly Belly-Pool Gel                             
9 Ivan Stevic SCG Aerospace Engineering                                 
10 Frank Pipp (USA) Advantage Endeavour                             0.04
11 Marco Marzano (Ita) Lampre Caffita                                   
12 John Lieswyn (USA) Health Net - Maxxis                               
13 Chris Wherry (USA) Health Net - Maxxis                           0.17
14 Lars Bak (Den) Team CSC                                          1.34
15 Juan Jose Haedo (Arg) Colavita Olive Oil/Sutter Home     
16 Ben Brooks, (Aus) Jelly Belly-Pool Gel                               
17 Jonathan Page (USA) Colavita Olive Oil/Sutter Home       
18 Danny Pate (USA) Jelly Belly-Pool Gel                               
19 Deniele Colli (Ita) Liquigas-Bianchi                                 
20 Matti Breschel (Den) Team CSC                                        
21 Mark Walters (Can) Navigators Insurance                              
22 Erik Saunders (USA) McGuire Pro Cycling                              
23 Emile Abraham (Tri) Team Monex                                       
24 Lars Michaelsen (Den) Team CSC                                       
25 Mark Mccormack (USA) Colavita Olive Oil/Sutter Home      
26 Kirk Albers, (USA) Jelly Belly-Pool Gel                              
27 Mike Sayers (USA) Health Net - Maxxis                                
28 Gerrit Glomser (Aut) Lampre Caffita                                  
29 Max Vanheeswijk (Ned) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team             
30 Kyle Gritters (USA) Team Seasilver                                   
31 Chad Hartley (USA) TIAA CREF                                         
32 Glen Mitchell (NZl) Kodak Sierra Nevada                              
33 Cameron Hughes (Aus) Subway-Express                              1.40
34 Brice Jones, (USA) Jelly Belly-Pool Gel                              
35 Garret Peltonen (USA) Advantage Endeavour                            
36 Neil Shirley (USA) Team Seasilver                                    
37 Andy Schleck (Lux) Team CSC                                          
38 Curtis Gunn (USA) Team Seasilver                                     
39 Andreas Matzbacher (Aut) Lampre Caffita                              
40 Tim Johnson (USA) Jittery Joe's                                      
41 Eric Murphy (USA) Aerospace Engineering                              
42 Bobby Julich (USA) Team CSC                                          
43 Kirk O'Bee (USA) Navigators Insurance                                
44 Burke Swindlehurst (USA) Team Seasilver                          1.45
45 Francisco Ventoso (Spa) Suanier Duval - Prodir                       
46 Tyler Wren (USA) Colavita Olive Oil/Sutter Home          
47 Tim Larkin (USA) Kodak Sierra Nevada                                 
48 Dan Bowman (USA) TIAA CREF                                           
49 Stefano Barberi (Bra) TIAA CREF                                      
50 Ben Jacques-Maynes (USA) Kodak Sierra Nevada                         
51 Thomas Bruun Eriksen (Den) Team CSC                                  
52 Bruno Langlois (Can) Jittery Joe's                                   
53 Ciaran Power (Irl) Navigators Insurance                              
54 Gustavo Artacho (Arg) Colavita Olive Oil/Sutter Home     
55 Charles Dionne (Can) Webcor Cycling Team                             
56 Angel Gomez (Spa) Suanier Duval - Prodir                             
57 Roger Hammond (GBr) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team               
58 Kjell Carlstrom (Fin) Liquigas-Bianchi                               
59 Matej Mugerli (Slo) Liquigas-Bianchi                                 
60 Peter Baker (USA) Snow Valley - Seal On                              
61 Patrick Mccarty (USA) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team             
62 Mike Jones (USA) Health Net - Maxxis                                 
63 Alessandro Ballan (Ita) Lampre Caffita                               
64 Trent Lowe (Aus) Jittery Joe's                                       
65 James Mattis (USA) Webcor Cycling Team                               
66 Ruben Lobato (Spa) Suanier Duval - Prodir                        1.55
67 Aaron Olsen (USA) Colavita Olive Oil/Sutter Home     2.02
68 Geoff Kabush (Can) Jittery Joe's                                 2.14
69 Gordon Fraser (Can) Health Net - Maxxis                              
70 Victor Laza SCG Aerospace Engineering                            2.17
71 Doug Ollerenshaw (USA) Health Net - Maxxis                       2.39
72 Samuele Marzoli (Ita) Lampre Caffita                             3.58
73 Lief Hoste (Bel) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team              4.09
74 Jeff Louder (USA) Navigators Insurance                               
75 Matt Dubberly (USA) McGuire Pro Cycling                              
76 Richard England (Aus) Advantage Endeavour                        6.00
DNF Rashaan Bahati (USA) McGuire Pro Cycling                            
DNF Chris Baldwin (USA) Navigators Insurance                            
DNF Jason Bausch (USA) Team Seasilver                                   
DNF Fumyuki Beppu (Jpn) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team              
DNF Aaron Brown (USA) NERAC.COM                                         
DNF Clemente Cavaliere (Ita) Aerospace Engineering                      
DNF David Clinger (USA) Webcor Cycling Team                             
DNF Mark Collard (USA) Webcor Cycling Team                              
DNF Todd Cornelius (USA) Subway-Express                                 
DNF Michael Creed (USA) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team              
DNF Ari De Wilde (USA) NERAC.COM                                        
DNF John Delong (USA) Snow Valley - Seal On                             
DNF Christopher Deluise (USA) Aerospace Engineering                     
DNF Wim Devocht (Bel) Davitamon Lotto                                   
DNF Ryan Dewald (USA) Snow Valley - Seal On                             
DNF Bart Dockx (Bel) Davitamon Lotto                                    
DNF Dean Downing (GBr) recycling.co.uk / MG XPower / Litespeed                              
DNF Russell Downing (GBr) recycling.co.uk / MG XPower / Litespeed                           
DNF Tim Duggan (USA) TIAA CREF                                          
DNF Thad Dulin (USA) Jittery Joe's                                      
DNF Patrick Dunaway (USA) McGuire Pro Cycling                           
DNF Evan Elken (USA) Jittery Joe's                                      
DNF Lucas Euser (USA) Webcor Cycling Team                               
DNF Glenn Fant (USA) Team Monex                                         
DNF Davide Frattini (Ita) Colavita Olive Oil/Sutter Home    
DNF Chris Frederick (USA) Aerospace Engineering                         
DNF Mariano Friedick, (USA) Jelly Belly-Pool Gel                        
DNF Will Frischkorn (USA) TIAA CREF                                     
DNF Nick Gates (Aus) Davitamon Lotto                                    
DNF Hayden Godfrey (NZl) Kodak Sierra Nevada                            
DNF Josh Goodwin (USA) Team Monex                                       
DNF Ben Greenwood (GBr) recycling.co.uk / MG XPower / Litespeed                             
DNF Oleg Grishkine (Rus) Navigators Insurance                           
DNF Ben Haldeman (USA) Webcor Cycling Team                              
DNF Russell Hamby (USA) Kodak Sierra Nevada                             
DNF John Hanson (USA) NERAC.COM                                         
DNF Rob Hayles (GBr) recycling.co.uk / MG XPower / Litespeed                               
DNF Todd Herriott (USA) Colavita Olive Oil/Sutter Home      
DNF Eddy Hilger (USA) Advantage Endeavour                               
DNF Adam Hodges Myerson (USA) NERAC.COM                                 
DNF Andy Jacques-Maynes (USA) Webcor Cycling Team                       
DNF Omer Kem (USA) Subway-Express                                       
DNF Michael Lange (USA) TIAA CREF                                       
DNF Russell Langley (USA) Snow Valley - Seal On                         
DNF Craig Lewis (USA) TIAA CREF                                         
DNF Benjamin Linsday (USA) Snow Valley - Seal On                        
DNF Adam Livingston (USA) Team Seasilver                                
DNF Sterling Magnell (USA) Team Monex                                   
DNF Paul Manning (GBr) recycling.co.uk / MG XPower / Litespeed                              
DNF Nico Mattan (Bel) Davitamon Lotto                                   
DNF Remi Mcmanus (USA) Subway-Express                                   
DNF Gennady Mikhaylov (Rus) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team          
DNF Nathan Miller (USA) Team Monex                                      
DNF Hugh Moran (USA) Aerospace Engineering                              
DNF Manuele Mori (Ita) Suanier Duval - Prodir                           
DNF Mike Norton (USA) NERAC.COM                                         
DNF David O'loughlin (Irl) Navigators Insurance                         
DNF Nathan O'neill (Aus) Navigators Insurance                           
DNF Evan Oliphant (GBr) recycling.co.uk / MG XPower / Litespeed                             
DNF Luciano Pagliarini (Bra) Liquigas-Bianchi                           
DNF Dario Pieri (Ita) Lampre Caffita                                    
DNF Oscar Pineda (Gua) NERAC.COM                                        
DNF Marco Pinotti (Ita) Suanier Duval - Prodir                          
DNF Cody Powell (USA) NERAC.COM                                         
DNF Jeremy Powers, (USA) Jelly Belly-Pool Gel                           
DNF Daniel Ramsey (USA) Team Seasilver                                  
DNF Geoff Rapaport (USA) McGuire Pro Cycling                            
DNF Matty Rice, (Aus) Jelly Belly-Pool Gel                              
DNF David Richter (USA) Subway-Express                                  
DNF Marco Righetto (Ita) Liquigas-Bianchi                               
DNF Jake Rytlewski (USA) Advantage Endeavour                            
DNF Brian Sheedy (USA) Advantage Endeavour                              
DNF Bryan Smith (USA) TIAA CREF                                         
DNF Shaun Snodden (GBr) recycling.co.uk / MG XPower / Litespeed                             
DNF Jackson Stewart (USA) Kodak Sierra Nevada                           
DNF Jonny Sundt (USA) Jittery Joe's                                     
DNF Joshua Taylor (USA) Snow Valley - Seal On                           
DNF Bernard Van Ulden (USA) Webcor Cycling Team                         
DNF Jurgen Vandenbroek (Bel) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team         
DNF Kevin Vanes (USA) Subway-Express                                    
DNF Carlos Vargas (Col) Team Monex                                      
DNF Devon Vigus (USA) McGuire Pro Cycling                               
DNF Hank Vogels (Aus) Davitamon Lotto                                   
DNF Zach Walker (USA) McGuire Pro Cycling                               
DNF David Werling (USA) NERAC.COM                                       
DNF Craig Wilcox (USA) Jittery Joe's                                    
DNF Ryan Yee (USA) Team Seasilver                                       
DNF Robbie Yost (USA) Subway-Express                                    
DNF Marco Zanotti (Ita) Liquigas-Bianchi                                
DNF Scott Zwizanski (USA) Kodak Sierra Nevada                           

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