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Wachovia Cycling Series
USA, May 31-June 5, 2005
Trenton - June 2: Trenton, NJ, 147km
Health Net makes it two in Trenton
Julich and CSC clear the pipes for Sunday
By Mark Zalewski in Trenton, NJ
Bobby Julich may not have come to Trenton today to win, but he sure put on a good show for the crowds and his CSC sponsors. The veteran American pro rolled off the front of a fifteen rider break to go after a prime and just kept going with only Mark McCormack (Colavita Olive Oil/Sutter Home) coming along. "I wasn't here to win the race," admitted Julich. "Obviously it's going to come down to the sprint every year. I was just here to empty the tanks a little bit to get ready for Sunday -- blow out the pipes."
After leading for half the race, the duo was finally caught by the quick-moving field with the sprinters all shuffling for the usual Trenton mad-dash to the line. In this shuffle was the green-clad sprinters from Health Net as well as USPRO champion Fred Rodriguez (Davitamon-Lotto) led by his lead-out specialist Henk Vogels. These two battled down the final straight with Vogels launching Rodriguez to the line. Unfortunately for the U.S. champ, the Canadian champ Gord Fraser was close behind, choosing to crash the Davitamon-Lotto lead-out instead of relying on his team.
"When you have one of the best lead-out men with one of the best sprinters in the world, that was the best place to be," said Fraser. "I just abandoned the rest of my team and it paid off. I actually gave Fred a bike length just so I could have a run-up on him before I made a move into the wind. I was fortunate to get around Fred, which isn't the easiest thing to do." Fraser came across the line with hands raised while Rodriguez held on for second followed by a strong finish from Lars Michaelson (CSC).
The winning conditions for Fraser were polar opposites from his win here back in 2000. "The difference was back in 2002 it was pouring rain and the conditions were horrible -- the course was shortened after a traffic fatality -- it was quite an evening of racing. Today was beautiful weather, they actually repaved some of the roads!"
Finishing as a bridesmaid again this week was Rodriguez. "I didn't actually expect Health Net to do the majority of the lead-out, because they got stuck with the majority of the work chasing, so I knew it was going to be a scattered lead-out. My team was still suffering from jet lag -- they tried to chase early on but blew up, so Henk and I were left to see what happened -- he even tried attacking at one point on the hill to try to bring [the break] back."
But Davitamon-Lotto did not have enough clubs in the bag today with Vogels spending so much energy on the final lap. "For the lead out, Henk was really motivated for this week -- he had a good Giro helping Robbie McEwen, and he really wanted to help me today and Sunday," said Rodriguez. "Towards the finale he did the majority of the work for me -- he basically piloted me around the last lap, wasting a lot of energy. I think we needed one more guy to get Henk up to speed. When I jumped I saw Gord jump around me and I wasn't able to get up the speed enough to pass him. As soon as he came by me he had a lot more speed than I did."
Interestingly, Fraser was not the chosen sprinter for the day. Before the race, he told Cyclingnews that he was not feeling one hundred percent, and that the team would be working for one of the other three strong sprinters. "We were going to set-up Ivan Dominguez, but he told me he wasn't feeling well," explained Fraser. So with a quarter-lap to go he was setting tempo on the front for me. It's a nice luxury to have all these cards to play."
Rounding the final few turns, Fraser had a decision to make -- follow his lead-out train, being led by the young Tyler Farrar or dump the plan and stick to Fast Freddy's wheel. "Tyler was actually on Fred's wheel in the last corner and I just asked him if I could have it. And being the youngster that he is he gave me the best spot behind Freddy, because he had Henk Vogels ahead of him."
Fast Freddy had high regards for the domestic squad of Health Net. "When it comes to a sprint team, Health Net has one of the best sprint teams. If they could race in a Pro Tour level, in a race like this, I would say they would be really competitive."
How it unfolded
The predictive Trenton race held true to form for the first parts of the race, with many little breaks trying to gain some time on the field. But with such a flat and fast course, the strong teams had no problem shutting down anything that didn't mesh with their plans.
Finally with less than ten laps to go, fifteen riders rode off the front through the feed zone. This large contingent was comprised of just about every major team in the race -- and therefore the field gave little effort to chasing this move down. Of particular note in this group was Bobby Julich and Andy Schleck (CSC), former USPRO champ Mark McCormack and Arron Olsen (Colavita Olive Oil/Sutter Home), John Lieswyn (Health Net) and Leif Hoste (Discovery Channel) among others.
"It was a long breakaway," said McCormack. "At first I thought that the big group was just going to keep rolling around and around. "With the primes and the hill some guys would miss holding the wheels. Bobby jumped pretty hard for a prime one lap -- I couldn't tell if he was just going for a prime because he got a pretty substantial gap, so I went across -- I got there and he and I just committed to the effort."
Julich, coming off a five week break from racing, was antsy to get some good training laps in before Sunday. "The prime motivated me to do an interval, and then I looked back and saw only Mark coming up and decided to drill it because I didn't like how big the breakaway was," said Julich. "I told Mark we had to hit them on the hill and get the group a little smaller because some guys were just happy to be there and some guys thinking tactical. Honestly, I'm just too old to be thinking tactics so I just wanted to go full gas and get ready for Sunday."
The two riders pushed their lead to more than two minutes as the rest of the break turned into a chase group. Then the officials got involved -- but not in a good way. A miscalculation by the officials caused the lap cards to be miscounted, and the break was shown three to go when the officials thought it should have been four. "What really killed us was with three laps to go, the official came up to us and said they added a lap back into the race, so you should have had four to go," said McCormack. "So Bobby and I were like there is no way we could do that. We were calibrating our effort for what we had. They told us in the park, so by the time we got all the way around they showed two to go, and we started going again. But by then the gap was down, and it motivates the field to go a little harder."
Even though Julich knew he was unlikely to win, he was still annoyed with the problems. "They corrected it, but that's just amateur to tell a breakaway they have one more lap than they should and to change it back again -- and let all these cars on the course. It totally killed our momentum. For three quarters of a lap there Mark and I were like screw it. Then they told us it is two to go.... but what can you do, that's racing."
With new life, the field inched closer to the pair. "For three-quarters of a lap Mark and I were just soft pedaling, we were very upset that they would mess up the lap cards," said Julich. "Then they came back and said it was two laps to go -- and that definitely let a let a little air out of the balloon." The two managed to hold off the pack into the last lap, but damage was already done.
"I thought the break was going to work, until I saw Bobby and Mark get away," said Rodriguez. "As soon as I saw that I knew it was going disintegrate, because there were too many teams that were going to lose out." Into the final turns the sprinters took over and with Fraser moving into position behind the Davitamon-Lotto mini-train. Down the stretch it was Fraser able to jump out of the field at the right moment to take the repeat win away from Rodriguez. "I really didn't have the time to wind it up," admitted Rodriguez. "The best man won today."
For Bobby Julich and CSC, the chips seems to be falling into place nicely -- for Sunday and beyond -- though he admits that it will hardly be a walk in the park. "Unfortunately the USPRO falls at a really bad time in my calendar, coming off of five weeks of no racing -- four weeks in the mountains training in altitude where the weather wasn't super this year -- I didn't get exactly the sort of training I wanted to get. After a tough spring I needed a break. But that jersey is always important for an American rider and I know I am not getting any younger so it is important take my chance when I can. But I have to let the cards fall where they may, to win the jersey would be fantastic and an absolute dream, but my plans are a little farther down the road with the Tour and after."
Nonetheless, CSC's directeur sportif Scott Sunderland is happy with the effort and results from today. "Today we just wanted to open up the legs and see how his fitness was. And I think it's pretty well clear that he is in shape. But Sunday is a long day too, 250 kilometers with a climb every lap." And when asked by Cyclingnews if he felt Bobby would end up winning the sprint competition today, Sunderland joked, "I don't think he was sprinting for it, I just think he was rolling over the line at the right time!"
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Jonathan Devich/epicimages.us
Images by Don Varley/www.cquad.com
Images by Dennis Smith/www.dennisbike.com
1 Gordon Fraser (Can) Health Net - Maxxis 2.57.59 2 Fred Rodriguez (USA) Davitamon Lotto 3 Lars Michaelsen (Den) Team CSC 4 Roger Hammond (GBr) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team 5 Tyler Farrar (USA) Health Net - Maxxis 6 Chris Horner (USA) Suanier Duval - Prodir 7 Alex Candelario (USA) Jelly Belly-Pool Gel 8 Ivan Stevic (Scg) Aerospace Engineering 9 Rashaan Bahati (USA) McGuire Pro Cycling 10 Marco Zanotti (Ita) Liquigas-Bianchi 11 Greg Henderson (NZl) Health Net - Maxxis 12 Vassili Davidenko (Rus) Navigators Insurance 13 Emile Abraham (Tri) Team Monex 14 Ciaran Power (Irl) Navigators Insurance 15 Charles Dionne (Can) Webcor Cycling Team 16 Hank Vogels (Aus) Davitamon Lotto 17 Sebastian Alexandre (Arg) Colavita / Sutter Home 18 Jackson Stewart (USA) Kodak Sierra Nevada 19 Kyle Wamsley (USA) Snow Valley - Seal On 20 Manuele Mori (Ita) Suanier Duval - Prodir 21 Luciano Pagliarini (Bra) Liquigas-Bianchi 22 Oleg Grichkine (Rus) Navigators Insurance 23 Karl Menzies (Aus) Advantage Endeavour 24 Jeff Hopkins (Aus) Jittery Joe's 25 Russell Hamby (USA) Kodak Sierra Nevada 26 Kyle Gritters (USA) Team Seasilver 27 Evan Oliphant (GBr) recycling.co.uk/MG-XPower/Litespeed 28 Sterling Magnell (USA) Team Monex 29 Brian Sheedy, (USA) Advantage Endeavour 30 Kirk Albers (USA) Jelly Belly-Pool Gel 31 Chad Hartley (USA) TIAA CREF 32 Marty Nothstein (USA) Navigators Insurance 33 Juan Jose Haedo (Arg) Colavita / Sutter Home 34 Gustavo Artacho (Arg) Colavita / Sutter Home 35 Carlos Vargas (Col) Team Monex 36 Russell Downing (GBr) recycling.co.uk/MG-XPower/Litespeed 37 David O-Loughlin (Irl) Navigators Insurance 38 Jonathan Dewald (USA) Snow Valley - Seal On 39 Curtis Gunn (USA) Team Seasilver 40 Cameron Hughes (Aus) Subway-Express 41 Adam Hodges Myerson (USA) NERAC.COM 42 Marco Righetto (Ita) Liquigas-Bianchi 43 David Richter (USA) Subway-Express 44 Thomas Bruun Eriksen (Den) Team CSC 45 Jason Bausch (USA) Team Seasilver 46 Ryan McKenzie (Can) Subway-Express 47 Daniele Colli (Ita) Liquigas-Bianchi 48 Matti Breschel (Den) Team CSC 49 Max Vanheeswijk (Ned) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team 50 Samuele Marzoli (Ita) Lampre Caffita 51 Geoff Kabush (Can) Jittery Joe's 52 Nico Mattan (Bel) Davitamon Lotto 53 Fumyuki Beppu (Jpn) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team 54 Gerrit Glomser (Aut) Lampre Caffita 55 Ben Haldeman (USA) Webcor Cycling Team 56 Marco Marzano (Ita) Lampre Caffita 57 Clemente Cavaliere (Ita) Aerospace Engineering 58 Nathan Miller (USA) Team Monex 59 John Lieswyn (USA) Health Net - Maxxis 60 Lars Bak (Den) Team CSC 61 Matej Mugerli (Slo) Liquigas-Bianchi 62 Kjell Carlstrom (Fin) Liquigas-Bianchi 63 Jake Rytlewski, (USA) Advantage Endeavour 64 Frank Pipp (USA) Advantage Endeavour 65 Wim Devocht (Bel) Davitamon Lotto 66 Bart Dockx (Bel) Davitamon Lotto 67 Andy Schleck (Lux) Team CSC 68 Jason Allen (NZl) McGuire Pro Cycling 69 Ben Brooks (Aus) Jelly Belly-Pool Gel 70 Todd Herriott (USA) Colavita / Sutter Home 71 Patrick McCarty (USA) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team 72 Richard England (Aus) Advantage Endeavour 73 Jonny Sundt (USA) Jittery Joe's 74 Tim Johnson (USA) Jittery Joe's 75 Alessandro Ballan (Ita) Lampre Caffita 76 Glenn Fant (USA) Team Monex 77 Bryan Smith (USA) TIAA CREF 78 Bobby Julich (USA) Team CSC 79 Dan Bowman (USA) TIAA CREF 80 Kirk O'Bee (USA) Navigators Insurance 81 Ryan Dewald (USA) Snow Valley - Seal On 82 Danny Pate (USA) Jelly Belly-Pool Gel 83 Devon Vigus (USA) McGuire Pro Cycling 84 Colin Beardsley (USA) McGuire Pro Cycling 85 Scott Zwizanski (USA) Kodak Sierra Nevada 86 Remi McManus (USA) Subway-Express 87 Marc Collard (USA) Webcor Cycling Team 88 Bernard Van Ulden (USA) Webcor Cycling Team 89 Gert Steegmans (Bel) Davitamon Lotto 90 James Mattis (USA) Webcor Cycling Team 91 Brice Jones (USA) Jelly Belly-Pool Gel 92 Tim Duggan (USA) TIAA CREF 93 Mike Norton (USA) NERAC.COM 94 Todd Cornelius (USA) Subway-Express 95 Josh Carter (USA) Subway-Express 96 Allen Johansen (Den) Team CSC 97 Chris Wherry (USA) Health Net - Maxxis 98 Ivan Dominguez (Cub) Health Net - Maxxis 99 Eddy Hilger (USA) Advantage Endeavour 100 Tim Larkin (USA) Kodak Sierra Nevada 101 Francisco Ventoso (Spa) Suanier Duval - Prodir 102 Erik Saunders (USA) McGuire Pro Cycling 103 Siro Camponogara (Ita) Navigators Insurance 104 Adam Livingston (USA) Team Seasilver 105 Lucas Euser (USA) Webcor Cycling Team 0.37 106 John Kelly (USA) Webcor Cycling Team 107 Peter Baker (USA) Snow Valley - Seal On 108 Trent Lowe (Aus) Jittery Joe's 109 Craig Lewis (USA) TIAA CREF 110 Chris Frederick (USA) Aerospace Engineering 111 John Delong (USA) Snow Valley - Seal On 112 Lief Hoste (Bel) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team 113 Josh Goodwin (USA) Team Monex 0.46 114 Jonathan Page (USA) Colavita / Sutter Home 115 Ivan Ravaioli (Ita) Suanier Duval - Prodir 116 Ruben Lobato (Spa) Suanier Duval - Prodir 117 Mark McCormack (USA) Colavita / Sutter Home 0.56 118 David McCook (USA) Jelly Belly-Pool Gel 1.08 119 Glen Mitchell (NZl) Kodak Sierra Nevada 120 Paul Manning (GBr) recycling.co.uk/MG-XPower/Litespeed 1.18 121 Aaron Olsen (USA) Colavita / Sutter Home 122 Andy Jacques-Maynes (USA) Webcor Cycling Team 1.53 123 Shawn Milne (USA) Navigators Insurance 1.56 124 Matt Dubberley (USA) McGuire Pro Cycling 125 Zach Walker (USA) McGuire Pro Cycling 126 Hayden Godfrey (NZl) Kodak Sierra Nevada 2.06 127 Michael Creed (USA) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team 128 Matty Rice (Aus) Jelly Belly-Pool Gel 2.19 129 Rob Hayles (GBr) recycling.co.uk/MG-XPower/Litespeed 130 Caleb Mannion (Aus) Jelly Belly-Pool Gel 2.34 131 Davide Frattini (Ita) Colavita / Sutter Home 2.44 132 Brent Brookwalter, (USA) Advantage Endeavour 2.47 133 Ben Greenwood (GBr) recycling.co.uk/MG-XPower/Litespeed DNF Michael Beers (USA) Snow Valley - Seal On DNF Aaron Brown (USA) NERAC.COM DNF Nathaniel Cornelius (USA) Subway-Express DNF Ari De Wilde (USA) NERAC.COM DNF Christopher Deluise (USA) Aerospace Engineering DNF Thad Dulin (USA) Jittery Joe's DNF Evan Elken (USA) Jittery Joe's DNF Peter Femal (USA) Subway-Express DNF Roberto Gaggioli (Ita) Team Monex DNF Angel Gomez (Spa) Suanier Duval - Prodir DNF Zachary Grabowski (USA) TIAA CREF DNF John Hanson (USA) NERAC.COM DNF Ben Jacques-Maynes (USA) Kodak Sierra Nevada DNF Mike Jones (USA) Health Net - Maxxis DNF Roman Kilun (USA) McGuire Pro Cycling DNF Michael Lange (USA) TIAA CREF DNF Russell Langley (USA) Snow Valley - Seal On DNF Jesse Lawler (USA) Jittery Joe's DNF Victor Laza (Scg) Aerospace Engineering DNF Andreas Matzbacher (Aut) Lampre Caffita DNF Gennady Mikhaylov (Rus) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team DNF Hugh Moran (USA) Aerospace Engineering DNF Eric Murphy (USA) Aerospace Engineering DNF Garret Peltonen (USA) Advantage Endeavour 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 Daniel Ramsey (USA) Team Seasilver DNF Mike Sayers (USA) Health Net - Maxxis DNF Neil Shirley (USA) Team Seasilver DNF Shaun Snodden (GBr) recycling.co.uk/MG-XPower/Litespeed DNF Burke Swindlehurst (USA) Team Seasilver DNF Zachary Taylor (USA) TIAA CREF DNF Jurgen Vandenbroeck (Bel) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team DNF David Werling (USA) NERAC.COM DNF Ryan Yee (USA) Team Seasilver