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Miami Classic - NE
USA, September 29, 2002
Wohlberg and Mayolo Win Miami Cycling Classic
Vogels and Laura Van Gilder clinch US Pro Tour
By Onajide Shabaka
Miami's famous Coconut Grove was the site of the final event in the Pro Cycling Tour this weekend and even with the heat and high humidity, the racing was fast and full of attacks. This famous course has been the best Miami has to offer since the figure eight circuit was introduced back in the early 1970's. It's very fast but with its corners and curves riders are able to get away. Dave Ware, former national team rider, has won on this course more than any other rider.
Saturn's Eric Wohlberg won the men's event and Henk Vogels of Mercury captured the title of 2002 Men's Pro Cycling Tour Points Champion. Chris Wherry of Mercury finished second (and fourth in the PCT Standings), and local favorite Ivan Dominguez (Saturn) who won the 2000 event in Coconut Grove, was third. Vogels finished fourth. Navigator's Mark Walters' ninth place race result moved him into second in the 2002 PCT Points Standings just ahead of Mercury's Gord Fraser. The men's race purse was $20,000 and the PCT purse is $35,000.
The women, competing for the $10,000 race and $15,000 PCT Points Champion purses, saw Mayolo-Pic's victory move her into third in the PCT behind Van Gilder and Saturn's Petra Rossner both of whom were not present at today's race. Tania Duff-Miller of Freddie Fu took second in the race to finish fourth overall in the PCT Points. Saturn's Suzanne Sonya crossed the line third to secure the sixth spot in the PCT behind Sarah Uhl of Dansko IF. Laura Van Gilder of Trek Plus, who was unable to race due to scheduling conflicts, held onto the 2002 PCT Women's Points Title that she earned by winning September 14th's San Rafael race.
The women's race exhibited a world-class field that flew round the course, not allowing any attacks to go away until Tina Mayolo-Pic finally squeezed off the front. Saturn's Sonye and Iona Winter, with three other riders, bridged up to Mayolo-Pic with three laps to go. In the flying sprint, Mayolo-Pic beat Tanya Duff-Miller to the line with Suzanne Sonye placing third.
Sonye was a bit miffed about the non-workers in the break and had a few words to say about it. "I don't want to harp about it but I did most of the work… There were three girls in that group that wouldn't do anything. I keep attacking and attacking to get up there [to Mayolo-Pic]," she said. "The girls in the break just attacked to catch me whenever I tried to get up the road but, after they'd catch me they'd just stop. I just figured early on even if I didn't win I'd go down trying. I'm really satisfied with my third spot. You know, people seemed to be satisfied with they catch Team Saturn, but you know, I don't care. I did my job and I'm satisfied."
With sweat rolling off her entire body Sonye said, "It was really, really hot out here. And, that first corner (less than 90 degrees and off-cambered) seemed to be a bit dangerous because of several crashes."
The USPS boys remained hidden until just about start time. In the race they were chased down, time and time again even though Chann McCrae said before the race that he was very motivated to do well. However, every time a blue jersey came near the front it was marked.
The race started with a couple fast laps then it was attack after attack. One thing riders may not have been ready for was the high humidity Miami offers on a year-round basis.
The real players in the race, as Gord Fraser observed, were Mercury and Saturn. After about an hour and twenty minutes of racing Eric Wohlberg and Chris Wherry got away and built up a 45 second gap on a field controlled as hard as possible by their their respective teams. Mercury was not up to 100% health but Fraser worked like a trooper to patrol the bunch, leaving him without the sprint to beat Ivan Dominguez at the bunch finish. But Mercury was very satisfied with the final results as they had three riders in the PCT overall series.
Visibly exhausted and seriously feeling the heat, Dominguez almost collapsed and needed help to the ground after the finish. He mentioned after the break had gone he couldn't do more than work from the main bunch for his teammate Wohlberg. Dominguez said he was actually relieved the break stayed because he felt some pressure to win. Instead, he got a nice lead-out from his teammate for third place. Miami's spectators erupted with joy; Ivan Dominguez is loved in this city.
After the race Gord Fraser said, "[Mercury] is satisfied even though a couple of my teammates were not feeling well. I had to watch four guys, which is a lot of work. However, we finished with three of our guys in the top ten of the overall standings. Clinger didn't last long which meant I only had Mark Walters to watch." At the finish, "I lead Scott Moninger out for the sprint but Walters snuck past him and took the points."
As far as the overall standings went Gord sounded most delighted saying, "Our most important goal was to win the Pro Cycling Tour overall and we did that. And we placed the best team at the top where we belong."
Eric Wohlberg said, "I've been training really hard in NorCal the past two weeks for the world championship time trials, so, this race was a really nice win for me right now. I did crash on that first corner but took my free lap and got back on. I worked my way back to the front and attacked again. This was a good, challenging course and even though Ivan [Dominguez] didn't win, the title says with Saturn."
Additional report by Giana Roberge, Team Saturn
The final stop in the US Pro Tour was held in Miami, Florida today. The Miami Cycling Classic was competed on a one mile, five corner course in front of 50,000 excited spectators. Under the heat of the Miami sun, the US Pro Tour crown was on the line. In the end, it was Saturn's Eric Wohlberg and Diet Rite's Tina Mayolo victorious.
In the men's standings, Mercury had a strong lead with Henk Vogels coming into the last event, and it was clear they were content to let non-threatening riders go up the road. With only seven points separating Navigators' Mark Walters and Mercury's Henk Vogels, the Navigators team was keen to bring back any riders in an attempt to claim the precious finishing points. This freed many teams up to race for the race win.
Although only three athletes represented the Saturn Team, Eric Wohlberg, Ivan Dominguez and Harm Jansen were intent on bringing a final victory to the Saturn Team's 2002 resume. Obviously on fire in preparation for the upcoming World Championships, Wohlberg's attacks were continuous and successful. After a brief solo break which ended in a mild crash, the Saturn rider was back in the peloton for only a brief time before launching yet another attack.
With only a quarter of the 100km race remaining, Wohlberg was tagged by Mercury's Chris Wherry. Wherry was eager to work with Wohlberg to take points at the finish and thus protect Vogels' lead of the Pro Tour Overall. With Wohlberg and Wherry working hard at the front, the time gap began to slide open. Navigators and the US Postal Service teams worked furiously at the front to bring the two back to the group, but the gap finally edged to 35 seconds and then snapped to 50 seconds. In the final sprint it was Wohlberg over Wherry for an impressive win.
Meanwhile, back in the pack, Jansen gave Saturn teammate Dominguez the perfect lead-out for a third place finish. Mercury's Vogels won the Pro Tour title, with Walters in second. Vogels' teammate, Gord Fraser was third.
The women's one hour race was an exciting event, coming down to a showdown between Diet Rite's Tina Mayolo and Saturn's Suzanne Sonye. Mayolo, showing great fitness for the World Championships in Zolder, went off the front of the race early in the race. Working by herself to fend off the chasers behind, the Diet Rite rider opened up a 37 second gap. Saturn's Sonye and Iona Winter (unattached) were not willing to let Mayolo win without a fight and gave organized chase. Ignoring the three other women sitting on the back of the five women group, Winter and Sonye managed to catch Mayolo with just three laps to go, setting the stage for a five woman sprint. In the final meters it was Mayolo taking the win over Tanya Duff-Miller. Sonye finished third. Although not present, Laura Van Gilder wrapped up the Pro Tour when she won the second to last stop in San Rafael two weeks ago.
Team Navigators Report
Navigators' Mark Walters moved ahead of Gord Fraser (Mercury) to secure the 2nd place position in the 2002 Pro Cycling Tour finale today in the Miami, Florida suburb of Coconut Grove, although he was unable to catch the PCT leader Henk Vogels, also of Mercury. Today's racing action was a battle for both the race victory, as well as the PCT, since a total of eight riders still had the mathematical possibility of taking the overall tour victory.
With the temperature climbing into the 90's and a high level of humidity greeting the riders at their 3:00 PM start time, it wasn't just the action that was going to be hot. Indeed, a large and very enthusiastic crowd cheered the racers as they embarked on a blistering pace for two hours of racing action. The Navigators were here in force to contest both the race and the PCT standings. After an hour of fast furious action that saw many attacks and counter-attacks, Matt DeCanio (Prime Alliance) finally broke free from the field and gained about 30-seconds. Five laps after riding solo, he was joined by Saturn's Time Trial specialist Eric Wohlberg and Mercury's Chris Wherry with Navigators' Marty Nothstein closing in shortly later. Unfortunately, just as Nothstein closed in, DeCanio succumbed to the speed and heat and allowed Wherry and Wohlberg to pull away. Caught behind DeCanio, Nothstein and DeCanio came back to the main peloton in quick order, leaving the breakaway of two to fend for themselves. The pair rode a very strong race and were able to hold the chasing peloton at 1-minute over the next 45-minutes of racing. With a final lap surge, Wohlberg was able to pull away from Wherry to take a well-deserved win, as local favorite and Cuban native Ivan Dominguez (Saturn) took the final podium position. The crowd went wild.
This PCT finale is the last major event of the 2002 U.S. racing season. The season-long Pro Cycling Tour saw the Navigators team take (unofficially) five of the top-20 spots, with Mark in 2nd, Oleg Grichkine in 4th, Tom Leaper in 7th, Ciaran Power in 17th, and Vassili Davidenko in 19th.
Women 1 Tina Mayolo (Diet Rite) 2 Tonya Duff-Miller (Freddie Fu) 3 Suzanne Sonya (Saturn) 4 Rebecca McClintock (Serotta) 5 Iona Wynter (Genesis) 6 Katie Safford (Minute Maid) 7 Nicole Freedman (Team Rona) 8 Gina Grain (Genesis Scuba) 9 Desire Utzig 10 Sue Palmer-Komar (Talgo) 11 Heather Atert (Godys) 12 Julia Farell 13 Sherri Stedje (BBC) 14 Lauren Franges (Amoroso’s) 15 Liz Begosh (Talgo) 16 Shawn Heidgen (Athletes B D) 17 Frances Elliott (Cycle Science) 18 Sarah Foulkes 19 Robin Kaven (BBC) 20 Mary Georgetti (NEBC) 21 Yvonne Ilton 22 Mian Pizzini (Diet Rite) 23 Beth Leasure (Team Cabot) 24 Julie Monagle 25 Veronica Martinez (Amoroso’s) 26 Kristine Bilyeau 27 Elizabeth Wencel-Stone (Hurricane) 28 Tracy Spane 29 Brooke O’Connor (NEBC) 30 Eizabeth Morse (Trek VM) 31 Opal Hew (FL Spokes) 32 Tina Skelley (Talgo) 33 Shannon Hullison 34 Charlotte Lenssen (Cycle Science) Men 1 Eric Wohlberg (Saturn) 2 Chris Wherry (Mercury) 3 Ivan Dominguez (Saturn) 4 Henk Vogels (Mercury) 5 Vassili Davidenko (Navigators) 6 Oscar Pineda (7UP/NutraFig) 7 Jason Snow (Cycle Science) 8 Jeff Hopkins (Jittery Joes) 9 Mark Walters (Navigators) 10 Daniel Schmatz (7UP/NutraFig) 11 Raphael Clemente (Cycle Science) 12 Ruben Osorio (Venezuela) 13 Amos Bumble (CCB/VW) 14 Chann McRae (USPS) 15 Eric Murphy (Mercury) 16 Jesse Lawler (Jittery Joe’s) 17 Gord Fraser (Mercury) 18 Dave McCook (Navigators) 19 Marty Nothstein (Navigators) 20 Roberto Gaggioli 21 Greg Wolf (Ideal Tile) 22 Lawrence Perera (CCB/VW) 23 David Beaudoin (Olympus) 24 Daniel Holt (Ringling) 25 John Freddy-Panu 26 Andrew Woodruff (Team Florida) 27 Hugo Pradoneto 28 George Hincapie (USPS) 29 Edward Monnier (Minute Maid) 30 Michael Zingaro (Cycle Science) 31 Ivan Franco 32 Chuck Coyle (7UP/NutraFig) 33 Jeff, Or (Jamis) 34 Ernie Lechuga (Jelly Belly) 35 Siro Camponogara (Navigators) 36 Harm Jansen (Saturn) 37 Jones Brice (Mercury) 38 Jose Valdivia (Jet Network)
Pro Cycling Tour Final Standings
Women 1 Laura Van Gilder (Trek Plus) 88 pts 2 Petra Rossner (Saturn) 80 3 Tina Mayolo-Pic (Diet Rite) 60 4 Tania Duff-Miller (Freddie FU) 54 5 Sarah Uhl (Dansko/Ind. Fabrications) 45 Men 1 Henk Vogels (Mercury) 105 pts 2 Mark Walters (Navigators) 88 3 Gord Fraser (Mercury) 80 4 Chris Wherry(Mercury) 65 5 Oleg Grishkine (Navigators) 63