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Photo ©: Bettini

Nature Valley Grand Prix - NE

Minnesota, USA, June 20-24, 2007

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Stage 1 - June 20: St Paul Criterium, 60 mins

Stevic and Cheatley take early lead

By Kirsten Robbins in St. Paul, Minnesota

Ivan Stevic (Toyota United) celebrates
Photo ©: Matthew Moses
(Click for larger image)

The 2007 Nature Valley Grand Prix kicked off with a blazing fast criterium, a change from last year's individual time trial opener. Toyota-Untied stretched its legs in the last four laps of the 60 minute timed event and brought Serbian national champion Ivan Stevic to another career win. Stevic has become known for his uphill sprint finishes, but his victory didn't come with out a fight from second place Kirk O'Bee (Health Net) and the third placed local hero Jonathan Page (Nature Valley).

Though Stevic crashed at the race's midway he it clearly had no barring on his performance during the final laps. "I crashed half way to go and I'm starting to feel the pain now," Stevic said after his podium appearance. "But I will find out tomorrow how I'm really feeling - nothing a beer won't cure."

The brand new course offered a little for everyone, with a gradual incline on the last half, through the start/finish and a shallow gradient around the backside of the course. Its L-shape became technical due to the large numbers in this year's peloton, but after several attacks the high speeds kept the race safe. "The course was not that bad, it was a big field and a lot of guys with some who didn't seem to know what they were doing," said Stevic. "There was bumpy pavement on the long straight before the last corner and it was still going up to the finish line. That was the hardest part but I like an uphill finish so it was perfect for me."

Many attacks came out of the field and several disorganized breakaways slipped off the front only to come back seconds later to an active field. It was quickly apparent that no break would succeed to the finish and Toyota-United rallied at front to shut out any chance of a last lap flyer. "The guys took control with four laps to go to start a lead out for me and it was easy from there," Stevic said, admitting his team played on the circuit's technical attributes. "Basically it was too hard to move around on this kind of course so we did a perfect job being at the front first."

While realizing that there are many difficult stages approaching, Stevic said he would love to hold onto the leader's jersey through to criterium in Stillwater. "It was one of our plans to have me in the leader's jersey and we will see how it goes from one day to the next," he said. "We have a strong team and we plan on keeping the jersey. We also have more than one card to play."

Catherine Cheatley (Cheerwine)
Photo ©: Kurt Jambretz
(Click for larger image)

The women's race proved to be a tactical affair, after a break of eight riders separated from the field after the Queen of the Mountain hot spot, 35 minutes into the 65 minute event. The break was bound tight and determined to make it to the finish line ahead of the field but wound up chasing one escapee, Cheerwine's Catherine Cheatley. The New Zealand rider attacked the break on the last lap to solo into a stage victory and the early leader's jersey. Local heros Shelley Olds (ProMan) and Theresa Moriarty (Flanders) gave the crowd something to cheer about, taking second and third places respectively.

"I really enjoyed it. It was really fast," said Cheatley. "We were lucky. We had two riders in the break and one of the strongest riders in the field."

The first half of the race was marred with several crashes on the second to last corner. The crashes were generally caused by the field coming through a little too fast out desperation to hang on to TEAm Lipton's strength at the front of the field.

Several attacks broke loose and came back, but only an attack by world time trial champion Kristin Armstrong (Lipton) was strong enough to snap away from field. Armstrong made her move after an intermediate sprint after the half way point. Seven other riders followed Armstrong's lead, including Canadian time trial and road champion Alex Wrubleski (Colavita/Sutter Home) Stacey Marple (Tibco), Felicia Gomez (Aarons) Leigh Hobson and her teammate/stage winner Cheatley along with Olds and Moriarty who round out the podium.

"When I looked at the [breakaway] group it was to my advantage to really work," said Armstrong. "I wasn't really concerned with finishing in the top three, just because I knew that in the group there were a bunch of sprinters."

Webcor made a huge effort at the front
Photo ©: Kurt Jambretz
(Click for larger image)

Leigh Hobson commented on the efforts of the riders in the break that helped them secure the gap to the finish. "It was started by Kristin Armstrong and her along with Alex drove it until the gap was big enough," Hobson admitted. "After the gap started growing, people became committed and others started working too."

One team not present in the break was Webcor Builders, which found itself in a mad chase to reduce the time gap before the finish. Webcor's Rachael Heal commented on the squad's absence in the break as being a case of underestimating the likely hood of a break succeeding. "We missed the break which was not ideal but on a race like this we didn't panic right away because ewe though it would come back," Heal said. "But after a few laps we realized it was going to stay away. It was a race that was hard to move up because it would string out and bunch in the corners."

Webcor Builders gathered more and more of its riders to help in the chase, but that was not enough to bring them back before the end. "There were individual riders who would help a little and we thought the gap was being reduced but with one lap to go it was up to 25 seconds," continued Heal. "Lipton was patrolling the bunch to make sure none of us actually got away. But, none of us felt like we had the legs to try to bridge today."

Cheatley attacked on the last lap while almost simultaneously Wrubleski crashed on the second to last corner.


For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here

Images by Kurt Jambretz/www.actionimages.cc

Images by Matthew Moses/www.moses-images.com


Pro men

1 Ivan Stevic (SCG) Toyota - United Pro Cycling Team                59.24
2 Kirk O'Bee (USA) Health Net p/b Maxxis                                 
3 Jonathan Page (USA) Nature Valley Racing Team                          
4 Henk Vogels (Aus) Toyota - United Pro Cycling Team                     
5 Rory Sutherland (Aus) Health Net p/b Maxxis                            
6 Evan Elken (USA) The Jittery Joe's Pro Cycling Team                    
7 Cesar Augusto Grajales (Col) The Jittery Joe's Pro Cycling Team        
8 Phil Zajicek (USA) Navigators Insurance Cycling Team                   
9 Carlos Alzate (Col) Colombian National Team                            
10 Matt Rice (Aus) Jelly Belly Cycling Team                              
11 Frank Pipp (USA) Health Net p/b Maxxis                                
12 Darren Lill (RSA) Navigators Insurance Cycling Team                   
13 Martin Gilbert (Can) Kelly Benefit Strategies - Medifast              
14 Caleb Manion (Aus) Toyota - United Pro Cycling Team                   
15 Neil Shirley (USA) The Jittery Joe's Pro Cycling Team                 
16 Nathan O'Neill (Aus) Health Net p/b Maxxis                            
17 Jackson Stewart (USA) BMC Professional Cycling Team                   
18 John Murphy (USA) Health Net p/b Maxxis                               
19 Jeff Hopkins (Aus) The Jittery Joe's Pro Cycling Team                 
20 Jonathan Sundt (USA) Kelly Benefit Strategies - Medifast              
21 Chad Hartley (USA) BMC Professional Cycling Team                      
22 Bjorn Sealander (USA) VMG Racing                                      
23 Ulrich DeYoung (USA) Hagens Berman, LLP                               
24 Ken Hanson (USA) BMC Professional Cycling Team                        
25 Bernard Van Ulden (USA) Navigators Insurance Cycling Team             
26 Ben Jacques-Maynes (USA) Priority Health Cycling Team p/b Bissell     
27 James Meadley (Aus) Jelly Belly Cycling Team                          
28 Kristian House (GBr) Navigators Insurance Cycling Team                
29 Chris Wherry (USA) Toyota - United Pro Cycling Team                   
30 Justin England (USA) Toyota - United Pro Cycling Team                 
31 Juan Pablo Forero Carreno (Col) Colombian National Team               
32 Bill Stolte (USA) HRRC / Trek Stores                                  
33 Adam Bergman (USA) Colavita - Sutter Home p/b Cooking Light           
34 Steve Tilford (USA) HRRC / Trek Stores                                
35 Jeff Louder (USA) Health Net p/b Maxxis                               
36 Morgan Schmitt (USA) Priority Health Cycling Team p/b Bissell         
37 Dan Schmatz (USA) BMC Professional Cycling Team                       
38 Peter Hatton (Aus) Colavita - Sutter Home p/b Cooking Light           
39 Dan Bowman (USA) Kelly Benefit Strategies - Medifast                  
40 Matthew Shriver (USA) The Jittery Joe's Pro Cycling Team              
41 Mike Olheiser (USA) Nature Valley Racing Team                         
42 Scott Zwizanski (USA) Priority Health Cycling Team p/b Bissell        
43 Tim Johnson (USA) Health Net p/b Maxxis                               
44 David Veilleux (Can) The Jittery Joe's Pro Cycling Team               
45 Daniel Vaillancourt (USA) Colavita - Sutter Home p/b Cooking Light    
46 Andy Bajadali (USA) Jelly Belly Cycling Team                          
47 Edward King (USA) Priority Health Cycling Team p/b Bissell            
48 Matt Cooke (USA) Navigators Insurance Cycling Team                    
49 Christopher Baldwin (USA) Toyota - United Pro Cycling Team            
50 Richard England (Aus) Priority Health Cycling Team p/b Bissell        
51 Anthony Colby (USA) Colavita - Sutter Home p/b Cooking Light          
52 Michael Cody (USA) Jelly Belly Cycling Team                           
53 Whitey DeBroux (USA) Team Einstein's Cycling                          
54 Matt Brandt (USA) Wheel and Sprocket                                  
55 Jose Serpa (Col) Colombian National Team                              
56 Roman Kilun (USA) Health Net p/b Maxxis                               
57 Alex Boyd (USA) VMG Racing                                            
58 Brian Jensen (USA) HRRC / Trek Stores                                 
59 Sean Sullivan (Aus) Toyota - United Pro Cycling Team                  
60 Sheldon Denny (USA) VMG Racing                                        
61 Andy Guptill (USA) Colavita - Sutter Home p/b Cooking Light           
62 Alexander Gonzalez (Col) Colombian National Team                      
63 David McCann (Irl) Colavita - Sutter Home p/b Cooking Light           
64 Adam Froemming (USA) MBRC/Flanders                                    
65 Austin King (USA) The Jittery Joe's Pro Cycling Team                  
66 Heath Blackgrove (NZl) Toyota - United Pro Cycling Team               
67 Garrett Peltonen (USA) Priority Health Cycling Team p/b Bissell       
68 Jonathan Parrish (USA) Team Waste Management                          
69 Matt Cianciulli (USA) Team Einstein's Cycling                         
70 Stefan Rothe (USA) Nature Valley Racing Team                          
71 David Rodriquez (USA) Navigators Insurance Cycling Team               
72 Scott Stewart (USA) VMG Racing                                        
73 Jaior Perez (Col) Colombian National Team                             
74 Ryan Hamity (USA) Team Einstein's Cycling                             
75 Ryan Baumann (USA) ABD Cycling Team                                   
76 Ronald Jensen (USA) Team Waste Management                             
77 Nick Waite (USA) Kelly Benefit Strategies - Medifast                  
78 Andrew Fischer (USA) Hagens Berman, LLP                               
79 Jarred Berger (USA) Team Einstein's Cycling                           
80 Christian Kearney (USA) BPG/ Montano Velo                             
81 Michael Wolf (USA) Navigators Insurance Cycling Team                  
82 Graham Howard (USA) Priority Health Cycling Team p/b Bissell          
83 Jeff Schroetlin (USA) ABD Cycling Team                                
84 Ian Stanford (USA) Abercrombie & Fitch Pro Development                
85 Corey Collier (USA) Team Einstein's Cycling                           
86 Clark Priebe (USA) All9Yards.com Cycling Team                         
87 Omer Kem (USA) Priority Health Cycling Team p/b Bissell               
88 Shane Braley (USA) Wheel and Sprocket                                 
89 Arles Castro (Col) Colombian National Team                            
90 Ryan Roth (Can) Kelly Benefit Strategies - Medifast               0.29
91 Sam Johnson (USA) Hagens Berman, LLP                              0.34
92 Adrian Hegyvery (USA) Hagens Berman, LLP                              
93 Peter Salon (USA) VMG Racing                                      0.43
94 Pete Hanna (USA) Bianchi / Grand Performance                          
95 Frankie Dierking (USA) Abercrombie & Fitch Pro Development        0.48
96 Matthew Willinger (USA) BPG/ Montano Velo                             
97 David Galvin (USA) BMC Professional Cycling Team                      
98 John Acker (USA) Wheel and Sprocket                                   
99 Bryce Mead (USA) Jelly Belly Cycling Team                             
100 Alex Sharon (USA) ABD Cycling Team                                   
101 James Stangeland (USA) Kelly Benefit Strategies - Medifast           
102 Brian Dziewa (USA) Jelly Belly Cycling Team                          
103 Josh Carter (USA) ABD Cycling Team                                   
104 Terry Beenken (USA) All9Yards.com Cycling Team                       
105 Evan Lawrence (USA) BPG/ Montano Velo                                
106 Jacob Rosenbarger (USA) BMC Professional Cycling Team                
107 Mike Sayers (USA) BMC Professional Cycling Team                  1.05
108 Brice Jones (USA) Jelly Belly Cycling Team                       1.08
109 Eric Marcotte (USA) Bianchi / Grand Performance                  2.19
110 Jack Seehofer (USA) Team Einstein's Cycling                          
111 Michael Jones (USA) Jelly Belly Cycling Team                     2.21
112 Mark Hinnen (Can) Kelly Benefit Strategies - Medifast            2.31
113 Lane Anderson (USA) All9Yards.com Cycling Team                       
114 David McCook (USA) Kelly Benefit Strategies - Medifast           2.34
115 Ray Uthman (USA) BPG/ Montano Velo                               2.39
116 David Zimmerman (USA) MBRC/Flanders                                  
117 Benjamin Bradshaw (USA) VMG Racing                               2.48
118 David Pierce (USA) Nature Valley Racing Team                         
119 Chris Doig (USA) MBRC/Flanders                                   2.51
120 Luke Winger (USA) MBRC/Flanders                                      
121 Jesse Mendonca (USA) BPG/ Montano Velo                           2.55
122 Derek Goerke (USA) Team Einstein's Cycling                       2.58
123 Walker Savidge (USA) VMG Racing                                      
124 Joby Siciliano (USA) Team Einstein's Cycling                     3.02
125 Dale Sedgwick (USA) Bianchi / Grand Performance                  3.07
126 Cole House (USA) Wheel and Sprocket                                  
127 Doug Swanson (USA) Nature Valley Racing Team                     3.12
128 Pat Lemieux (USA) Bianchi / Grand Performance                        
129 Nick Clayville (USA) Hagens Berman, LLP                          3.29
DNF Brett Stewart (USA) ABD Cycling Team                                 
DNF Chad Vandelune (USA) All9Yards.com Cycling Team                      
DNF Jens Brabbit (USA) Bianchi / Grand Performance                       
DNF Tim Srenaski (USA) Bianchi / Grand Performance                       
DNF Brian Zeuli (USA) Bianchi / Grand Performance                        
Pro women
1 Catherine Cheatley (NZl) Cheerwine                                  1.00.13
2 Shelley Olds (USA) PROMAN/Paradigm                                     0.05
3 Teresa Moriarty (USA) Flanders/MBRC                                    0.09
4 Stacy Marple (USA) Team Tibco                                          0.15
5 Leigh Hobson (Can) Cheerwine                                               
6 Kristin Armstrong (USA) TEAm Lipton                                        
7 Felicia Gomez (Can) Aaron's Pro Cycling                                    
8 Alex Wrubleski (Can) Colavita-Sutter Home presented by Cooking Light       
9 Laura Van Gilder (USA) Cheerwine                                       0.37
10 Brooke Miller (USA) Team TIBCO                                            
11 Kori Seehafer (USA) TEAm Lipton                                           
12 Nichole Wangsgard (USA) Team Group Health                                 
13 Brenda Lyons (USA) TEAm Lipton                                            
14 Lara Kroepsch (USA) TEAm Lipton                                           
15 Lauren Franges (USA) TEAm Lipton                                          
16 Iona Wynter (Jam) Colavita-Sutter Home presented by Cooking Light         
17 Kelly Benjamin (USA) Cheerwine                                            
18 Rebecca Larson (USA) Aaron's Pro Cycling                                  
19 Helen Kelly (Aus) Webcor                                                  
20 Carmen McNellis (USA) Aaron's Pro Cycling                                 
21 Betina Hold (USA) Cheerwine                                               
22 Sarah Bamberger (USA) Cheerwine                                           
23 Katie Mactier (Aus) ValueAct Capital Cycling Team                         
24 Kristin Sanders (USA) Aaron's Pro Cycling Team                            
25 Marni Hambleton (Can) ValueAct Capital Cycling Team                       
26 Catherine Walberg (USA) Team Kenda Tire                                   
27 Victoria Bastide (USA) Team TIBCO                                         
28 Virginia Perkins (USA) PROMAN/Paradigm                                    
29 Meredith Miller (USA) TEAm Lipton                                         
30 Sarah Caravella (USA) Aaron's Pro Cycling Team                            
31 Robin Farina (USA) Targetraining Womens Team                              
32 Anna Milkowski (USA) Targetraining Womens Team                            
33 Christina DeKraay (USA) Harris Teeter Naturals                            
34 Leah Guloien (Can) Team Group Health                                      
35 Debbie Dust (USA) Team Kenda Tire                                         
36 Rachel Heal (GBr) Webcor Builders                                         
37 Mara Abbott (USA) Webcor Builders                                         
38 Amber Rais (USA) Webcor Builders                                          
39 Heather Labance (USA) Advil ChapStick                                     
40 Catherine Powers (USA) Aaron's Pro Cycling Team                           
41 Katharina Weber (USA) XPlane/Team Revolution                              
42 Kathleen Billington (USA) Targetraining Womens Team                       
43 Beverley Harper (USA) Webcor Builders                                 0.58
44 Kirsten Robbins (Can) Advil ChapStick                                     
45 Marisa Asplund (USA) Team TIBCO                                       1.43
46 Alison Littlefield (USA) Contender Bicycles                           1.45
47 Tricia Bailey (USA) Team Group Health                                 1.48
48 Tiffany Cromwell (Aus) Colavita-Sutter Home presented by Cooking Light    
49 Natalie Klemko (USA) Advil ChapStick                                      
50 Betsy Galenti (USA) America's Dairyland                               1.53
51 Susannah Pratt (USA) Ryan Collegiate                                  2.01
52 Jadine Riley (USA) Team Group Health                                  2.04
53 Megan Elliott (USA) ABD Cycling Team                                      
54 Katie Lambden (USA) Team TIBCO                                            
55 Moriah MacGregor (Can) Colavita-Sutter Home presented by Cooking Light    
56 Lisa Dunnwald (USA) Team Group Health                                     
57 Maria Luisa Calle Williams (Col) Colombia National Team               2.08
58 Courtenay Brown (USA) ValueAct Capital Cycling Team                       
59 carrie cash (USA) XPlane/Team Revolution                              2.12
60 Susy Pryde (NZl) Jazz Apple Cycling Team                                  
61 Rushlee Buchanan (NZl) Jazz Apple Cycling Team                            
62 Sarah Tillotson (USA) Colavita-Sutter Home presented by Cooking Light     
63 Laura Charameda (USA) Advil ChapStick                                 3.07
64 Liza Rachetto (USA) Team TIBCO                                            
65 Corie Berrigan (USA) Team Kenda Tire                                      
66 Alison Shanks (NZl) Jazz Apple Cycling Team                               
67 Heidi Goldberg (USA) Team Kenda Tire                                      
68 CarrieAnn Kopernik (USA) Nova Cycle Sports Foundation                     
69 Devon Haskell (USA) Ryan Collegiate                                       
70 Susan Peithman (USA) ABD Cycling Team                                     
71 Julie Bishop (USA) Harris Teeter Naturals                                 
72 Madeleine Puissant (USA) Nova Cycle Sports Foundation                     
73 Arielle Filiberti (USA) Targetraining Womens Team                         
74 Erica Allar (USA) Ryan Collegiate                                         
75 Hannah Banks (Aus) ValueAct Capital Cycling Team                          
76 Martina Patella (USA) ValueAct Capital Cycling Team                       
77 Holly Borowski (USA) PROMAN/Paradigm                                      
78 Andrea Myers (USA) Targetraining Womens Team                              
79 Rachel O'Connell (Aus) Cheerwine                                          
80 Heather Sborz (USA) Arizona State University                              
81 Kristin Wentworth (USA) Team Kenda Tire                                   
82 Marjan Huizing (USA) Team Kenda Tire                                      
83 Sharon Allpress (USA) ValueAct Capital Cycling Team                       
84 Casey Cessna (USA) Nova Cycle Sports Foundation                           
85 Kate Ligler (USA) PROMAN/Paradigm                                         
86 Abby Lyn Cooper (USA) PROMAN/Paradigm                                     
87 Andrea Luebbe (USA) Ryan Collegiate                                       
88 Kathryn Clark (USA) Harris Teeter Naturals                                
89 Tamyra Barnard (USA) Team Kenda Tire                                      
90 Kim Geist (USA) TEAm Lipton                                               
91 Katheryn Curi (USA) Webcor Builders                                       
92 Michelle Kiesanowski (NZl) Aaron's Pro Cycling Team                       
93 Jill McLaughlin (USA) ValueAct Capital Cycling Team                       
94 Rebecca Much (USA) Targetraining Womens Team                              
95 Annie Lux (USA) Harris Teeter Naturals                                4.01
96 Anne Guzman (Can) Team Kenda Tire                                         
97 Patria Lanfranchi (USA) Team Group Health                             4.16
98 Kristin McGrath (USA) Ryan Collegiate                                     

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